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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Widespread Flooding & Damage as Irma Moves Inland; Food, Water Run Low for Irma Survivors in Caribbean; Remembering 9/11. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired September 11, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I understand you actually had to take a boat out to Key Largo because there's no way to access the island by car?
[21:00:12] KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. We were forced to. That is the only way to get down there with any sort of speed. And highway 1, which is the way to get into the keys, that is shut off. Some emergency vehicles are being let through, but the people who were down there, the people who decided to stay down in the keys, and there are an estimated 10,000 of them, they are essentially cut off. So not only do they have damage to deal with, but we're talking about no power, dwindling food, dwindling water, this will rapidly become, Anderson, a supply problem. That's why we're starting to see the military become involved to do the supply drops and to start doing some rescues, Anderson.
COOPER: And just in terms of the damage. We talked to a number of people in the keys. We talked to the mayor down there. We just talked to a man who road out the storm at a marina so he could watch after his boat and his neighbor's boats as well. He's doing OK for water because they have water on the boats that remain. He's a little bit low on supplies. But just in terms of structural damage that you saw, what was it like?
LAH: From the water, what we saw was - we did -- we were surprised actually just passing around Key Largo that a lot of the newer structures seemed to be doing OK.
We did pass by a bar that while we couldn't tell the extent of the damages, certainly from our vantage point it looked like it was pretty banged up. But the major, major damage, that was miles and miles from where we were. We couldn't get down to that area because of limited fuel. That's a problem that has been plaguing this entire area. We did also meet a woman who did decide to stay, who decided to ride out the storm. Here's what she told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: Why did you stay?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To do somebody a favor. And I feel like I'm a fool. Now I know. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: And not only does she feel like that, Anderson, she said afterwards she just feels, "stupid." She would not recommend that for anyone. She says she is also stranded. She is wondering about how she's going to continue to get water to keep her self healthy. So again, supplies, Anderson, supplies, supplies, that is going to be the problem in the keys.
COOPER: All right, Kyung Lah, long road ahead for a lot of people to the keys. Thanks a lot.
Last we got a first look at some of the destruction in the keys, before and after picture. I want to show that to you on the left side of your screen is Bill Weir in front of Snappers Bar in Key Largo on Thursday, people there drinking and eating. Three days later, though in fact, on the right of your screen is that same location yesterday. The bar, at least parts of the bar decimated. Short time ago I spoke by phone with the bar's owner, Peter Althius.
COOPER: Peter, I'm sorry for what you and everybody else has going through and all your employees and all your customers too. We the saw pictures of your bar what it looked like before and after the storm. What's your understanding right of the extent of the damage?
PETER ALTHIUS, SNAPPERS BAR OWNER (via telephone): Well, one of my bar tenders was today -- I haven't been there yet, one of my bartenders was there today. And as far as I can see it now it's the (INAUDIBLE) bar most closest to the (INAUDIBLE) completely gone. The main building where we have our restaurant and where we have upstairs for hotel rooms is badly damaged, but it's still there. The office and the storage next door is still there. But I try to go tomorrow when the roads are clear and to have a better look what we need to do.
But for me, it's very obvious we will recover. We will rebuild. We will make it happen, one way or the other. My first concern goes out to our 80 employees and their families. That's why actually we all (INAUDIBLE) can start as we developed and rebuild -- hurricane rebuild shirts. Because we're still online. We're not physical there, but we're still online. And we sell --
COOPER: You're saying you basically -- a hurricane t-shirt to raise money to help rebuild and help your employees?
ALTHIUS: Exactly, during the rebuild period to get things going, to get things working.
COOPER: Peter, do you have any idea how long -- I mean, based on what you see to the damage, and I know you haven't seen it for yourself, do you have a sense of how long it may take to actually rebuild?
ALTHIUS: That's hard to say, because I do know construction work. I haven't seen it yet. So, as far as my bartender described, we have to rebuild the Turtle Club. You know how many people called me, how many people offered help, it's so nice to hear that everybody is ready, everybody wants to help. So we're going to make it happen and we're going to make it happen as soon as possible. We want to be an example of the upper keys, but actually the whole keys. We want to be an example of the American standard. We will make it happen and we will do it.
[21:05:22] COOPER: So Peter, just -- I got to give you the chance, what's your website if people want to get your t-shirts?
COOPER: All right, Peter, we wish you the best, take care.
ALTHIUS: Thank you very much and good luck to everybody because we're not the only one in this situation. And everybody, be safe, be strong, and let's make it happen.
