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Tropical depression Irma batters southern U.S.; Charleston, South Carolina downtown under flash flood emergency; Irma downed thousands of trees, flooded roads in Miami; Delta cancels 1,100 flights in Atlanta due to Irma; Irma leaves destruction, flooding across Florida; Macron Heads to Irma-Damaged St. Martin, St. Bart's; Theresa May's Parliamentary Win on Brexit; U.N. Passes New Sanctions Against North Korea Amid Threats. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired September 12, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are watching CNN's continuing coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
I'm Michael Holmes with you live from Tampa in Florida.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm George Howell, live in Atlanta, Georgia where it is still raining. We're still feeling the effects from this storm. We have a great deal to cover for you this hour.
HOLMES: That's right, George. Plenty to talk about tropical depression Irma weakening now, but still packing a punch as it travels further north.
Downtown Charleston, South Carolina now under a flashflood emergency. Waters in the harbor peaking at nearly 10 feet or about 3 meters high. One storm-related death reported in that state.
At least three storm-related deaths also reported in Georgia. The flooding in Savannah forcing officials to temporarily shut down a highway leading to Tybee Island. But Irma has carved a path of destruction here in Florida where one storm-related death is being reported.
People in Jacksonville experiencing historic storm surge levels and flooding. And the only road that connects the Florida Keys is still closed. An estimated 10,000 people who stayed there to ride out the storm may need to be evacuated. But the city managers say there are no plans to evacuate anyone at the moment.
That's it for me here in Tampa for the moment. Back to you George in Atlanta.
HOWELL: Michael, thank you. Again, as I mentioned, it is still raining here in Atlanta. It all started in the morning. We started to feel those strong winds pushing through the city. We also saw flooding throughout this region.
You talk about cities like Savannah, you talk about Tybee island and Charleston South Carolina. I want to point this out. Charleston dealing with a flashflood emergency this hour that was just activated a short time ago. We will have a little more on that here in just a few minutes.
The situation at the airports, the world's busiest airport right here in Atlanta, Georgia, look at this image here, not so busy, in this case, because of so many flight cancellations and delays. Delta Airlines based here in Atlanta canceled more than 900 of its flights and also Southwest Airlines canceling all of its flights due to dangerous winds that were crossing through that airport complex.
Take a look at this. This image from FlightAware that gives you a sense of what's described as the misery factor. And you see that Atlanta there, front and center with that; also, the airports in Florida.
The Florida airport is expected to resume normal flight patterns tomorrow - partial flight patterns, but again it will take some time for people to find flights that they can get on because there have been so many cancellations and delays.
Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is following this story. And, Pedram, of course, the thing we just pointed out, in Charleston, South Carolina, they're dealing with a real situation right now.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. It's incredible too because at no point they were more than just a few 100 miles to this storm system as far as proximity.
But you take a look, the storm itself, the center of it, what is left of it, moving its way to the state of Alabama. But on the southern periphery of this, back to the east, that's where we're getting thunderstorms that are pushing off of the Atlantic Coast right towards Charlton. Of course, the wind-driven water also coming on with this. so, you factor in the tidal influence of a walkover here.
We're talking about a flash flood emergency taking place across this region, but the good news, the lone piece of good news to tell you about, tropical depression Irma on its last breath right now, running into some very cool and dry Canadian air coming in from the north.
You notice on satellite imagery here, completely begins to fall apart here. So, we're getting to see the storm finally run out of steam, run out of energy, but not before it left behind an average of 6.5 inches of rainfall across the State of Florida.
What does that all mean? Well, that's about 7.5 trillion gallons of water that fell from the skies across the State of Florida, 11 million Olympic pools is what that equates to. Another way to look at it that for every single person living in Florida, about 300,000 gallons of water fell from the sky.
So, again, talks about the sheer volume of water this storm had to work with, left behind some 40 river gauges that are now reporting some flooding across this region and, of course, widespread power outages across multiple states. That 6.5 million customers without power across the State of Florida is the single highest power outage associated with a weather event in US history coming in at that number.
Now, we know the storm made landfall Sunday morning as a Category 4 just 16 days after Harvey made landfall as a category 4. That has never happened in US history, of having two Category 4s make landfall in one season.
Another Category 3 landfall made across Marco Island. That particular landfall right in line the exact latitude and longitude as Hurricane Wilma.
[02:05:02] Underneath of (ph) Tampa, that really set the stage here for getting that onshore flow, significant storm surge damage. And, of course, on the other side of the storm, into parts of Jacksonville and Charleston where we had record amount of flooding take place as well on the storm that pushed on into the southern United States.
But how about almost 6 feet storm surge in Jacksonville? Records there have been kept since 1846. That had never happened before.
Savannah River, 12.5 or 12.25-feet storm surge, second highest all time. Into Charleston, where we have the flashflood emergency in place, 10-foot storm surge, third all-time highest water levels. And, of course, if you look back in the Atlantic, this was a storm the models had written all over of being a significant potential for the United States.
