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NEW DAY SUNDAY

Monster Winds and Rain Pummel Florida as Irma Closes In; Aired 8-9a ET

Aired September 10, 2017 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:00:47] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We are in Naples, Florida, on the west coast, an area of particular vulnerability, especially to storm surge. And we have been getting wet and hit by wind for hour after hour, not as intense, not as severe, but it all accumulates. It all weakens, and it soaks, and over time, the duration can make damage that much worse.

Here is the good news. CNN is everywhere the storm is going to be. We have people all long the path. We will show you what happens in real time.

Let's start with Allison Chinchar. Now, she is a meteorologist. She's been taking us through it all morning long.

We saw a shift in the path. But now, we're seeing a real deal in the Keys. Lay it out for us.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's right. So, we just got the latest update at the top of the 8:00 hour. We are starting to see that center of circulation. It's about to make landfall over the Florida Keys.

The biggest change in its latest advisory that we are seeing is it's losing some of that westward movement and taking on more of a true north forward movement, OK? Again, even slight changes like that, going from a little bit west to more north-northwest, that can ultimately change your landfall times for some of these places. So, again, it may seem so insignificant to have just a couple of those things changed, but it has a big impact on the landfall times.

Here is the look. We've been talking about that northern eyewall beginning to make its way into the keys. That northern eyewall is now crossing over. We're about to get into that central circulation of the eyewall, meaning many of these Keys, from Key West over towards Marathon are now getting hit with some of their strongest winds that they are going to see, in addition to likely the heaviest rainfall that they've been experiencing.

That system is going to continue to push up the west coast of Florida, impacting places like Fort Myers, then Tampa, as we get into the late evening hours, and then up towards the panhandle of Florida and into other southern states such as Georgia, South Carolina, as well as Alabama when we push into Monday. Storm surge has been one of the biggest stories we've talked about

with this storm in addition to the winds. We're starting to get that storm surge push in along the east. You may notice, these numbers have lowered. It's not because we think overall, the numbers are lower, it's because we've started to see that storm surge.

These areas where you see one to two, three to five, they've already had storm surge push in, so the additional amount that they're going to get is going to be smaller. Now, when that surge pushes inland on the east coast, the water is retreating along the west coast. As the storm moves north, it will pull all that water back in, fast and furious.

So, you do not -- not that you would want to be on the beach now anyways with lightning and heavy rain and potential for tornadoes, but you certainly don't want to be there when that water comes back in.

In addition to surge, we've talked about the winds. Take a look at some of these numbers, 135 for the maximum wind gust expected around Key West, 137 for Fort Myers. Even as far north, say, as Tallahassee, again, we're nearing 100 potential miles per hour for that maximum wind gust.

We've also seen the expansion, Chris, of the watches and warnings across the southeastern states. We're taking the hurricane warnings all the way to the Georgia state line, and in land some. But even the city of Atlanta, Chris, now under a tropical storm warning.

CUOMO: Fifty-two of 67 counties here in Florida, hurricane warning. They -- you know, this cannot be more serious. The governor has made it plain for days and now, the reality is here.

We have Bill Weir in Key Largo. He's been getting hit by winds and they're only going to get worse for a while to come. Let's check in right now.

Bill, can you hear us? What's the situation?

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I can hear you, Chris. It's really cranking up here as Irma huffs and puffs and tries to blow us all down.

I've become increasingly thankful for building codes in south Florida, many of them stiffened after Hurricane Andrew. We are hunkered down in a concrete -- whoa, condominium complex.

[08:05:06] I just saw a huge branch come snapping off this tree right around the corner. We don't want to move our camera out to the safe spot to show you, but take my word for it, Irma is trimming all the trees in this neighborhood. Right now, it's blinding sheets of rain.

And we are on the Biscayne Bay side. It's even rougher on the Atlantic side of Key Largo. Uh-oh, there goes my -- hang with me. Hang with me.

It is even rougher over on the Atlantic side where several people are riding out the storm near their boats but even worse in Key West as you're just talking about with Allison.

Chad Myers, and meteorology team, are so precise, they called us and said, it's going to happen. It's going to hit you at 8:15, 8:30. Boy, were they right.

