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9/11 Moment of Silence and Ceremony; Irma Weakens to Tropical Storm; Irma Hits Orlando. Irma Leaves 5.8 Million Without Power In Florida. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired September 11, 2017 - 09:00   ET


[09:00:16] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, I'm John Berman in Miami. Poppy Harlow in New York. Chris Cuomo in Naples, Florida. This is CNN's special live coverage of Hurricane Irma, now Tropical Storm Irma, but nowhere near done delivering destruction and devastation to the state of Florida.

As we speak, it is delivering a hammer blow to Daytona. We've heard reports all morning about dramatic rescues of people stuck in buildings that are flooding. Up in Jacksonville, there is serious concern about unprecedented storm surge. Levels that they have not seen on the St. John's River since the 1800s.

Again, the story about Irma is the size of the storm. And CNN is all over it with reporters in every location that we could get them to in the state of Florida because so many places in Florida have been affected.

In Miami here, it did not get the eye of the storm, but it got relentlessly pounded for hours and hours and hours, hurricane-forced winds, storm surge on this street that would have been up passed my waist. And that's just Miami.

Let's go over to Naples, which did get the brunt of the eye. Chris Cuomo is there.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, John, it saw the wind here. I think they had a record gust of 140 miles an hour. But the good news in the bad situation was, they did not get the storm surge that they feared. And that's not to say they didn't get any storm surge. There was enough to flood a lot of homes. The problem is the power is out for everyone down here right now so people don't know if their homes are OK. The first responders are just starting to get out into areas to assess the situation.

But, John, to be clear, it could have been worse here in Naples.

BERMAN: All right, Poppy, let's go over to you in New York because today isn't just about this storm. It's also a day to remember.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Of course. This marks the 16th anniversary of 9/11. And at 9:03 a.m. Eastern Time, in just about 30 seconds, it is the most that 16 years ago today United Airlines Flight 175 traveling from Boston to Los Angeles struck the south tower of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

Now we're going to take a moment as they're reading the names, as they always do on this solemn day here in New York City down at Ground Zero, to take a moment of silence to remember those lives, the nearly 3,000 lives lost on that day. Let's listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That your family is the best place. Like last year, when your son graduated college, you should have been here in the best place, watching him get his diploma. And then a month later, when your daughter Amanda got married, you should have been here in the best place walking her down the aisle. And then just six months after that, your other daughter, Jessica got married, you should have been here in the best place walking her down the aisle.

Are you in a better place, Jeff? I really hope so. But, again, I'm just not so sure anymore. I guess I'll know in 20 or 30 years. So, save me a good seat, little brother. We love you. We miss you every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richard Edward Bosco. And my father, Ronald Carl Fazio.

Dad, your youngest granddaughter is here today. Reece (ph), you're proudly named after your dad. He had a heart condition and he loved his Recces peanut butter cups and that never stopped him. If he were here today, he would tell you to hold the door for others every chance that you get. Love, strength and peace to everyone near and far, 143 (ph).


[09:05:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Claus Bota (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sarah Marie Bushard (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Francisco Eligio Bourdier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thomas Harold Bowden, Jr.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kimberly S. Bowers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Veronique Nicole Bowers.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shawn Edward Bowman, Jr.




HARLOW: That moment of silence on what is just a glorious, beautiful fall morning here in New York City, much like the morning of September 11th. Now the names will be continued to be read there at Ground Zero as we honor the nearly 3,000 lives lost on that day.

We will be taking all of these moments of silence and bring you all of this throughout the morning here on CNN.

And we are expecting to hear from the president. President Trump and the first lady right now departing the White House heading to the Pentagon. The president is expected to make remarks at the Pentagon this morning in just a little under half an hour. Of course, you'll hear that live here as we continue to mark this very important day for all of those lives.

Let's get back to Miami. John Berman is there.

Your coverage over the weekend, John, it's hard to describe what you and all the teams are doing down there. It is remarkable. Thank you for that. And tell us what else you're seeing.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Poppy.

And let me just say, on September 11th, these moment of silence, such an important remembrance, even though we remember each and every day what happened all those years ago. Our thanks to you, Poppy.