Initially, it went from a Category 1 to a Category 3. Completely skipped the Category 2 status. That is strengthening so quickly. Worked its way toward Barbuda, Anguilla, eventually to the Turks and Caicos, the strongest storm they'd ever seen make landfall there as a Category 5.
The Cuba category 5 landfall was the strongest storm they've seen since 1924.
So, this storm left its mark across a wide-reaching area. And you take a look at this, George, when you're looking at what occurred on satellite imagery, from what places such as Tortola, St. John's, St. Thomas left with the greenery to what it looks like right now, essentially all of the vegetation has been not only uprooted and displaced, but a lot of ocean spray here. A lot of salt water really damaging any sort of potential growth inside the next few years across some of these islands, George.
HOWELL: Wow, wow. Just when you think about how strong, how big this storm was and the fact that it made such a big impact there, impact that will last, as you point out, for many years.
Pedram, thank you so much.
A great deal of devastation, especially throughout the Caribbean and throughout Florida. And Michael Holmes there in Tampa. Michael, a lot of damage to talk about, but certainly people there breathing a sigh of relief because it could have been much, much worse there.
HOLMES: Yes. Here in Tampa, absolutely. You are right, George. When Irma was making that track and looked for a while like the eye would stay offshore and go to the west of Tampa, there was a lot of fear that the wind circulation would push a major storm surge into a city that is famously vulnerable to precisely that.
It's long been feared that something like Irma would cause a disastrous storm surge here in Tampa because a lot of the areas that have been built on a low lying. There is a lot of coastal area because the water stretches well inside the city.
The mayor told me a couple of nights ago, he feared this would be a major punch to the face - is the words he used - for Tampa. Fortunately, for Tampa, of course, Irma headed inland and east of here rather than west and the storm surge never really eventuated.
There was a lot of damage done in certain parts of the city, but nowhere near what it could have been. So, you're absolutely right.
I want to bring in Derek Van Dam now who's been covering the areas down around Miami Beach and the like. And when we talk about storm surge that did not really happen here, it certainly happened where you are.
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Michael. We were not spared from storm surge here in Miami. In fact, Irma responsible for thrusting the ocean from the Atlantic into the Biscayne Bay region.
We are in the bay (INAUDIBLE) marina region near Coconut Grove. Several marinas dot this landscape here. But what you're looking at behind me is some of the worst destruction that these marinas have seen in 12 years.
Do the math. That's 2005. We all know that's an infamous year for hurricanes - Katrina, Wilma to name a few. Really astounding to see what's happening, but there's some personal stories here that are quite astounding as well.
We talked to an individual who works at this marina, told us about some of these sailboats that you see directly behind me that have been pushed or washed ashore.
These are actually part of a nonprofit organization that was started here that actually takes children out into the ocean, teaches them how to sail, life-building lessons. Well, unfortunately there are - three of the nine sailboats that they use are unaccounted for, six of which are still onshore here, are completely ruined, without a doubt. (INAUDIBLE) couple more sailboats (INAUDIBLE) that only have the mast visible on the top part of the water.
So, really Hurricane Irma combining her 150-kilometer-per-hour winds here, plus the tidal surge that came in tossing around these luxury yachts and sailboats like they were toys and basically depositing them right on the shoreline and even on the concrete jetty and dock behind me. Michael? HOLMES: Derek, quite a scene that. And a lot of people with their dreams smashed there. That's for sure.
Derek Van Dam, thanks so much. Appreciate it. And, George, the storm surge is quite a thing when it does happen. Of course, in hurricanes, more people die from water than they do from wind.
[02:10:01] HOWELL: Storm surge is exactly what we're going to talk about here next in Jacksonville, Florida, Michael. Storm surge historic there.
And Ed Dean with radio station WBOB joins us now to tell us more about that. Ed, good to have you on the line with us today. First of all, tell us what was it like when you saw that storm surge?
ED DEAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, WBOB: Well, kind of like what Michael said. That storm surge, which was projected to be around in some of the Naples area and Tampa Bay, it seems like Jacksonville got it.
It was predicted to only be about a 2 meter, 2.5, George, about a storm surge. It turned into what was reported by the National Weather Service a Category 5, almost around 5.5, 6 feet of water, of storm surge that came through. It was expected, but not expected to that height, George.
HOWELL: One thing people always wonder, how do you prepare for something like that, especially if you're living in one of the lower- lying areas. So, do you get a sense that people did try to evacuate, that they did try to prepare as best as possible, given all the warnings about storm surge and the strength of the storm?
DEAN: Well, they were told to evacuate in many of the areas with low- lying areas. And, George, this is nothing new. This has been around for years, especially covering this. They knew they were going to get a storm surge, but nothing of this height out there.