But the wave, Chris, we're seeing over at the southernmost point, the sea wall down in Key West, the streets that we've seen and some of the live cam pictures where we were doing live shots from in front of Sloppy Joe's on Duvall Street, the water is coming up there. So, it's the wind and the water. You hide from the wind. You run from the water.

The urgency has only gotten better -- has only gotten stiffer since here, Chris.

CUOMO: Any sense of a storm surge yet?

WEIR: Not yet. We don't have a good vantage point to get a sense of it. We're looking at these live cams from Key West to try to gauge that, but we won't be able to go and get out and explore for several more hours, because we don't want to catch, you know, a street sign in the side of the vehicle or in ourselves, obviously.

CUOMO: All right. I got you. I can't, in good conscience, leave you out there getting pelted. Get inside and take some shelter. I'll check back with you later. Get me a heads up if we need to come to you, OK?

That's Bill Weir and his team in Key Largo.

We also have John Berman. He's in downtown Miami. They are now feeling much more of the real hurricane-type impact there. He's on the water. He has been seeing it change in real time.

John, how is it now?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is really windy, Chris. We had to move our shot. Not me, I'm going to get wet and blown around wherever I stand at this point. But our camera needed more protection because the wind was just being blowing the rain straight into the lens, and you couldn't see anything.

Also, I mentioned a few minutes ago, while I was on TV last time, that we saw a piece of wood fly off this building. Right into a car window parked nearby, actually tweeted out a picture of that. So, you have to be very, very careful in conditions like this.

We're hearing now that we're getting wind gusts in Miami that are hurricane force, you know, 80 miles an hour gusts. Not sustained. Sustained I think, it is quite, were over 40 miles an hour.

I know that because out there on Miami Beach, which is behind me, you know, the first responders have now said they're done for a while. They will not come out in respond to calls because they can't. When the winds are blowing more than 40 miles an hour, it is simply not safe for them to be out and moving about. That message came out from Miami beach a few minutes ago.

Tornado warnings for southern Florida, everyone's phones went off en mass, telling people, be careful, be on the lookout because these winds are picking up and they are swirling. I mean, we felt them swirling. We're getting it now from every possible direction.

Did check again with the power company, 340,000 people now without power in Miami-Dade County alone. That number has doubled, Chris, since 5:00 when we first came on TV this morning.

So, the power outages continue to go up as it storm continues to gain intensity over Miami-Dade County and we can't say it enough, the worse is still to come here, and anything we get here isn't as bad as what you're going to see over on the west coast as this remarkable day continues -- Chris.

CUOMO: Intensity and duration. Intensity and duration. You know, we're going to get it worse and how long, because everything gets more vulnerable with water, wind and time.

And you gave us those latest numbers in power. Control room, if you can get better numbers, let me know. But online I was seeing a raw estimate of it, at least half a million people without power. And the word from the government here is that it's not going to be just hours. It will be days and weeks.

John, get inside. Get yourself some cover with what's going on right now.

We're going to try to get a sense of storm surge down there also as John has been telling us, he has watched the water change on that shoreline. He watched a dock break away that people tie their boats to.

[08:10:02] But the storm surge hasn't come in yet. Once it does, that's what we really need to start to watch. Why?

Because the wind catches your eye, it's the spectacle. It always gets the headlines with the miles per hour. But the number one cause of death in a hurricane is drowning, and that's about storm surge.

So, we're going to take a break here. When we come back, we will check in with all the areas that Irma is hitting right now. And just as important, we'll tell you where she's headed next and when.

Stay safe if you're in Florida, please. And if you're watching, stick with CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right. We are here in Naples, Florida, on the west coast of the state.

This is an area of particular vulnerability. It can't take a lot of storm surge. It is going to get a lot of storm surge by the latest projections. [08:15:01] And we've been getting hit with band after band of rain. We haven't seen anything like what is going to come this way.

And it is futile to try to stay dry. I'm wearing a hat. I don't even know why. Everything is wet. It's just the reality here. It is the least of concerns.

Let me show you a picture of what Hurricane Irma has done so far. We have cameras all over the place to get you some roving sense of the reality here. And I'll give you the numbers of the latest headline as well.