COOPER: Yes, Peter, good words to end on. Thank you.
ALTHIUS: Thank you.
COOPER: Be safe, be strong, let's make it happen. Key West has been mostly cut off from communication. We haven't heard from officials there until just before air tonight. I spoke with the city manager just before we went on air. Also just before we aired, I spoke with Key West mayor, Craig Cates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Mayor Cates, what's the situation there now on the keys?
MAYOR CRAIG CATES, KEY WEST, FL (via telephone): We'll, I know you all know we get quite a bit of damage, but mainly in Key West, not so much structural damage, you know, mainly trees going down. And we broke a lot of water lines. We have a lot of large, older trees. Because we haven't had hurricanes in 12 years, they've grown pretty large, so that quite a bit of damage trees everywhere but not much structural. (INAUDIBLE) took couple do so, but other than that we fared really well. But now, you know, we don't have water because of the damage at the keys which was worse about 20 miles from here. And the power lines are down. So we heard the power is going to up tomorrow at the airfield and the hospital and there where they'll be bringing in areas to other city to power as they repair those power lines that were damaged by the trees falling.
COOPER: What about cell service? Do residents there who stayed behind, do they have cell service?
CATES: No, there's no cell service. I think doesn't starts until maybe about 80-mile marker up from here. It's hard to understand why we haven't got the service up to the towers are up once again. It supposed to be a transfer station that's about 20-miles from here that might -- have got wet something. We're waiting on the phone company to put that back together. They had been inspecting the bridges, Anderson, we had 42 bridges that connect us and may had to -- have everyone inspect it by the (INAUDIBLE) to make sure they're safe for travel to bring the larger trucks and vehicles in.
So we just got word that they were all inspected today, and they should be open -- bringing in the trucks to help put up the power lines and repair whatever else is necessary. We need fuel. That'll be bringing fuel in. But we're not letting any of the residents back yet because we don't have water or power yet. And we don't have any services for them. So we're holding off.
I know they really want to get back and check their houses out. But we didn't really -- have hardly any flood damage in Key West, nothing like Wilma. This storm was different there's a wind event, not water. So we did really well with that. Obviously it could be affected by wind (INAUDIBLE) has damage. But other than that, we fared very well. The airports are both up and running now. No power, but thanks to emergency responders, aircraft is going to be able to start coming in. They got their C130 coming in tomorrow with water and rations and food for the residents that stayed and the first responders. And everything starting to come together, but it just takes a little while. It's not -- not enough rest, because I want to thank everybody that's really working hard to bring this together.
COOPER: Yes, given what might have been. I'm glad that you're doing OK and folks are doing OK there. We'll continue to talk to you in the days ahead. Thanks so much.
CATES: OK, thank you very much, Anderson.
COOPER: That's the mayor, Mayor Cates. Just south here in Sarasota, the city manager says about 60 percent are without power. Today people who evacuated started going home. We'll see what they found next.
Also later, it is not a hurricane anymore but it's not over yet. We'll go check in with the weather center to see exactly what's happening right now in Georgia, Alabama, the Carolinas, and what's to come.
[21:13:10] COOPER: Just give you a sense of the impact of the storm. About 6.5 million customers are without power throughout the state of Florida at this very moment. In Sarasota, which includes more than half of the people there, the city manager says 60 percent are without power.
Today, many people who evacuated they start to make -- in the anxious journey home to see what was there. Alexander Marquardt reports on that tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Steve and Laura Brady got back to their house in Sarasota today bracing for the worst.
LAURA BRADY, SARASOTA RESIDENT: I was really worried that we were going to have the big pine up front there. You can see it. Go right through the bedrooms.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): We met them at a shelter on Sunday as Hurricane Irma was bearing down, with her 10-year-old daughter Payton and their dogs, Stella and Monty.
STEVE BRADY, SARASOTA RESIDENT: We boarded up our home. It was very long Friday. Boarding up the whole house on Friday and got her 7:30 yesterday morning.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): They're now back, but like more than 6.5 million others in Florida without power.
(on camera): So are you hunting around for a generator or you worried that that's what it might come to?
S. BRADY: We have friends with generators right now. We're not really hunting around at the moment, but we just got back here so a few days from now it might be a different story.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Power is out for the whole street including the home of Philip and Beverly Dennen. Philip a Korean War vet needs electricity for his oxygen supply.