We're down here covering what was Hurricane Irma, is now Tropical Storm Irma. And the remarkable thing about it is it's not done yet. So let's get right to the Weather Center. CNN's Chad Myers is there.

Chad, tell us, you know, what it's doing and where it's going.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Significant flooding happening right now, Jacksonville, Saint Augustine and eventually into Tybee and possibly Charleston, John. This is the area we're seeing now with the onshore flow. It's been the same direction for hours and hours, maybe 30 hours. And we are seeing record levels on the St. John's River that we've never seen before.

Forecast to be 5.2 feet above sea level, were the old records, back in Hurricane Dora, was 4, 4.1. So we are 20 percent higher than we've ever been before. Even in Matthew, Tybee Island had a storm surge of about 12.4. This is going to 14.8. This is a greater storm surge that we saw in Matthew because of the long duration of the storm and how long it's pushed in the same direction.

There is still surge coming into Tampa, but it's about two to three feet. This storm has moved far enough away from you, Tampa, that the major surge is no longer a threat. There still will be winds to near hurricane strength, likely over tropical storm strength in this entire area just to the northeast of the eye passage today. So we can see power lines down in Georgia, the Carolinas for sure, before it's all done. And I know we're over a million or 5 million customers. It's still going up without power.

BERMAN: It's going to be a long, long time. The head of Florida Light and Power says this could be the longest, most complicated recovery they have ever seen.


BERMAN: All right, joining us now on the phone, the mayor of Jacksonville Beach, Charlie Latham.

Mayor, if you can hear me, Chad Myers just said that the Jacksonville area experiencing flooding that could be historic. Very concerned about the storm surge there. Mayor, what are you seeing?

MAYOR CHARLIE LATHAM, JACKSONVILLE BEACH, FLORIDA (via telephone): Well, it's unparalleled to anything I've seen before. We've taken 25 inches of rain in four hours. We have quite a bit of flooding all over Jacksonville Beach. We're still making our initial assessments. About 90 percent of our customers have lost electricity (ph). (INAUDIBLE) our crews back on the roads.

We're still looking at very, very (INAUDIBLE) -- and we're working the best we can to get the -- get things back to (INAUDIBLE). You know, we're in much better shape than south Florida. (INAUDIBLE) we will be able to recover from relatively quickly. But as I've said, I (INAUDIBLE) flooding in our city. I've never seen anything like it.

BERMAN: You know, mayor, if you can, how high is the water?

LATHAM: Well, most of the water that, you know, is -- flooding is rainwater. We've had one breach over a dam (ph) (INAUDIBLE) flooded the streets on the first street in Jacksonville. It's a little flooding (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE) complete covered the streets and intersections. It's going to take some time for this to be (INAUDIBLE) cleared so the traffic can be available to use the roads.

[09:10:18] So I'm happy to say that we were able to keep our electric -- I'm sorry, our water and sewage up during the storms so our residents won't feel any negative impacts here. They'll be able to use (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: As far as you can tell, mayor, is everyone safe?

LATHAM: Well, there have been no reports (INAUDIBLE) but our initial (INAUDIBLE) any reports of any injuries or deaths. And we'll be certainly making that our top priority and make a canvas of our city police. This is -- the sun's really just been up a short period of time and we're right in the initial phases of our damage assessment.

BERMAN: All right. And this flooding could go on for some time.

Mayor Charlie Latham of Jacksonville Beach, thanks so much for being with us.

Again, the storm pounding Daytona, moving up to Jacksonville, and could deliver serious flooding as far north as Charleston, South Carolina. I have a friend there who said they were concerned about flood levels exceeding that of Hurricane Hugo. It just goes to show, we're down here in Miami. That's all the way up there in South Carolina, the size of this storm.

Let's go over to the other side of Florida right now. Chris Cuomo is in Naples.


CUOMO: The power is out here. We're hearing reports, John, of power being out all the way up into Georgia because of Irma, just to give you some perspective. Close to 6 million people now without power because of this storm, and it is not over.

Brynn Gingras is in Orlando, another place that wasn't expected to get it, but they're getting it right now.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, this has died down just a bit from the last time we talked to you. Now we're getting sort of those tropical storm wind gusts every so often. But certainly a lot better than it was a few hours ago.