The storm is a solid category four, reenergized overnight, going over warm water. It is the size of a state. Irma is uniquely large. Hurricane force winds are going to extend 70 to 75 miles in every direction from the eye. Tropical force winds are going to stem over 100 miles an hour in all directions from the eye.

We have seen a raw estimate of about 500,000, half a million people without power. Authorities say to expect 3 million to 4 million to lose their power. They say 36 million people are exposed to this hurricane, 52 of the 67 counties in Florida have been issued hurricane warnings, OK?

So, this literally now statewide. They're going to be dealing with two things -- intensity and duration. What you're looking at right now doesn't look great, but let me tell you something, that was good news. The storm surge hasn't happened yet.

That picture of the beach, that's nothing like what you're going to see. Storm surge is going to be the story here. The wind gets the headlines, the miles per hour. But the number one cause of death in a hurricane is drowning.

I keep saying that for people because we need them to be careful about storm surge. Flooding, drowning, that is the concern where people are involved.

All right. So, those are the numbers. Right now, the northern part of the eyewall is impacting the Florida Keys. Key West specifically. So, we are now at the beginning. But we are still seeing the least of the worst.

We're going to start checking in with people now. Where do you want me to start, Adam? Who should we start with?

CNN has assets everywhere.

OK. This is what we're going to do. Down in Miami proper, around Miami Beach, we had Eric Van Dam. His shot went down. They're dealing with it, it's not an urgent situation, but it's one of the realities of storm coverage.

I want to show what it was like the last time we checked in with him, OK? This is courtesy of one of our friends, WPLG, showing you Miami in real time. But let's show you Derek Van Dam's last hit, just so you can see what they're dealing with in the famous Ocean Drive area.

And again, remember, this is the least of the worst.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Chris, I feel like I'm feeling the back wash of a jet engine. It just stings every time these gusts come through. It's picking up sand from South Beach which is about 100, 150 feet to my left.

Look at what is happening to these trees behind me. You can see how they're getting bent over. We have some of them that have completely snapped. There's flooding in front of me from the heavy rain bands.

And I don't need to state the obvious here, but we are officially in hurricane conditions. We have Fisher Island just to our south, a mile to our south, they're reporting 79-mile-per-hour sustained winds. Gusts have to be higher than that, 80, 85.

I'm going to pan this way with my cameraman, because you've got to see down Ocean Drive. That is dangerous and we're protected here, just so you know. But that street sign is wobbling out of control and there's another pedestrian sign behind it -- that was a particularly strong gust, sorry, guys.

There's another sign behind it that is completely toppled over. We've had some structural damage at the hotel we're staying, just minor but some of the awnings that are on the roof of the hotel, and it's just getting more and more intense here, Chris, as the hours go on and we feel like the worst of the storm is still yet to come.

So, anyone who didn't heed the evacuation orders here in Miami Beach, it's time to bunker down. It is time to take the storm seriously. Do not come back to the evacuation zones. It has just begun and it's going to get worse -- Chris.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Well, nobody is going anywhere in those conditions. We'll check in with Derek. We'll make sure that he's OK once they get their shot back up. You know, there's all this technical stuff that goes with being in a hurricane. Everything gets affected adversely.

All right. So, we're going to give you another point of view now. So, we're going to go up the east coast north from where Derek was to Ft. Pierce. There, courtesy of one of our affiliates, WPTV, we have Alyssa Hyman who sent in this report of the reality on the ground there right now.

[08:20:01] Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALYSSA HYMAN, REPORTER, WPTV: All right. We are just getting pelted here in Ft. Pierce. You can obviously see these winds and the rain just pelting us. We are standing in about a foot and a half of water here in Ft. Pierce. This is the intersection of Virginia Avenue and Andrew Avenue.

Obviously, you can see the standing water that's here in this intersection. That if you look over here, this is what we're dealing with. We've got cars just stuck in the water. And I do believe that the water has gotten higher since we've been out here.

Obviously, this car not going anywhere. We've seen tow trucks out here trying to help. But at this point, it doesn't look like these cars are moving.

Obviously, first responders coming out here. There's two cars over here are stranded. We saw the owner of this car come out here, try to get it moving. But at this point, they're not getting it anywhere.

And you can see these bands that we're feeling right now. They're extremely strong. You've heard Glenn talking about it, the winds, the rain and obviously just pushing this floodwater. This is west.