PHILIP DENNEN, SARASOTA RESIDENT: I have enough oxygen to last for several days. And we have enough gasoline that I could get out of the car to run the generator probably for several days. But without power, we'll be in a little trouble.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): The state's biggest power company, Florida Power & Light, is frantically working on restoring service. For some it will be hours, for others weeks.
DAVID MCDERMITT, FLORIDA POWER AND LIGHT: It's going to take weeks because not only do we have to repair parts of our system, in some cases we're going to find to do a complete rebuild.
[21:15:02] MARQUARDT (voice-over): The White House says it is mobilizing the largest ever number of power workers to help.
TOM BOSSERT, HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: We will have line restoration workers from every company in this country from states all over the country, also from Canada, coming to Florida to help restore the lines.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): In the wake of Irma, cities and towns today are getting back on their feet.
(on camera): These are what's known as the TFIT or Tactical First In Teams, the first groups of authorities, the tip of the spear if you will, out here on Sarasota's barrier islands assessing the damage after the storm and clearing these roads so that residents can get back as soon as possible.
(voice-over): Most like the Brady's are grateful they can even get home even if it takes weeks to get back to normal, everyone knows this could have been far worse.
L. BRADY: We are so lucky compared to what just happened in Texas. It's a big deal. I mean, it is a big deal and it's stressed me out pretty bad. But I can kind of breathe a sigh of relief tonight I think once I get to sit down.
COOPER: Maybe a lot of people breathing a sigh of relief despite all those who are powerless. CNN's Alex joins us now from Sarasota. Crews are out there, obviously, trying to restore power. It's going to be a slow process in a lot of places.
MARQUARDT: Yes, the crews are out there around the clock. It's a slow and steady process, but they are making progress. Around one million customers had their power restored today by FPL. We're actually standing here in one of their staging areas. You can see what's known as their bucket trucks back there. It's been a hive of activity all night with these trucks coming and going. They're getting assignments around the clock. Their CEO says that they are working 24/7. He has called this the most widespread damage in the company's history.
Now, Anderson, we have to remember that this power outage is not just affecting Florida. As the storm swept northwards, it affected more than a million customers in Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. This is going to be a monumental task to get everyone back online. Anderson.
COOPER: Alex, thanks very much.
As we are hearing all night, people in Florida are really just starting to get an idea of the damage beginning the long road to recovery. Joining me is a man who understands the process well, Lieutenant General Russell Honore, who led a response -- a military response to Hurricane Katrina.
General Honore, the winds from the storm they're moving away, there are still, you know, all these people, more than 6 million or so without power tonight. You say that in itself is a disaster. What do you mean?
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE (RET.), CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Anderson, we usually go through these scenarios when I was Commander of Joint Force Headquarters-Homeland Security. Plotting around the country, what we would do if we lost power. And if you take a 24-to 36-hour period, anywhere in the country without power the whole structure start to deteriorate as far as people being able to live in that community, based on the weather conditions, those living in high-rise, in this case we got double disaster because we got the power out, we got roads that are out, we've got homes that are destroyed.
So when you look at that scenario in the keys and the great review you all done earlier in the show, it's going to be hard to build that infrastructure back and the gentleman with his bar, when there's no businesses and no places for people to work, and there's no water that they can use, it breaks down that ability for that community to sustain itself.
So decisions are going to have to be made in the coming days on how much of that community need to evacuate, because if you build your business right you don't have employees. If there are no employees, you have no customers. So it takes an entire community to come back together, the fishing side of it, the recreation side of it, the bars and the restaurants. So the whole thing has to come back and it takes time. I saw that in the rebuilding of the business in New Orleans. You got to rebuild that community from bottom up. And people homes have to be replaced.
In the case of shelter they can bring sea barges in, the use of (INAUDIBLE) at all industry. There have been ships in. They could bring trailer homes in. But, again, they're going to be exposed to potential future hurricanes. The problem with trailers, they are very expensive. And the return on trailers as we did in Louisiana last year, the three to four months to use that trailer, we paid more for the trailer than people got to repair their homes. So there's an awkward tradeoff there -- for the cost of that temporary housing. It's going to take a while to get that infrastructure up. So the community can take care of one another.
COOPER: So, in some places you're saying city officials or town officials may start to think about actually encouraging people to evacuate if it's going to be a long rebuilding process in that neighborhood, in that community?
[21:20:03] HONORE: Absolutely. Every one of those individuals has to now negotiate with FEMA. They have to negotiate with an insurance company. Or they have to negotiate with the small business loan, unless they're independently wealthy. All that takes time. They've got to build the buildings back to new building codes. All that takes time.
