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Irma Climbing Through Florida with Category 2 Force; Red Cross Responding to Irma Disaster; Irma Roars Through Florida Keys, Destroys Bar. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 11, 2017 - 01:00   ET


[01:00:00] MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes here in Tampa, Florida as we continue our coverage of the progress of Hurricane Irma.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isa Soares coming to you live from Miami where it's just turned 1:00 in the morning. Thank you very much for being with us.

HOLMES: And yes, we continue our coverage from here in Tampa. The storm, it's still a powerful hurricane. It is still a hurricane. It has weakened, and that has been good news for the people of Tampa. If the eye of the storm had gone to the west of the city, there were great fears about storm surge causing havoc here. This is a city that is vulnerable to storm surge and has low-lying areas, a lot of development along the water -- even some of the cause ways, the bridges are fairly low. There was a lot of concern. We spoke to the mayor yesterday and that was his big worry.

The eye, of course, and we're going to check in with Karen Maginnis in a minute, has moved to the east, which is a good thing. And we'll check about how that storm surge is going to look now. I can tell you that the water is still going outbound at the moment because of how the winds are going. The river here has dropped markedly over the last 12 hours. It will come back up. Let's bring in Karen Maginnis and a little bit more about where Irma is, where it's heading, and how strong it is. Hey, Karen.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Michael, yes, there are a lot of interesting dynamics as there has been for days now with Irma. I'm going to stay on this for a little while, but there's just a lot of interest information that we can glean from this radar imagery. First of all, Irma is located just about over Lake Land -- that's between Tampa and Orlando, it's about 25 miles to the south of Lake Land. But what we can see on this radar imagery are some of these really strong bands just about over the central portion of Florida, just to the north of Tampa. What is interesting here is that we're seeing kind of an enhancement of the wind.

So, we were checking the wind conditions right around Daytona Beach, towards Jacksonville, towards Amelia Island, they are very strong. Now, why would that be? Because we've got dry air intrusion, that means the system is not sitting out over the open water so it's not tapping the warm moist -- moisture coming in from the Gulf of Mexico, but it is being enhanced by being picked up, carried over the Atlantic and enhancing some of those storms moving through. Still the risk in this upper right quadrant for the potential for tornadoes, that is one of the most dynamic areas. Now specifically from about Jacksonville all the way towards the cape, that's where we're looking at wind gust between about 60 and close to 75 miles an hour.

Now, what about Tampa? Tampa is interesting, and that the system now lies to the east of Tampa. So, the winds are essentially going out, but eventually, over the next couple of hours, we're watching as the system continues its track towards the north, and it is generally speaking moving north fairly rapidly. That is good news. We want it to move pretty swiftly so that none of these conditions just kind of linger like we saw with Harvey over Texas about 16 days ago. But, in fact, will move on shore and as they do we'll start to see that water come in. It's going to be very dramatic -- not as dramatic as some of the initial kind of computer models were suggesting. But let's give you a different overall perspective of what we're looking at right now.

There, you can see the winds offshore, but as we go through time it starts to shift more towards onshore. So, obviously places from Tampa to Clear Water, to Tarpon Springs, towards New Port Richie, towards Crystal River, they will all see this storm surge as Irma continues its progression towards the north. So, as you can imagine, the longer it stays over land, it will continue to weaken, but that broad field of rainfall is still going to be in position. This is kind of a forecast radar. We go through Monday morning. And by the way, you can imagine that the Tampa International Airport is not going to be in full operation for tomorrow, nor is Miami. Because the Miami International Airport had major water damage, they are closed on Monday, September 11th. They hope to open on maybe a reduced schedule on Tuesday, depending on how much repair they can get done.

[01:05:19] But looking up towards Atlanta, Georgia even into Atlanta, the national weather service is suggesting four to six inches of rainfall, maybe some locally heavier amounts but the wind is going to be pretty tremendous here too. So, this is -- I'm glad that we're on this particular image because I can show you some of those enhanced bands that are coming in off the Atlantic, Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, you're not in the thick of it just yet. But I do think as time goes on, we'll start to see these bands just kind of reach more north ward. So, even into places like Savannah, possibly into Buford, South Carolina, you'll start to see pretty heavy rainfall and the wind is going to pick up.