We're hearing from the county at least 20 streets or intersections seeing this kind of flooding. We're seeing cars drive up to this intersection, seeing what's going on, having to turn around, make a U- turn, realizing it's just not safe to pass.

We've got some first responders out here. These are the only people that should be on the road. I'm going to turn to the side so it's not as strong. But this is what's going on here in Ft. Pierce. The track of the storm is west but we are still feeling it and feeling it very strong.

This is a message to everybody out there. Just stay home. It is not safe out here on the roads. You don't know how deep these waters are.

And it could be very dangerous. Look at these stranded cars. I'm going to send it back to you guys in the studio.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: All right. Alyssa, thank you very much for that report. WPTV, one of our affiliates.

Everybody is working together on this. We are all in the storm coverage together.

Now, Alyssa said something there very important to hear. This is the least of the worst. That's the eastern coast of Florida. It is the west coast where we are here in Naples, Tampa Bay, north of us, these are areas of particular vulnerability and now much more in the storm's path.

So, we're going to take a break here, because we've got a long way to go. We're not supposed to see the roughest part of this here, where we are, until tonight. So, how will we hold up over time?

The impact, the duration of the storm is part of the story. We'll bring you more updates from areas that are getting hit right now. Stay safe if you're in Florida. Stay together because that's the best

hope you're going to have until first responders can get back out after the storm. If you're watching, please, stay with CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:26:59] CUOMO: All right. I want to show you a picture from Ft. Pierce, because this is the first look of what's going to happen with the wet effect of Hurricane Irma. We are seeing the first real hurricane impacts now.

Now, in the Keys, they're seeing gusts up to 90 miles an hour, near hurricane force gusts in Key West. This is the northern part of the eyewall of Irma, all right?

The storm is so damn big that you will see hurricane-type effects hundreds of miles away. You're going to see tropical storm effects. Seventy-five miles, you see hurricane force. This is Ft. Pierce.

This is just rain. That's not even storm surge. Remember, with the hurricane, the danger comes in the accumulation of different effects, the wind, the water, the storm surge, the weakening of structures. It's the accumulation of these types of threats.

So, that was Ft. Pierce. That's the east coast of Florida, all right? That's the, in quotes, the safe part of the state right now.

It is the west coast, where we are in Naples, up into Tampa, Tampa unique vulnerabilities to storms. We'll talk about it as it becomes more relevant later in the day. We will see the worst of Hurricane Irma here in the late afternoon to early evening. They're seeing it much sooner down south.

Let's get to Brian Todd. He is in West Palm Beach, mandatory evacuation zone. He was going with police, watching them go door to door, asking people to leave. Many remained there. And he is now seeing why they were supposed to get out firsthand.

Brian, how is it now?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, really violent storm surge here all morning long. Debris, flying debris, is really a danger right here. Right off Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach.

And what we're told by our CNN weather team is that we are on the so- called dirty side of the storm. That means a violent push of energy and tornadic activity. Pop-up tornadoes, we're told, are going to be occurring all day at and where we are now. It's very violent out here on the street now.

You can see these palm trees under severe strain here. We're keeping a close eye on them. And one of the things that -- I'm sure you know, Chris, from being out there, what you have to do constantly in this situation because look up, look up for flying debris, watch out for yourself and your team as things are just flying around on the street. We're keeping a close eye on these power and telephone lines here.

Here's another danger, these massive palm fronds. This thing probably weighs 25 pounds or so. These things are getting tossed around like they're nothing. There are several over here on the street.

And we can show you another potential danger as we walk over toward the street. There is a construction site just beyond that mural there on the wall. Flying debris. And there's a whole pile of asbestos there that's covered. But some local residents are telling us they are worried about that.

So, anything can become a hazard here when the wind is whipping around like this and pop-up tornadoes are going to be the reality all day.

We've also storm surge. We are right on the water here without really any barrier between us and the Intracoastal waterway so this entire area could get flooded out later on -- Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Brian Todd, thank you very much. Stay safe. We'll check back with you in a little bit.