So the enthusiasm and the adrenaline rush from survivor is, reality is going to set in, in the next couple days. And the sad thing is about 40 percent of small businesses fail after disaster like this unfortunately, Anderson. They don't like -- they have their insurance. Well, can't sustain their customers or their employees to keep the business going. We might have to find a different way to do recovery because the way we do it now is not as efficient that it could be to bring communities and businesses back online.
We'd be better off sometime with just writing somebody a check and let them do their own thing than going through this long laborious process and trying to figure out exactly what we're going to give them. Because that long process cause people to go out of business, small businesses you go in and do work thought about -- would have to wait 60 to 90 days for their money, and stretches them out, Anderson. So building that back is going to be hard.
COOPER: Yes. Yes, a lot of difficult days ahead and a lot of things for communities to think about. General Honore, appreciate your time.
When we come back, Irma may be weakening, but flooding in Northern Florida still causing a lot of problems. We're talking about Jacksonville, we'll take you there next.
[21:20:28] COOPER: Obviously, Irma is much weaker as we just heard, still bringing dangerous storm surge flooding into Jacksonville, Florida, that's where we find CNN's Kaylee Hartung with the latest conditions. So, just explain how bad the flooding is in Jacksonville tonight. I assume some of the water has started to recede, has it?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of the water has started to recede, Anderson. Right now, I'm standing on dry ground just a couple feet from the seawall here of the Saint John's River. Earlier today there is no chance I would have ventured this close to the water.
When we first arrived in Jacksonville about 11:00 a.m. this morning, these waters had come across this seawall thanks to the help of the storm surge and headed three blocks inland. And for a while there it was hard to tell the difference between three feet of water or 5.5 feet of water. That's what the water was at its peak today right around 2:00 high tide here. But we watched those waters continue to rise. As bad as it was when we first got here around 11:00 a.m., we then saw it get worse. But these waters have started to recede, and the next milestone here, the next high tide at 1:00 a.m., we don't know what that will bring.
But as the mayor has told us the threat, far from over here, that storm surge this morning, a category three storm surge that brought this water just rolling through the street and downtown. At times those waters were whitecapping. It wasn't just the water that you saw flowing, but it was the wind that would come ripping down these streets. When you've got high-rises here that can create a wind tunnel for that wind. It was ripping up the water that it would hit. That was the spray we were feeling all day. It was a very bizarre feeling to not feel any rain falling down as you saw. These waters continue to rush. It was just the water that that wind, that incredibly powerful wind was whipping up all day.
COOPER: And is there areas beyond there downtown that have been affected?
HARTUNG: Absolutely, Anderson. We spent our time today in the central business district because that was where we were seeing so many of these powerful pictures. And being right here at the edge of the water, it was easy to see where it was coming from. But there are so many areas of Jacksonville that have been terribly affected by the same waters. Just behind me, the riverside area, Ortega and San Marco, residential neighbors, Anderson, where we can only imagine rescues will continue to take place in the coming days.
COOPER: Yes, Kaylee, appreciate you being there.
I spoke to the mayor of Jacksonville, Lenny Curry, a short time ago. He said that the situation is not good at all. It's not over yet, as Kaylee reference. Now we want to play that interview with the mayor because what the mayor had to say we think is important for you all to hear.
COOPER: Mayor Curry, just in terms of the latest in the flooding in Jacksonville, what are you seeing now? How bad is it?
MAYOR LENNY CURRY, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: That this is a serious event. And we've been telling the people of Jacksonville this is going to be a serious event for days. On Wednesday we started voluntary evacuations. Now we told people those are going to be mandatory in just a couple of days. And we started them early because of the traffic coning from South Florida. And now here we are. We have category three storm surge and a tropical storm. And so we are in rescue mode right now. We've flipped to rescue mode. And that's exactly what's happening all day and what continue to happen.
COOPER: Do you have a sense of the scope of those operations? I mean, any sense of how many people may be unaccounted for or stranded in any way?
CURRY: Well, it's serious. I can tell you that I was around today visiting some of the places that were being searched and rescued, and just anecdotally I had, you know, some of the fire guys and gals that were doing the work told me they had rescued about a 100 people just with an small area of town.
So the thing we need the people of Jacksonville to know is if they think these -- they're going to wait this out maybe on a second floor, and wake up tomorrow and everything is going to be OK, this could take up to a week, maybe days, maybe a week. And, you know, we wish everyone that heeded our evacuation orders when we put them out there. That didn't happen. But now it's time for us to go in and save our people, make sure that they're safe. We had a great partner in Governor Scott. He's been on top of this on the front end to the entire state and in Jacksonville. The president's team reached out early on to ensure that we had access to those resources when we need them. But right now we are working in rescue mode to make sure our people are taken care of.