Partly, because Irma is moving, but partly because we got that enhancement of that moisture wrapped around that northern edge, that the dynamic north upper right quadrant. Here's Tampa right now, as I mentioned, I'll just kind of reinforce that idea that we do have the offshore winds now. But eventually, in the next two hours or so, we'll start to see that shift. And there is high tide: we know the tides across this region are not very dramatic, not like if you were going north, it might five feet or ten feet. And so here, it's roughly a foot, maybe a foot-and-a-half, but our storm surge is going to be one to three feet. So, Michael, this is as you say a lot of low-lying areas here. It has really built up over the years and this is going to be one added troublemaker going into the next couple of hours with that onshore flow.

HOLMES: Yes, it sure is. I mean, it's been -- the city that long has been seen as vulnerable to precisely this sort of storm and this sort of risk of storm surge. And what you say, Karen makes perfect sense. We've been watching the water here next to us going outwards, as you said with those winds. When those winds turn around, that water is going to come inwards -- that's when storm surge comes into play. The risk is there for flooding, for damage to those home -- very expensive homes, by the way -- along the water's edge.

Also, businesses, there's a hospital back there that is low lying as well. Hopefully, not as high a surge as was initially feared when Irma was coming up west of the city out over the water. It has been quite extraordinary here watching the winds build up and those gusts come up 50, 60 miles an hour at times, and the rain has been hammering here. Out in the weather is Stephanie Elam, she is here in Tampa as well. Stephanie, give us a situation of what you've seen on over the last few hours, what you've seen right now.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, right now, Michael, it's sort of picking up a little bit here. As you can probably see, it blew me off a little bit here, as I was standing here to show you just how much the wind and rain are coming through here. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Tampa, and you can see that's a road that runs right along the highway and the water was all the way up normally high. And then, later today -- earlier yesterday, you can see that that water had receded, and people were out there.

So, in some ways, it's almost a blessing coming through at night, and that water's going to return at night because people were so fascinated -- and it is fascinating. But it's just a reminder to people that that is dangerous because, at some point, that water is going to come back. Even if it's not as fast as we thought it might have been before, it could be really, really dangerous, especially with the winds whipping around the way they do. So, you saw a lot of people doing that earlier. But for the most part, the streets are clear, people are not out here, which is a good thing.

We talked to a few people who are staying in high-rises downtown, and they're just going to ride it out. They knew they were going in for a stronger sway higher up, but they were content to do that. As far as (INAUDIBLE) are concerned, 28,000 people in this County, Hillsboro County which Tampa is in are in 45 shelters around the area. They said they still had room but, Michael, obviously, at this point, if you're not there, don't go out. Like, there's no reason to come out here right now. Because, while, I mean, look, like this is a calmer moment it changes on a dime so fast. And right away, you can feel you are kind of taken off your balance by the wind and the rain, so it's not worth coming out here.

It's much better to stay inside, stay with your loved ones and you can check on everything else tomorrow. But as far as things are concerned right now, I can tell you that it's started to feel like it's starting to really pick up here in downtown Tampa with the winds and rains coming around -- the rain coming around. And sometimes it kind of takes your breath away. But yes, so far -- but not as much as we thought it was going to be doing earlier in the night, Michael.

[01:10:08] HOLMES: Yes. Steph, I know exactly what you mean. It just picked up here in the last couple of minutes or so and it's really howling down the river next to us. We appreciate that Stephanie Elam here in Tampa, Florida. We came to Tampa -- what was it? It was early yesterday morning to Tampa from Orlando because we thought that Tampa was going to get hit harder than Orlando. But because of the movement of the storm going inland like it is, Orlando is getting hammered. Bryn Gingrass is there for us no. I was watching you earlier getting knocked around, how is it now?