I want to show you this as I'm lifting it up. This is a light that felt from 15 stories up from our hotel. You can imagine how -- I mean, this is heavy. You can imagine this falling on a car, what sort of damage this could have done. But, luckily, it just fell in the street where we found it right next to our hotel where we were doing our live shots all throughout the evening.

Now, in addition to the winds here in Orlando, we also had a ton of rain. And that was something that emergency officials told me before the storm they were worried about. They said they looked at Harvey, they saw how much rain that happened there, 50 plus inches, and they prepared for this storm using that as a barometer. So they lowered retention lakes. They lowered pond levels. Whatever they could do to prevent any sort of flooding.

And it mostly held, but in some areas it didn't. We know about a rescue that happened really not too far from here in western Orlando where more than 100 people had to be evacuated by the National Guard and Orange County Fire and Rescue from their homes because the local ponds and lakes near that area flooded their homes. So, they certainly weren't immune to any destruction.

Right now, though, what we have -- we see in the city is downed powerlines and trees. Certainly not as terrible as we are seeing in the video down south in Florida, but certainly something this county is going to be dealing with.


CUOMO: All right, Brynn, stay safe over there and keep us in the loop about what happens. A lot of the story today is about the unknown. How are The Keys? What is the damage? How are the people down there? The Cuban government reporting now that they lost ten lives from this

storm. So we still have a long way to go.

Let's check in with Sara Sidner.

The pictures of you and your team getting slapped around this morning, early reminiscent of what we talked about yesterday here in Naples. We're showing a picture of you this morning, really tough.

When we come back, we'll have Sara Sidner and the latest from Daytona Beach.

Stay with us.


[09:18:16] CUOMO: The story here from Naples, Florida along the west coast is an area particular vulnerability, but the story is it could have been worst. Now power is out so there is still now that much known.

We do not have a complete picture about how bad the storm surge was, how bad the wind damage was. We know the headline was that they got one of the biggest gust reported during Irma so far about 140 miles an hour.

But again, it could have been worst pending what more we learn. I want to bring Mayor Bob Buckhorn from Tampa. This is another place we were so concerned about and the experts too because of its vulnerability, about 700 miles of low-lying coastline.

Mr. Mayor, how are you this morning?

MAYOR BOB BUCKHORN, TAMPA, FLORIDA: Chris, I'm a lot better than when I've talked to you yesterday and was staring into the abyss thinking that our number had come up.

CUOMO: Well, look, you know, it's the best kind of disappointed is to have something that you expect in the form of disaster and that you're wring about it. But what do you believe the current situation to be?

BUCKHORN: Well, we're assessing that now. It's daylight now. We've had our crews out, the Tampa Police Department, Tampa Fire Department at about 3:00 this morning. Once the wind subsided, we were able to push them out.

They've been giving street by street assessments of damage of trees down and limbs blocking the roads. Power outages of live wires in the street. I have lifted the curfew. People are now starting to come back home.

I think all things considered, we really -- we're lucky last night. The surge was not nearly as bad as was expected so we don't have that low-level flooding that we had anticipated. I'm excited. My wife is able to go home, so I'm really excited. And Tampa, I think, lived to fight another day. [09:20:07] CUOMO: Everybody craves the normal after something like this. What do you think the timing is in terms of getting power and getting things cleaned and getting things back to normal?

BUCKHORN: I think largely it will be about the power. You know, I think our crews will get through and do what we need to do over the next day or two. Obviously, we're going to be on high alert for looters and con artists and scamming. I think we can handle that pretty well.

I think the issue will be the power issues and the magnitude of the power issues around the state of Florida. Obviously, our friend and neighbors in Jacksonville are getting walloped. There are crews that are massing to come into Tampa, as we speak.

I just talked to the governor. He has been relentless about moving those crews around and getting them ready to come into Florida, as needed. We've got other Floridians in other cities that need that help more than we do. We're going to be OK. I will imagine, it will be days, not weeks before that power is up and Tampa will continue to move on.

CUOMO: That will be good news. I mean, you know, just one day is too long, especially with no air conditioning once the temperatures get back to normal and the humidity does, as well here. The best case on a bad set of possibilities.