COOPER: You know, you talked about trying to get people to heed evacuation orders. Clearly, people were caught off guard, not just in Jacksonville, but elsewhere, particularly when this storm shifted more to the west in the days before. Did you think or did people there think they were out of the woods before all the flooding happened?
[21:30:15] CURRY: Anderson, one of my concerns was that people would think that. And it's very clear the message that I communicated when it started to shift to the west. I said please, people, do not think that this is not going to be a major event. Do not think this is not going to have major impact. We are not changing our evacuation orders. They're as serious now as ever. So, you know, we weren't surprised. I wasn't surprised. My team wasn't surprised by such a major event. The new development that was new was the type of event it was and now this morning we learned that there would be category three -- hurricane category three storm surge and a tropical storm. And so we are just dealing with that now. The policemen, firemen, contractors are here. Neighbors are helping neighbors just doing everything that we can. First things first, make sure our people are safe.
COOPER: And, I mean, obviously it differs in different areas. Do you know how deep the water is in some areas?
CURRY: Oh, gosh. There are areas that I was in today that you can't drive a major public rescue vehicle into. I mean, with major tires, high up off the ground. You've got to take the big truck in, you got to drop the boat in that the rescue guys take, and you go to down the road, get these people in a boat, get them out and get them back to a truck and drive them out. And then get them to a shelter or get them to someone's home that can take care of them.
So it's deep. It's serious. And it's dangerous. And the threat is still with us. But this is -- Anderson, this is what I told the people today. This is why we're here.
CURRY: This is my job. This is the job that policemen and firemen sign up for and they are answering the call of duty and I'm so proud to this community, working their butts off right now to save people.
COOPER: Mayor Curry, we appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. Thank you. Wish you the best.
CURRY: Thank you. Thank you very much.
COOPER: I want to check in with our meteorologist Tom Sater. Tom, first of all, just in terms of Jacksonville, how long can people there expect to see this kind of flooding in Jacksonville or the storm surge?
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, basically this afternoon it started to recede, which is good news. We knew that we were going to have this onshore flow even before the system made landfall in Southern Florida, such a broad storm. In fact, we were talking about Jacksonville, I didn't think they would break the record from Hurricane Matthew last year, but they did. They got up to 5.5 feet and that broke the record by half a foot, all the way up to Jacksonville Saint John's River. In fact, it beat our Dora in the '60s. It was higher than anything they've recorded since 1846. When you got to the Savannah River they made it up to 12 feet. Now that just missed out on the record, of course and the heights to the river by just 2.5 inches from Matthew.
And then up in the Charleston area which still has a little bit of on- shore flow trying to keep the waters from receding, you know, they made it up to 9.92 feet in the harbor. It was over the battery and that was significant.
Still, third place behind Hurricane Hugo and Matthews. But it is going to lightning up somewhat. And there's good news. Now when it comes to the watches and the warnings we have in effect, obviously there are still some flash floods watches as the water slowly recedes and that does include the northeastern area of Florida and Jacksonville. Still have a flash flood emergency, and that is for the Charleston areas as you see here across Northern Georgia, for the first time ever a tropical storm warning for Atlanta, in the North Georgia, from the Eastern Alabama to the Carolinas. It's about hundred miles now south of Atlanta, still a tropical storm.
Irma is at 45-mile-per-hour winds, overnight it will become a depression. But now we've got three fatalities due to the downing trees, we talked about in Georgia and one in South Carolina. So, it's significant. It's breaking down. But what a storm. We will never ever have another Hurricane Harvey. We will never have another Irma. Those two names are going to be retired. And it's significant to know that both of these landfalls with Harvey and Irma within 16 days of each other. And the U.S. has never had two category 4s and make landfall in the same year.
COOPER: Let me ask you about that Tom, because -- I'm getting some, you know, texts and e-mails and, you know, tweets in staff from people who really didn't experience the storm, from other states, who said, look, this seem like more -- that it didn't live up to some of the hype that they've heard from officials. Some officials, you know, one official called it a nuclear hurricane that was approaching. Obviously it was an incredibly powerful storm, a cat five, you know, it drew a lot of spots. We saw the damage it did to the Caribbean. What happened to this storm? Can you just explain, you know, from the time it hit the keys at a cat four, which is obviously, incredibly powerful storm, did it surprise you how it broke up, how it dissipated? Because it ended up, you know, not hitting Tampa directly, there was talk about being a cat three would hit Tampa, it was a lot cat two toward, you know, when I signed off last night around 11:00 in Tampa.