Kyung Lah is in Miami Beach. There, they're seeing wind and water and it's getting worse -- Kyung.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is hurricane force winds that are now sweeping through Miami Beach. Rescues have stopped by the fire department and the police department here. We'll explain, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right. These are live pictures of Miami right now.

[08:35:03] This is Hurricane Irma. We are starting to see the full effects here. This is the least of the worst.

We have an update. It's not good news. There are now approximately 600,000 people without power in the state of Florida. Now that is just central and southern Florida, OK? And we have not seen the worst of the storm yet.

This is why the government warned that they expect to see 3 million to 4 million without power. Not just for hours. Maybe days, even weeks. There's a big reason they were pushing those evacuations.

All right. Let's get to the reality on the ground right now. Miami Beach is getting hit hard. Kyung Lah is there. I don't know for how long but she's there right now -- Kyung.

LAH: We're getting pounded pretty hard, Chris. This is what is heading your way. And it is likely to be -- whoo, we're getting -- I'll just leave it at we're getting pounded pretty hard. OK. I want you to take a look at some of the debris that we're seeing on the ground. Things are starting to fly around on the air. Signs are breaking up -- basically splitting in half. And what we're seeing throughout here is a lot of debris on the

ground, a lot of wind. And this is because we have the beach right over here to my left and an open space, when you try to walk through Miami Beach through the commercial district, it's much worse than this. That's why Miami Beach Police and the fire department have had to stop rescues. What they have told us this morning is that the winds are far too dangerous.

These are hurricane forced winds. The closest monitoring station that we are told by our meteorologist is that the sustained winds are 70 miles per hour. So simply too dangerous for any rescues to take place. Essentially what they're saying is that if you call 911 here in Miami Beach you just have to -- you're on your own because this area was under a mandatory evacuation. Curfew has lifted but, again, take a look at the street here.

It is completely empty. You can't drive down this street. You can barely walk down the street. The fact that we can stand here -- I'm not sure how much longer we can stand out here. But it is extraordinarily -- extraordinarily difficult.

One other thing I want to give you a look at. You can see this palm tree over here. It's basically tipped over. One of the big concerns here is flying debris. But what we haven't quite seen yet is a storm surge. That's very good news here.

There's been some -- you can see water on the streets, as we've tried to take a look around Miami Beach but there isn't any major flooding that the fire department says that they've had to respond to, that some of the city pumps appear to be working and as far as that huge surge, the idea of a five-foot surge coming in, that simply has not happened here. That is very good news for the people who are here in Miami Beach.

The fire department is aware that there are some people who have not evacuated but so far there are no reports of any major injuries or -- sorry, major injuries or deaths -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Kyung, you're getting the happy feet there. Get yourself somewhere safe. I'm not going to test the fates anymore with you. All right? Get somewhere safe. We'll check back with you, all right?

Kyung Lah in Miami Beach, showing some good dexterity there. But there's no reason to play around too much because things get bad real fast in those kinds of conditions.

Let's got to John Berman. He is in downtown Miami. He's been watching the water rise. He's been watching the effects of some of these early impacts of storm surge, wind and water, as Hurricane Irma is starting to be felt for real in south Florida.

John, how are you now, my friend?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, the wind is blowing here. We're starting to see the waves really kick up. Just for perspective, Kyung Lah is out there. Miami Beach is out there past this little bay right here, this inland. So this is a protected waterway. But even here, the water bouncing up and down and the boats behind me really bouncing up and down. Pretty seriously right now. Those jet skis back there. I'm not so sure how long they're going to like being where they are right now.

Up on this building we are seeing things flap up and fly that way. We're being very careful of the debris around here because that could be very, very dangerous. A piece of wood broke off and broke a car window that was nearby here.

You're talking about power outages all over the state of Florida, Chris. Now up to 450,000 in Miami-Dade County alone. 450,000 people without power in Miami-Dade. And Miami-Dade not expecting to see the worst of this storm. That's going to be in the west where you are.

[08:40:03] So there's a lot of misery to come. And it's going to stay for a lot of days because it's going to take some time to get this power back up and running. You can see right now why there were mandatory evacuations in these zones next to the water here. The water has been rising albeit slowly.