BRYN GINGRASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I've heard that you don't have to be on the coast to really get hammered by the storm. It's just enormous and covering the state and everyone, really, in its path. And really, right now, we're in the downtown part of Orlando where there are tall buildings and that's just creating wind tunnels where sheets of rain are just coming at us with these strong wind gusts. Now earlier, we had a fraction of what we're experiencing, and I can tell you in the distance we saw a bright blue skylight. Of course, it means, that a transformer blew.

We saw a bunch of emergency vehicles because at that time it was safe for them to go about the street. And when we inquired what they were racing towards, it wasn't that transformer, it was actually someone was in their car and crashed and when emergency vehicles responded that person had died. So, it was one of Orlando's fatalities according to the fire chief here that is a storm. Of course, investigators couldn't really investigate that because of these terrible conditions. But it just goes to show you that it really doesn't take much for this storm to be super dangerous.

And even with Orlando being in the center of the state with people on both coasts coming here to evacuate are certainly being conditions be pretty difficult. I also want to mention here in Orlando, at the convention center, they're housing a thousand of emergency vehicles ready to respond all across the state. And those vehicles coming across the country, but it's going to take a while before this storm to die down before they can get anywhere and see where the damage was from this storm. Back to you.

HOLMES: Yes. And Bryn when we were there the last couple of nights, the city was quite lively, people were out in about, they're enjoying the pubs and the clubs and being quite rowdy at times. What sort of responses has been to the curfew? There's a curfew there, there's a curfew here; people have been told to stay in place until this is well over with. You're seeing it pretty quiet there, I imagine.

GINGRAS: Oh, yes. Well, there was the curfew enacted at 7:00 Eastern Time in Orlando. Everyone was asked to stay off the street. Emergency vehicles were the only ones we were seeing but once the winds got hit 65 miles per hour, those emergency vehicles stopped responding to anything. That's when power outages were starting, and I think people were actually taking warning and just going inside and being in the hotel rooms or the shelters that they came to Orlando for to escape the coast. But certainly, it didn't take much for people to get a little scared. There were some, you know, brave, or I don't know if not very smart people that we saw driving at one point when we saw wind gusts like this, and hopefully they're OK. But other than that, most of the people have heeded the warning.

HOLMES: All right. Bryn, thanks so much. Take care out there. Bryn Gingrass there in Orlando, Florida. Back here in Tampa, it's really picking up at the moment: the rain driving through, the wind driving through. People are being told to stay in place, don't leave your home even when this blows through. People are being told to stay where they are so authorities can get out, assess the damage, and they'll let you know when it's OK to start coming out.

I did read one disturbing report, which is in one county in Florida, Miami-Dade, there have already been nearly 30 arrests from looting and burglary. So, some people taking advantage of the situation here. And people being out of town, of course, 6.5 million people in Florida were told that they should evacuate. How many actually did? We don't know exactly, but 6.5 million in a state of 20 million is considerable, and obviously, some less than honest folks are taking advantage of that. Let's go down to Miami now. Isa Soares is there for us. She's been there throughout all of this. Isa, fill us in on what you've been seeing.

SOARES: And Michael, I was just listening to your conversation with Bryn there, it is incredible just to listen to what she's starting to see, what you're starting to see and what we've been through in the last 24 hours or so. You cannot trust the weather; any moment it basically turns, and we have seen that for ourselves. This is Brickell, this is the financial area here in Miami, and this is the very expensive real estate of Miami. This is where the banks are and what is behind me is a street, Michael, that has been turned into a river. It is starting to die down slightly and to recede some of the waters. But as you can see behind me, there is so much water still on this main road.

[01:15:35] At one point during the day, it was not as high as three feet of water. Coming driving up here from where we were yesterday, trees have been uprooted, so many people without power. It was of three million people in the state of Florida without power. We ourselves have been without power throughout most of the day in our hotel and it's made life impossible for so many people. But at the same time, Michael, I keep being asked: is it safe to go outside? No, it is not. And that is what we keep hearing from authorities.