Mr. Mayor, you were ahead going into this storm, you kept everybody aware, and that's a big of your job. Thank you for talking to us throughout, and I'm happy you have an easier task than you expected. Be well, Mr. Mayor.

BUCKHORN: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, John, especially on a day like today like you put so eloquently before, as we remember 16 years of 9/11, it gives you that dose of perspective. No matter how bad Irma gets, we get through so much together.

BERMAN: I know the American spirit can persevere through so much, Chris. No question about that. We were just getting a cool breeze, I should note here in Miami. What a day, what a difference a day makes, a cool breeze, the wind we've been getting not welcome at all.

Now, the storm has moved up the peninsula, continuing to deliver a punch. Our Martin Savidge over at the panhandle which is feeling something, maybe not as bad as we got here. Martin Savidge is up in Mexico City -- Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, it just shows you that this storm is still having an impact. This is the northern most part of Florida that you'll find here in the panhandle. Mexico Beach, it's a small quiet community, right now it's getting hit with rain and tropical forced winds, but nothing like you were seeing further south in the state. For the most part, the electricity has stayed on. Everything is functioning just fine. This was an area of the state that was worried, thinking they might get one last kick from Irma. It looks like now this area is getting a break.

The wind is not as severe the tropical storm, the rain is not the problem. The worry it will be anything like a rip tide and somebody starts to go in the water for beach erosion. So far, so good, they're ready to respond to the rest of the state if help is needed because they're feeling good about things right now -- John.

BERMAN: Of course, Martin Savidge, you were in the middle of Harvey two weeks ago, which shows how complicated the recovery effort and the scope of what disaster officials will have to deal with over the coming days and weeks. Martin Savidge up in Mexico Beach, thanks so much. Poppy, let's go back to you in New York.

HARLOW: Thank you so much. I bet that burst of cool air was pretty nice, given all you have been through this weekend. You've got Tropical Storm Irma, now it was a tropical storm, right. It was very intense hurricane.

It is continuing to slam Florida as it moves north. It is expected to leave expensive extremely trail of destruction the nation's fourth largest state economy, and the fact that Irma comes right on the heels of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and all the havoc that it wreaked. It makes the economic outlook a lot worse for all the people picking up the pieces.

Our chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, is with us now. One-two punch, two big hurricanes back to back.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And that makes this hurricane season likely the 2017 hurricane season likely the most expensive in history, if not almost on top of the list. The top of the estimates for Irma are $172 billion, anywhere from a hundred, some estimates I've seen, to $172 billion.

How does that compare with Katrina, for example? That would be worse than Katrina. We just don't know the sprawling scope, really, of the kind of economy we're talking about here, make it really difficult to be able to measure just how deep the pain will go.

We're talking about three of the biggest airports in the world, really, Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, that's the 21st largest U.S. airport, those are all still closed here. You've got the property values to tourism, to airlines to cruises, to airports, to ports, to agriculture, to the job market.

I mean, you look at Harvey, what we've seen so far is Harvey, already 62,000 people, more people than usual filed for unemployment benefits last week. So, you can already see the hit to unemployment benefits.

[09:25:09] Insurance pay outs will help pay for some of this so will federal aid, but some of this will be cost that will born by people and businesses. HARLOW: Of course, especially tourism being such a huge part of the economy here, that and they cannot make up people living on day-to-day paychecks that they're not getting if they're not at work. They're not getting it if they're not there. Quickly before we go, gas shortages.

ROMANS: Yes. If you look on the west coast of Florida, there are several cities where you've got significant gas shortages. In Gainesville, 63 percent of stations are without fuel, Miami 62 percent, Tampa 54 percent.

Of course, some of these places you should not be going out to try to fill up your tank any way, Rick Scott, the governor says he's working hard to get those restrictions fixed. But it's very hard to go into reconstruction when you don't have the basic tools yet. Those tools are powered and fuel. There will be a boost of economic activity when reconstruction comes. That happens later.

HARLOW: Romans, thank you so much as always. Christine brought up power, this is huge. We've got the biggest utility company in all of Florida, Florida Light and Power warning this could be the longest, most complicated, recovery effort on the power frame. You've got 6 million Floridians without power.

We're going to talk to someone down there live in Florida from Florida Light and Power about where that stands, straight ahead.