This is not kind of place you would want to be right now. And moreover, what officials really want people to know is if you have evacuated, don't come back. Don't come back here to these areas yet until officials tell you it's safe. And just like Kyung Lah was saying out there on Miami Beach, you know, you're on your own for a little while now with winds gusting, you know, well over 40, I'd say 50 miles an hour in most cases where we are right now.

The first responders aren't available. They're not going to get out there and help you because it's not safe for them. It's not safe for anyone really to be out right now.

Chris, again, you know, the docks behind me, they will get covered in tides and waves. The waves will lap up against them normally in high tide. We're watching them very carefully because high tide not for a couple of hours right now. If the water starts to be above them consistently, that will be a sign that the storm surge here is coming in. And we'll probably move up until that point. Right now not so much. We think it is relatively safe. Not seeing a six-foot storm surge yet, maybe a foot or so. We're going to keep our eye on it throughout the morning -- Chris.

CUOMO: Give some perspective what the difference between one and six feet would mean in terms of coverage in that area and maybe a little bit of good news in your situation. How are we doing with the dope factor? Is anybody out there playing around to try to spectate the storm. Hopefully you're not seeing that.

BERMAN: No. No. I haven't seen anyone out. We saw one person out here about an hour and a half ago walk out to their boat which I thought completely unwise. One person went out, checked the ropes and left. But that's it. Mostly at this point I think the boats are on their own. None of the boats have come loose yet but one of the docks behind us half of it did split off and floated away. So that's -- you know, and I suspect there could be more coming to that in the next hour or so -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. John, you stay safe. Stay inside. Monitor that situation. Let us know what we need to tell everybody else. I'll check back with you as soon as you say so.

We have people everywhere that Irma has been and is expected to go and is right now. That takes us to the Keys.

Bill Weir, he and his team are in Key Largo, he's been watching the fates change down there. He has done a brilliant job of chronicling this microculture, the conk culture, the rugged individualist who want to stay it out in these kinds of storms. And now that romanticism is giving way to reality.

What's it like in Key Largo? Stay with CNN. We'll tell you after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[08:47:06] LAH: The debris lifts up and it comes at your head. And if you're not wearing something protective -- for example like that. You want to just make sure you're always aware of what's happening around you. But it becomes increasingly more difficult as the winds get worse. So we're starting to see some of these --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Kyung Lah there in Miami Beach moments ago. Sign came down. She's lucky she wasn't any closer to it.

There is a strong argument to be made that standing in a storm is not a smart thing to do. We do it so you don't have to, we do it so we can give you the information that you need to hopefully satisfy your own curiosity. It matters because people remain behind and you have to know what's going on so we know how to help them after these storms and we can chronicle the impact.

Because it's a reminder that we are all in it together, whether you're in Florida or not. This is something that should be of acute concern. That' why people like Kyung Lah are out there putting herself in harm's way.

We are in Naples, Florida. We are on the west coast where the future of Hurricane Irma, this place has particular vulnerabilities. We're seeing gusts better than 60 miles an hour here right now. We've been getting rain for hour after hour. But we've seen nothing yet.

Kyung is in the thick of it. She's there now, bracing herself.

Kyung, you got lucky, my friend. You're a pro. But we all have to take our chances carefully here. How is it right now?

LAH: Well, we have taken a look before we chose this spot. We took a look overhead and all the coconuts are clear from the trees. But, you know, again, we take a calculated risk because we want people to know where you are. On the western side of the state what is coming your way. And this is just one part of it. Remember, Miami and Miami Beach is not in the heart of the eye. The eye is -- it's going to be worse for you. So that's important to know.

That street sign that you were just showing, this is it over here. And it just came down. It's a number of street signs, if you look across the street. Another street sign over there. All these trees. A lot of the coconuts that used to be there, they're all gone. They have flown away. And that is one of the concerns that the fire department and police department have, all the debris that we see on the street, that this becomes a flying projectile.

So wind is very dangerous. But there is good news to tell you. That the storm surge -- we haven't seen the major flooding, the anticipated five to 10 feet in the earlier forecasts. We simply haven't seen it. There's some minor flooding on the streets. You can tell that water is shooting all down the street, that all these buildings because they do have storm protection on their windows and doors, we've not seen glass flying through the air at least as of yet.

So all of this is good news that they've prepared. But they are very thankful that they're not having storm surge.