You have to wait for the green light to come out. Why? One, because there's still so much water outside. Two, as you can see the winds, there's still a strong gust behind me. And with that comes debris, not just from trees ripped from buildings, we've seen from our correspondents throughout the day. They've been reporting pieces of buildings, debris from buildings have been falling as well as scaffolding from some of the buildings. Now, we'll have much more on the damages here on Miami Beach after a very short break. Do stay right here with CNN.


KATE RILEY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kate Riley with your CNN WORLD SPORT headlines. Rafa Nadal has won his 16th grand slam title after winning the U.S. final in straight sets on Sunday. The Spaniard beat his South African opponent, Kevin Anderson, who is making a start cover, appearing to the grand slam final. The world number one, served up a winner as at 117 miles per hour to walk away with match and championship. Nadal wins this one: 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. And that means Samantha Majorca is now just three behind Federer for the number of grand slam title.

It's been a historically candid fight for Chris Froome, becoming the first person to win the Vuelta Espana. Froome completed this triumph through the heart of Central Madrid on Sunday. He defeated four-time and grand tour winner, Vicenzo Nibali, by two minutes and 15 seconds. He also becomes the first biker to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same season behind (INAUDIBLE) and he did that back in 1978.

[01:20:09] And history was made on Sunday when Bibiana Steinhaus became the first ever woman to referee a top-flight match Bundesliga. The 38-year-old police officiated the fixture Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen. She's been taking charge of games and generally (INAUDIBLE) over the course of the last decade and on her own Women's World Cup and Champions League Finals. And the game finish in a one all draw. And that's a look at all of your sports headline. I'm Kate Riley.

SOARES: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of Hurricane Irma. I'm Isa Soares, and you are joining me in Miami. I'm actually in Brickell -- this is the financial portion here of Miami. And at not one point during the day when, really, the hurricane, when Irma was plowing through here, the water was as high as pretty much three feet, it was about up to your waste. As you can see, it's receded somewhat, and many people here are thankful the damage hasn't been as bad as some expected. But of course, they need -- the officials still need to assess some of the damage.

Let me show you some video, though, of some of the worst damage as we have seen throughout the day here in Miami. Take a look at this. Streets practically covered in flood waters, which is very much what we're seeing here. Miami being battered with powerful winds as well as heavy rains. And this is some of the look, the first look at some of the damage. Take a look at this dramatic video we're about to show you. The moment -- this is the moment a roof was ripped off, yes, ripped off a two-story apartment building downtown.

And then, this construction crane really couldn't withstand the strong winds; it collapsed onto the high-rise beneath it, and the cranes were a huge problem here in Miami. Some about 20 cranes that were still standing, and they couldn't take down because it would've taken about seven days to actually take down. So, they were kept, they were tightened, but of course, some of them could not withstand some of those strong winds. Let's get more now -- Derek Van Dam was with me throughout the day yesterday, and he was being battered from all sides by the rain and the wind and he joins me from Miami Beach. Derek, give me a sense, and our viewers a sense of the damage in Miami Beach.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we're on Pinetree Drive in Miami Beach, Isa, and we definitely felt the hurricane force winds within this area, category one. But we definitely only got a glancing blow from Hurricane Irma's extreme power. We know that the keys were hit exceptionally hard. We know Marco Island, for instance, and as it continues to raise north across the peninsula. But still, some damage here to talk about -- a lot of down trees, a lot of down power lines, stuff you would expect with a category one hurricane or impacts from a category one.

Now, there are over 850,000 customers that are without power just in Miami-Dade County alone, that's 79 percent of the people who live within this particular area that have electrical power -- electricity from that region. It's incredible, because the reason why we don't have power here is because of trees like this that continue to fall on power lines taking down the electricity. But it's not only the concerns for the police officers and the fire officials that are out scouring the street at the moment, they also are worried about looting -- and that's a concern as well.