[21:35:13] SATER: Well, keep in mind we started watching the storm on the 31st of August. The computer models were excellent. That far back European model putting it in Southern Florida.
Now, again, when you unroll the entire scenario and where the rain is now and where it was moving, we had always said that we would never know exactly where landfall was going to be until the storm reach the coast of Cuba and started its northern turn. I mean, how many press conferences do we have from FEMA and federal officials from the governor, local mayors, I mean, everybody knew this was a great risk of loss of life and property. And I think it did. I mean, I begged to differ to those who say, well, it wasn't that bad, well, where? Tallahassee? Pensacola? You know, I mean, homestead, it didn't get his hit as hard as Andrew and it move through. I mean that was only in the state for four hours. We knew at some point when it turned northwards, still significant, the possibility, thank goodness that it made landfall in Cuba or we would have had a category five. But it's still a four and then a three, but the exact latitude and longitude that will may head as a category three. But that little bit of a jog just to the east of Tampa instead of expecting it west, you know, a few hours before was significant for Tampa. But as areas like New Haven, OK, you didn't get the flooding that Orlando had, but we had 90-mile-per-hour winds even on the east coast from Cape Canal, but we had tornado warnings.
I do think this was significant. I mean, two storms, Harvey and now Irma, you have an impact of a category four, and yes, maybe, you know, every loss of life is precious. It could have been much worse and a higher death toll, but who wants that. Now we've got well over a billion dollars in Texas and another 100 billion worth of economic loss in Florida. Millions of people's lives are just turned upside down right now. We saw the suffering as you know --
SATER: -- in Texas. And we see it now. I think for those who say, well, maybe it wasn't that bad, just count your blessings. I don't want to see another one of these come by. Unfortunately the hurricane season runs until the end of November. It's coming to an end overnight tonight.
SATER: Thank goodness, Anderson.
COOPER: And, yes, and certainly had not as many people heeded the warnings and, you know, been out and about, who knows what the impact of it could be? So, you know, --
COOPER: -- I see this as, you know, people heeding warnings, officials heeding warnings, people taking shelter, people evacuating and listening to the warnings.
COOPER: Tom, appreciate all that.
SATER: And even in --
COOPER: Up next inside -- go ahead.
SATER: Even in Miami, people living in Miami they thought, well, I can go back there. I mean, huge plates of glass coming from high- rises, cranes falling, unprecedented flooding in the financial district. I mean, it was widespread and the National Hurricane Center nailed this. And they should be commented on today, September 11th. Let's give a gratitude of thanks to all the first responders from Texas to Florida in every day and everywhere in the U.S. It's a big day to say thank you to them. COOPER: Yes, they deserve thanks every day. Tom, thanks so much.
Inside a small Florida fishing village next, where dozens of people sheltered through a direct hit by Hurricane Irma.
[21:41:54] COOPER: All the food is gone. That's the headline "The New York Times" from a 63-year-old man who lives on the French side of St. Martin. There's a French side, there's a Dutch side, where there are still plenty to worry about days after Hurricane Irma pounded the Caribbean island. The Dutch side of the island also got hit as well as Barbuda, Turks and Caicos, the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. John, St. Thomas, St. Croix. U.S Virgin Islands are about 40 miles east of Puerto Rico. The three largest islands, as I said, St. John, St. Croix, and St. Thomas were affected.
We've been getting reports from Americans on those islands saying, A, they haven't gotten the attention that they need or the supplies and that there are people who need to get off those islands and that the damage has just been extensive. We were supposed to talk to someone from St. Thomas earlier, we lost contact with them. Just gives you a sign of the difficulty of getting in contact with them. We'll try to bring you some interviews with them tomorrow night.
Thirty six people die when Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean. I want to go now on the phone to Josephine Gumbs-Conner, survived the storm on Anguilla. We talked to her days ago after the storm.
Josephine, when we first talked you were very concerned about the response by the British government, which is the authority for the island, that they had not responded quickly enough. I'm wondering what response have you seen since then.
JOSEPHINE GUMBS-CONNER, SURVIVED HURRICANE IRMA IN ANGUILLA (via telephone): Hi, Anderson. First of all, thank you for keeping us in your minds and for sharing with the world really the plight of Anguilla. And indeed, it is a plight. The devastation is incredible, and of course catastrophes, catastrophes in so many island that has suffered under the weight of Irma. And Irma has taken also the food and water, that as well.