[08:50:06] We do know that there are people still in Miami Beach. Overnight the Miami Fire Department before this latest gust of wind came in, that the Miami Beach Fire Department had to make some calls. They've been running around, trying to deal with fires, a gas leak that exploded. That they tried to respond to before they had to call it quits.

So what we're hearing from the Miami Beach Police and Fire Department now is that they can't make calls in this kind of wind. And you can tell why. You can't drive down the street in this type of wind. You can barely stand in it. For them to try to put themselves out there, to try to rescue people or to help people, to get them -- pull them out of elevators that may have stuck because of Miami Beach now have no power.

We woke up to no power. They can't put themselves in harm's way. The fire and police department here had told -- had tweeted out that they simply could not make rescued after sustained winds of 30 miles per hour.

And let me tell you, Chris, we are absolutely there. They are not going to be out there. If you remain in Miami Beach, you are on your own. If you are on the west side of Florida, this is what is coming your way except it is anticipated to be worst. If you didn't believe the forecast, let me tell you, get inside. Do not stand near glass. And be prepared. Because these are very dangerous conditions -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Kyung, time to take your own advice, get you and the crew to safety right now. We're going to check in with Bill Weir in Key Largo. Our thanks to Kyung Lah for showing you the wet face of reality there. Key Largo is the place that is closest to Hurricane Irma in terms of

Florida proper. Obviously the Keys are getting it. Bill Weir has been seeing it get worse and worse.

Wow, it is different where he is right now.

Bill, they recorded near 100-mile-an-hour gusts in south Florida. I'm sure you can match that where you are.

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I believe it. I believe it. Yes. This is next level. I'm not going to use the word I'd like to use. This -- Irma is really getting nasty. And I'm -- literally I am taking cover here. This is not trying to have a flare for the dramatic. I'm underneath a stone carport here on the -- away from the wind. Leeward side of this complex where we are now. But as you can see, it is like standing in the shower.

It is rain gear is useless against this kind of deluge. The wind has been shifting. Now that's the thing that's a little bit scary as you can -- at a certain point you get used to direction of the wind and you adjust for it. Now it's so squirrely, it's circling around us. And we're probably have to move to the next carport over just to protect our vehicle and what dry cables we do have left.

But trees are now split, patchy when we got here, are now becoming stripped bare. Signs that were up are blowing horizontally through the air. The boats in this little hurricane hole harbor, which they consider safe, are bouncing around like corks in a Jacuzzi.

The smart ones actually had the wherewithal to lift their boats up out of the water. High tide isn't until this evening. And that's going to make things even worse on this, the dirty side, on the Biscayne Bay side. This thing rocks up north. But anybody watching, I mean, the folks down in the Keys, I'm really kind of howling into the wind when it comes to talking to them. They -- unless they're on generator power most of the Keys are out of power.

We checked in with some folks on the other side a few minutes ago on the Atlantic side of Key Largo whom are actually somehow still had power. I don't know how that's even possible right now. But for those who do up on the northern part of the state as this is heading towards you up the west coast, this is serious.

This is really serious. This is time to get inside. It's time to fill your tub with water. Put a little bleach in there. Don't drink it. That's for everything but drinking. It's time to charge your cell phones. Have your shoes ready, Chris. It's getting real.

CUOMO: All right. My friend, stay safe. The reporting is important. You are essential. I've been saying it to you all morning. It's been invaluable to have Bill Weir and his crew there in Key Largo. Why? Well, because they are the doorstep of the entrance of Hurricane Irma into Florida's reality.

Key West is obviously the starting point. Right now they are seeing the northern part of the eyewall and that is the beginning of the worst of Hurricane Irma.

[08:55:08] We're not supposed to see it here in a particularly vulnerable parts of the west coast of Florida until early evening. But Bill Weir is the Ghost of Christmas Present for the people on the west coast of Florida. Already 600,000 without power. They expect it could be in the millions, not just for hours or days, maybe weeks, so right now we're going to take a quick break. When we come back you're going to have "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper and our Hurricane Irma coverage will continue.

Please, if you're in Florida, stay safe. And if you need information, stay with CNN.

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LAH: If you're not wearing something protective, for example, like that, you want to just make sure you're always aware of what's happening around you.

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