There's a heavy police presence rooming the street of Miami Beach right now because without electricity, there simply aren't any alarms to keep the buildings safe, especially with the mandatory evacuation. There is no security personnel on sight and no people, quite frankly. Also, another concerned that we were talking to some of the city financials about, there's the potential for gas leaks here. There have been significant gas leaks in the few different locations, and unfortunately, they can't turn the electricity back on in Miami Beach until these gas leaks are actually fixed and capped.

So, that could be days before they'd do, because they're going to deal with it, and a lot of the utility companies can't smell or hear the gas leak because the winds are still so strong -- gusting at 45 miles per hour. Now, I have the opportunity to interview the mayor of Miami Beach a little bit earlier this evening and this is what he had to say about Irma's glancing blow to the city.


PHILIP LEVINE, MAYOR OF MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: I think Miami Beach did relatively well. I mean, those were some very strong winds. Thank God, our pumps held, our roads did very well, and we had very minimal flooding, especially in the areas that we approved for our sea level projects. Power lines down, you'll see branches and trees and all different roads across the city. We've maintained our curfew, no one's allowed to be out past 8:00 at night. And of course, no one can come back to Miami Beach for at least a day or so -- we haven't decided yet. Tomorrow morning, we have crews coming in at 6:00 a.m., major emergency recovery crews, they're going to start clearing out all our roads to make sure that we can get back on our feet as fast as possible.


[01:25:29] VAN DAM: Isa, this is a very wealthy neighborhood that I'm standing in right now. In fact, the house where this tree fell over on the fence in the front portion of this person's yard is about $2 million. But you know, maybe a glancing blow for these individuals, a couple of days of cleaning up before they get themselves back on their feet. We have to really think about the people who are a little less fortunate than this with the complete widespread destruction that they've seen, again, across of Florida Keys and into parts of the western peninsula of Florida, Isa.

SOARES: Absolutely. And I've heard your interview there with the mayor of Miami Beach, Derek, and Miami Dade. We know that officials will be coming out on the streets at 5:00 in the morning to really assess the damage, and also start picking up some of those trees, these down trees. Thanks very much, Derek Van Dam in Miami Beach. We'll touch base with you a bit later.

And Michael so, really, what we're starting to see here in Miami is the water starting to recede, and the damage -- trying to assess the damage. And thankfully, Michael, it isn't as bad as many were anticipating. Nevertheless, many still without power, thousands of people without power here in Miami. And that means that you just have to wait a bit longer before you can return to your homes before you can get that green light, that's still crucial because the winds are still strong. And of course, with water still here in the main motor way, it becomes very, very dangerous indeed. Michael.

HOLMES: It certainly does, Isa, thanks for that. And we'll get back to you in a moment. It's interesting, Isa, talking to people without power. That number is now approaching four million without power in this state -- an extraordinary number. It's going to be days. There's a lot of utility crews headed down from out of states, from as far as away as the Carolinas to help out down here. But it could be and there have been warnings from officials, it could be weeks for some people before they get the power back on, hopefully, days but it could be weeks.

The rain has really been picking up here in the last little while. It's the (INAUDIBLE) in the last few seconds, but was just coming straight at us, horizontal, the wind picking up. Not far from here: Clear Water, Florida, that's where our Ryan Young has been reporting from. And I wanted to play you some video that he recorded earlier. Let's listen to that.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're just south of the airport. I'm just depending on where I stand. You see how the wind is just crossing from left to right, that is circling around us. That is the biggest (INAUDIBLE). We can actually -- some parts of roof tiles flying by us. And we've seen some billboards at this point succumb to the wind. As I lean forward, you can hear just how powerful the winds just are. We've seen 80-mile-per-hour winds. And now, we're getting another strong gust. It seems like no matter what we do, it gets a little tougher. You've got to spread your feet, though, it's all good.

For the most part, though, we've been tremendously safe and most people have gotten off the roads. In fact, we haven't seen a car on the road ways for about an hour and a half now. So, it seems like people realize the worst of the storm may be coming in this direction at this point, and they're beating it by staying inside. The last few things I'll mention is people in this area were worried about flooding, because it does flood even in the best time when it's just a regular strong rainfall, and that is something that people are concerned about in these late hours. The idea that there could be some serious pounding in the morning.