So in relation to the response, all that I can say is that -- as you move around the ground and you speak with Anguillians all over, Anguillians are saying to you that the response has been really sorely lacking. We're feeling much very much like the stepchild to this issue. And it's unfortunate, but I thank you all, members of the press, both in the U.K. and in the U.S., for continuing to shed light on this because we will be relentless in making sure that the U.S. understands its obligation to its overseas territories.
Today we had a navy ship land. And it deposited 50 marines. They came with their own pallets of water. And just to put things in perspective, there was a helicopter that made one drop of aid to the island. You know what that was, two pallets of plywood. This constituted the construction materials bought to Anguilla. Their devastation just (INAUDIBLE) some village to village. This is unacceptable. And the people are making their voices heard with relation to that.
COOPER: Josephine, just in terms of, you know, the hospital situation, medical situation, how are people just, you know, how is the community just dealing with this?
[21:45:06] GUMBS-CONNER: It's extremely rough, Anderson. You have to recall that Anguilla -- it has population of about 13,000. We have one hospital. And that hospital suffered damage. It is remarkable that members of parliament in the U.S. are putting out to the outside world that the breach in the hospital has been fully repaired. They've made the indication that heavy equipment was landed on Anguilla, they may be indications hat power was restored to Anguilla, all of which is incredibly untrue. And, you know, Anguilla is, you know, we keep abreast and sometimes we are beginning to wonder whether fake news is also in Anguilla. Anguilla is currently out of power. Anguilla's hospital still has a hole in it. There was never any --
COOPER: Josephine? And obviously there's just regular medical needs that people have, dialysis, medication, prescriptions, things like that which are obviously in the wake of something like this or just as important as more immediate medical needs. Josephine we'll continue to check in with you.
And again, thinking about St. John, St. Thomas, trying to getting contacts to the American citizens where in those islands who are also frustrated with what they're seeing and very concerned and some trying to get off the island and having trouble. The broadcasts seen on CNN international all over the whole, hopefully those words will be heard. Obviously, in St. Martin on the Dutch side we've been hearing reports of concerns about security. A lot ahead. We'll continue to follow this. We'll be right back.
COOPER: The small fishing village of Goodland, Florida, had extensive damage when Hurricane Irma hit it. It's a community were dozens of people were actually riding out the storm. Ed Lavandera visited the town today. Here's what he saw.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everglades meets the Gulf of Mexico, there's a fishing village called Goodland. The eye of Hurricane Irma chainsaw its way through here, and Gary Stringer stared down the sharpest edge of the storm's blade. He sat in this room as the 130-mile-per-hour wind roared outside.
[21:50:00] (on camera): Did you feel the house was going to get picked up off the ground?
GARY STRINGER, RODE OUT HURRICANE IRMA IN HIS HOME: Yes, I thought about, oh here we go. This thing is -- I mean, --
LAVANDERA (on camera): Like Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz? STRINGER: Almost, yes.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): As the house shook, he heard the cracking and rumbling of a giant tree ripping out of the ground. He opened the door to see the tree had fallen on to the neighbor's house. He was spared.
(on camera): Gary, at that point did you start telling yourself maybe I should have left town?
STRINGER: Yes. I was telling myself that an hour before that.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Emergency officials say some 40 people decided to ride out the storm here in Goodland, but there were no serious injuries reported. The hurricane ripped apart this town that's home to several hundred people. Boats tossed around, trees toppled and several homes destroyed.
DUSTIN SHEPARD, RODE OUT HURRICANE IRMA IN HIS HOME: It blew out my oil cap here, the pressure from the water.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The storm surge pushed about seven feet of water under Dustin Shepard's home. The water is gone now, but the surge brought in fish that aren't supposed to be here.
(on camera): What do you have there?
SHEPARD: We've got a puffer fish here.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Shepard works as a charter fisherman and stayed inside his home with his wife and a friend.
SHEPARD: My windows broke on the backside here and, you know, for about couple hours, you know, I thought the house might come down, you know. And it got scary, you know. It was -- it was something I'll never forget, I'll tell you that much.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Friends showed up to hug Gary Stringer, grateful he survived. He might have an incredible story to tell, but he just feels lucky that he can walk away.
(on camera): You took a direct hit?