[01:29:05] HOLMES: Ryan Young there, in Clear Water, Florida, not too far from us here in Tampa, which is being hammered at the moment by Hurricane Irma as it makes its way north, fortunately, overland which is causing it to weaken but it's still pretty severe. I can tell you, there were trees bending, the rain is driving and the wind is howling. We're going to take a short break. We will be right back, though, with more coverage of Hurricane Irma. Stay with us.


[01:32:58] MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN's continuing coverage of Hurricane Irma. We are in Tampa, Florida.

I want to take you out to Daytona Beach. Sara Sidner is there.

Sara, I'm told you're getting absolutely hammered there. Tell us what's going on.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The winds are incredibly strong. It's the strongest winds we have seen since we have been here on the beach throughout this entire event. Irma's winds are slapping the beach air really, really hard. I'm having a hard time even talking to you because the wind is pushing me on the -- so hard. Concrete wall just below me. We are standing on the first floor of the Hilton Hotel here. Not far away, at Daytona Beach, I have to tell you, Michael, no one here was expecting the wind to be this strong. They were not forecasted to necessarily get this high. At the worst of it, we're told we could get category 1 storm. And you think that those winds are low when you consider that it wasn't a 3 or 4, it may not. It is an incredibly amount of wind for a human being to stand up in. I'm a strong big lady and it is definitely hard to stand straight up here because of the windshield. (INAUDIBLE) -- for quite a while. We've already seen some damage here in Daytona Beach as we watch the winds pass by ripping plywood off the side of buildings. They were trying to save their windows. We've seen --(INAUDIBLE) -- go flying, lamp shades go flying. This is quite a storm here on Daytona Beach. We are not anywhere near the eye. The eye made landfall on the other coast more than 200 miles away, and yet we're starting to get incredibly strong bands of wind.

Here on Daytona Beach, I want to mention one more thing, Michael that's important. Within this storm, south of us, about an hour's drive some 60 miles, we are told by the management folks that they have two tornadoes that are confirmed to have touched down in Brevard County. Two tornadoes touched down there. They had some 40 tornadoes warnings, meaning the conditions were right for tornadoes. So in these petty heavy winds there are some that were strong enough to have tornadic winds. It is an incredible scene, as you look out on the beach, the water is coming up on the boardwalk that everybody loves here in Daytona. But, Michael, we had not seen winds like this. We are told by CNN's Meteorologist Department that the worst of it is yet to come. We've got a couple more hours before the worst of the storm hits us -- Michael?

[01:36:16] HOLMES: Sara, I can't see the pictures where I am here in Tampa but it sounds like an extraordinary scene where you are. Do take care. We will check in with you a little bit later.

Sara mentioning tornadoes. There have been a lot of tornado warnings throughout the state as this storm has passed through.

Isa Soares, in Miami, back to you.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much Michael. Yes, just listening to Sara, I couldn't see it either, but I could visualize and feel the feel of that -- of those wind gusts because we, too, have felt it here.

Let's get more from Karen Maginnis.

Karen, give us a sense of where Irma is now, the path it's taking and whether it has shifted.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Isa and Michael, it makes me so afraid for Sara. It was frightening to see the wind blow her around. And she is not near the eye of the hurricane. And I will explain why they are picking up such high winds.

I want to point out some of the wind gusts we have here. We saw Ryan in Clearwater, they had a wind gust around 60 miles per hour. All around Tampa Bay area, the winds have been gusting around 55 to 75 miles an hour. But I want to get over here because it took my breath away to see Sara out in such horrific conditions. The only thing that I can personally compare it to is when you go sky diving and you make that leap from the airplane, just that blast of wind that hits you in the face. And there's nothing you can do about it. There's nothing else that feels like that. That's what it looked like for Sara out in the elements.

Here is why we're seeing such strong wind now. One, it's part of the upper-right quadrant where we see the most dynamic force. Now something had added to it, and that is dry air. That sounds counter intuitive but, in fact, along the southern edge of Irma, there's starting to be dry air. This is picking up the moisture. There's some subsidence and that's pushing that air down towards the surface. There's such a force that that's the kind of thing. Its enhancing it, if anything. Most of Irma is over land. We do have outer bans out over the Atlantic Ocean, also the Gulf of Mexico.

One of the other things that we need to understand, we've been talking about it for hours. My colleague, Tom Sater, was talking about it earlier and Chad Myers, and that is there is going to be a high tide for Tampa. Those are usually about two to three feet. That occurs in the morning about 4:00 or 6:00 in the morning. And we'll see the wind shift. When that wind shifts and it moves on shore, for Tampa Bay and Clearwater, St. Pete and Tarpon Springs and New Port Richey and Crystal River, you're going to see a storm surge. As been advised all along, as we take a look at Irma, the varying amounts of storm surge are, at this point, expected to be about three feet or so. But now that we've got the dry air intrusion along the southern edge, almost anything can happen now. It isn't just that northeastern quadrant of Florida, but also we're looking at some of the heavy rainfall moving in across Jacksonville, into Buford, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia, maybe near Charleston, South Carolina. Heavy rainfall expected around Atlanta. And in Miami, there was so much rain that they have had water damage done at the airport. They are closed September 11th. And it looks like they may reopen on limited basis on Tuesday. That's yet to be seen.

But here, take a look at this. This kind of verifies what I was saying. The forecast rainfall through Tuesday, right around that Jacksonville area, also between Valdosta towards Daytona, that's where we're looking at significant rainfall. How much? Could see 10 to 20 inches of rainfall. Now, 20 inches might be an outlier. But compared to what we've seen over the last couple of hours, maybe not so much. But there's still tropical storm watches out. They've closed the schools around the Atlanta, Georgia, area.

All I can say is I hope Sara takes some precautions because that was one of the most frightening things that I have seen all day.

Isa, back to you.

[01:41:17] SOARES: Yes, Karen we hope she stays safe. What we've learned, haven't we, Karen, in the last few days is this hurricane is so unpredictable.

Karen Maginnis for us. Thank so much, Karen. We'll touch base with you throughout the hour.

We'll have much more on our breaking news coverage of Hurricane Irma. Stay right here with CNN.


SOARES: Hello. I'm Isa Soares. And you're watching CNN's continuing coverage of Hurricane Irma.

I'm here in Miami, where the damage, many officials are saying, the mayor has been saying, it hasn't been as bad as many were predicting. Nevertheless, roads have been turned into rivers. Although the water is now receded and trees have been uprooted, what we have seen so far is nothing compared really to what Hurricane Irma did to the Caribbean where 26 people have died.

I want to show you this video coming from Cuba. We know the recovery efforts now are beginning in Cuba. That's after the monster storm -- I think it's fair we can call it monster storm -- made landfall there on Friday night. Part of the fence that surrounds the compound there was knocked over by Irma's powerful winds. And then listen to this. Waves were so high, up to 36 feet high, or 11 meters, that businesses along Seaside Drive Sunday morning is part of what we've been talking about, that lingering storm surge. Areas of the city flooded. Many residences have been using boats to get around. We know, have seen and heard from Patrick Oppmann in the street there, who has been battered from all sides, holding onto rails and even had to hide inside a closet with his cameramen because of the power of Irma.

I want to bring in the one of the guests we have been speaking to in the last 24 hours. His name is Craig Cooper. He's the national spokesman from the Red Cross.

Craig, great to hear from you. Good morning to you.

[01:46:39] CRAIG COOPER, NATIONAL SPOKESMAN, RED CROSS (via telephone): Thank you.

SOARES: You and I spoke three or four hours ago, in preparation -- in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Give us a sense of how it's played out for you and your team.