STRINGER: I won't do it again, trust me, you know. If no one comes, I'm going to book a flight about a week early and I'm going to be on the other side of the world at a Tiki bar somewhere, you know. And, oh, (INAUDIBLE).
LAVANDERA (on camera): You learned your lesson.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Well, I'm glad you're all right, man.
COOPER: Ed Lavandera joins me now from Goodland, Florida. Did he say he would be in a Tiki bar? How are the conditions right now in Goodland and in nearby Marco Island?
LAVANDERA: Well, you know, what is really striking here, Anderson, at night, the sense of no power anywhere. When we turn all of our lights off a little while ago, you can see the Milky Way. That is how dark it is out here and that is why officials are urging people that as long as the water and the power is not in service here in this area, they're urging people to stay away as long as they can. Makes it easier for them, makes it easier for the first responders, except there's no real timetable on exactly when all of those services are going to be back online. Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Ed, appreciate you telling us that story. Thank you.
Our Rosa Flores just got off a plane. She had an aerial view of the destruction including the keys and she joins us. Now, describe what you saw from the air, Rosa.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, you can see both destruction from the air and from the ground. We were able to get a brief tour of the federal facilities in Key West. And Anderson, it is shocking. First of all, there is no one there. So I want to kind of take you through what we saw. The first thing that you notice as soon as you get up in the air and closer to the keys, you see that the water is very murky. And of course, that water is crystal clear on any normal day. But it looks very, very murky.
Once you pass over the seven-mile bridge you start seeing a lot of the destruction. You see mobile homes that look like dominos, like somebody maybe brushed pieces of dominos with a broom. You see trees that were smacked and palm trees that were smacked.
Now, as you get closer and closer to the keys you start seeing boats in places that they're not supposed to be, in the middle of yards. You start seeing just things that are not supposed to be in certain places.
Now, from about a thousand feet it's difficult to discern exactly the destruction that is on the ground, but as soon as we got to the naval air station in Key West, it became very clear there was a lot of debris all over the place. You could see garage doors buckled in, boats that have come onshore that were not supposed to be there. You also saw houses submerged, yachts submerged.
So, Anderson, just a lot of destruction. And again, this eerie feeling because you don't see anyone there. There's no one there.
COOPER: Let me ask you, oh my gosh, I wanted to say those images because it's really the first I've been able to see it from that vantage point. The roads, the bridge -- the bridge in there, one road in, one road out, is that safe enough for relief supplies because I know authorities were sending some vehicles over today. FLORES: Yes. We actually, you know, were on that main road from the naval air station to Key West, and we were able to drive on it. Now, of course, there's debris and we were with federal officials, with the U.S. coast guard and with the U.S. navy. But the latest that we heard from I believe the Florida Department is that they're working to clear those bridges. And in talking to these federal officials, they say that they need to inspect the structural integrity of those bridges before anyone can get on them.
[21:55:20] COOPER: All right. Rosa, appreciate it. We're continuing to monitor Irma as it travels over Southwestern Georgia tonight.
But coming up next, remembering the lives lost on September 11th, 16 years ago today. Looking at a live shot of ground zero in New York that we want to show you, the tribute in light shining in lower Manhattan. Stay with us.
COOPER: Well, today the nation paused to mark the 16th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11. A total of 2,977 people were killed that day. This morning those who lost loved ones were able to gather in the Pentagon when the president remembered victims. Ceremonies where also held in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and of course at the 9/11 memorial at the world trade center in New York. We wanted to bring you some of the sights and sounds from today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George C. Cain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Salvatore B. Calabro.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joseph M. Calandrillo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Phillip V. Calcagno.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For he families with us on this anniversary, we know that not a single day goes by when you don't think about the loved ones stolen from your life. Today our entire nation grieves with you. We mourn them, we honor them, and we pledge to never, ever forget them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The sights and sounds from today. We will never forget. Thanks very much for watching 360. We'll continue our coverage from here in Florida tomorrow night on 360 as well. We appreciate you continuing to stay with our coverage. It's time to hand things over to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts right now.
DON LEMAN, CNN TONIGHT HOST: Thanks, Anderson. Moving tribute there. We have seen torrential rains, though, in the storm, a record storm surge today as Irma heads north. It's good to have you with us from Bradenton. I just want to tell our viewers.
This is "CCN Tonight". I'm Don Lemon.
Our coverage continues to. We're going to talk to Anderson for a little bit.
So, Anderson, millions of customers without power in Florida. What are your impressions of the damage left behind by Irma?
COOPER: You know, I think it's different, different places.