COOPER: One of the good things about preparation and the way the Red Cross has staged its assets for this storm is all of the uncertainty and all of the changes in the track of the storm, we have brought -- as we talked about 24 hours ago, over a thousand Red Cross volunteers are on the ground in Orlando and other parts of the state waiting to get the green light to move into the communities affected by the storm. We have 2,000 of our red-and-white response vehicles. We've strategically located them in a way that, once we knew where the storm was going to hit, we'd be able to get there, but also to keep them out of harm's way. A lot of our assets are on standby waiting for daylight, waiting for the word that the roads are passable. As soon as we know where we need to get our vehicles and our people, we'll be moving them down into those communities.

SOARES: Yes, the question that many ask, in particular here in Miami, is how long do I have to wait, Craig, before I can make my way home. One gentleman we were speaking to today says he popped over to his house from the hotel to see if he still had power, and he did. It's incredible that people are still taking these risks.

What are you telling your employees?

COOPER: Well, that's the key thing. The question is, how long can we wait and when can we go. We're waiting for the same go-ahead from the public authorities, from the government offices of emergency management to tell us the road is clear and it's safe to get back in. We don't have an issue getting into neighborhoods if power is out. We need to make sure roads are not flooded and we have to make sure we're not doing harm or interfering with first responders or anything else. Most of our concern at this point is over to the west coast where we know the neighborhoods have been more heavily affected than they are here in Miami. And of course, we've had evacuation centers and facilities open with Red Cross volunteers and other people now for several nights. In fact, last night meeting, Saturday night, we had 130,000 people in over 500 shelters in six states. 127,000 people were in Florida alone.

[01:49:20] SOARES: Yes. Yes, it is astounding when you put the figures out there to give us a sense of what's happening, Craig. I'm glad everyone's safe. Like you said in your first answer, you know, you prepare for a reason. You make preparations and prepare for the worst and you really hope for the best.

Craig, I appreciate you speaking to us on the line. Thank you, Craig. We'll touch base with you in the next few hours.

You are watching CNN's continuing coverage of Hurricane Irma. Much more for you after a very short break. Stay right here with CNN.



HOLMES: Welcome back to CNN's continuing coverage of Hurricane Irma as it makes its way north, right through the heart of Florida. I'm Michael Holmes, here in Tampa, where we are getting pretty hammered by Irma at the moment. High winds and horizontal rain at times pouring into this city, which is susceptible to storm surge. That's their big fear here even as Hurricane Irma weakens.

Bill Weir was out in Key Largo. The Florida Keys, where hard-hit by the storm. Made landfall there. He was in Key Largo last week. Went to a bar called Snapper. Hung out with the people there. Got to know them. He went back today and found what happened to that place as Irma went through.


[01:54:44] BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm about to show you something that has shaken me unlike anything I have seen in 25 years of reporting and eight other hurricanes. Thursday night, I stood right here and interviewed the owner of a bar called Snappers and a bunch of very festive Key West residents who were debating whether to evacuate or stay. Peter, at that time, was determined to stay, holed up inside his bar. He changed his mind. Good thing he did. Because it is completely gone. Look at this. Gone. The entire bar. Right here, where I sat and had shrimp tacos with my crew after a live shot and hung out with these amazingly warm gracious people. It's gone. It's been shoved up by the storm surge into the side of the fence of the neighboring businesses here.

This was the bar. You can see they tried to board it up with plywood, but the storm, winds blew through it. And then, inside the restaurant, shoved everything up against the western wall of this place.

And your heart just breaks. Peter, the owner of this place, I just left him a voice mail. One of his employees told me he had AAA insurance. I hope that's the case because this is a total write-off.

You can see these were slips for jet skis that have been shoved up, blown into the restaurant.

This was a hugely popular place on the Atlantic side of Key Largo. An institution for many years. Peter is from the Netherlands. He bought it a couple of years ago, expanded it.

But if this is a sample of what we'll find in Key West, you know, paradise, southern paradise of the United States, as we know it, has fundamentally changed.


HOLMES: Absolutely extraordinary, isn't it, to see it.

That is the end of our coverage for this hour. For Isa Soares, in Miami, I'm Michael Holmes, in Tampa.

We will be back after the break with more coverage of Hurricane Irma. Do stay with us.