They were warned that the waters were coming, they were told by almost five days in advance, go to a higher shelter, it's all taken care of. And a lot of people just felt when they saw the slope, when they saw the cone there, when it was going a little bit further west that maybe that they would be deprived of all the nonsense of what the weather and all the big storms - and with that northeastern coming down, it was the wave of the north (INAUDIBLE), they got smacked pretty hard.
Again, it has been flooding in some of the areas. It's not new. But having at this magnitude was totally something that they should have been prepared for, but they were not.
HOWELL: And I want to ask our director just to show again all the video just for our viewers to get a sense of exactly how bad this is. Just look at this video. And when you think about the damage from this storm that passed through, how long do you think it'll take for people to get back to a sense of normalcy?
DEAN: George, they're talking up here in Jacksonville (INAUDIBLE) statewide, but they're talking in Jacksonville, it could be a week to a week and a half. As you know, as you guys have been reporting, it could be weeks now in South Florida.
It's going to be very interesting debate. By the way, George, just for the audience out there, if you look at a map at the State of Florida, the St. Johns River, outside the Nile River, is the only river that flows northward.
So, St. Johns is called the river city. You've got the ocean within about 15 minutes. You've got the St. Johns, which the city is on. And that creates the perfect storm because it comes in one area in the north; and when the southerly winds came in, it blew a lot of that on to the city and it created a lot of havoc.
And, of course, they had issued this morning at daytime around 7 am - excuse me, yesterday morning, what they call, emergency flood warning issue and we reported that it is coming. And I think, again, you go to 2.5 feet that was predicted that came through last year. This time around 5.5 feet. Totally caught everybody off-guard.
HOWELL: One other thing that's going to be a big issue. And as people start driving back, as they start heading back into those parts of the city that have been impacted so badly, what advice would you tell people from what you're seeing right now? Will it be easy for people to get back in? Will it take some time for officials to give the all clear there?
DEAN: Well, you know what, George, it's really interesting. We have all as news guys have covered storms. We always say we learn from the previous lesson.
What do those people say? Oh, George, we learned from the previous lesson and that. I don't know how many more lessons that people should take. This was pretty much over the last one of the - the last year hurricane Matthew and also the ones that I covered in 2004, eight storms had hit the State of Florida.
People should have been ready for this. Even - forget the wind for a second. Some of the winds got up to around almost 90 miles per hour. It was the storm surge - everybody knows you live in a low-lying flood area, they should have gone to a higher area. And a lot of individuals just got caught.
I think they probably would have sat back and said, OK, this water would have rescinded. This also should tell, George, by the way, many municipalities here in the State of Florida where I am born and raised that you live in low-lying areas that maybe some of the storm drainage - some of this has got to be taken care of.
But then, again, George, a lot of this has to do with mother nature. If this was something that was unprecedented that caught a lot of people off-guard, this is going to be a real interesting conversation over the months to come.
HOWELL: Radio station WBOB in Jacksonville, Florida, thank you so much for taking time on the line with us today.
So, again, this storm still pushing north. It could affect some nine other states with a great deal of rain and winds, Michael, that we even saw here at Atlanta, picked up really strong gusts throughout the day.
[02:15:06] HOLMES: Yes. I hope that you guys check on my house, George. I have no idea what is going on there. We are still down here in Florida. You make a great point.
Irma, of course, is no longer a hurricane. It hasn't been for a while, but it is ending life with a bang in South Carolina. Downtown Charleston facing widespread and dangerous flooding.
And also, tens of thousands of people without power in Savannah, Georgia. And some of the city's historic streets are now under water. One official, though, says it's not as bad as he expected. We will have that and much more when we come back right here on CNN.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. Irma is getting weaker, but it has left destruction and devastation in its way. It is now a tropical depression that is affecting at least nine US states.
There were three storm-related deaths in Georgia and a man was killed by a large tree branch in South Carolina.
Downtown Charleston under a flash flood emergency. Irma flooded streets there, turning them into rivers.
Got some time lapse to show you now and you can see the water coming up to about knee level. But in other areas, the water was as high as around 10 feet or 3 meters or so.
[02:20:02] All right. Let's go now to George Howell standing by in Atlanta, Georgia, where it has been wet and windy, George.
HOWELL: And remains wet and windy. A little less rain right now, but, again, the rain comes and goes. A lot worse earlier in the day. Atlanta and this part of the United States are certainly feeling this storm as it pushes up north.
Talk about flooding, though. Flooding in Savannah, Georgia; flooding in Tybee Island; and Chatham County, Georgia. That's where I spoke earlier with Catherine Glasby. She is the public information officer with Chatham County. And I asked her about the situation there this night and through the next day or so.
CATHERINE GLASBY, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, CHATHAM COUNTY: Things are actually improving here. We've been out of the weather for a while. Our tide, while high tonight at 9.2, was not a major tide, even though we were kind of expecting a 10. That was much less than that. That helps us out a lot.
We did receive a lot of flooding in our islands and coastal and low- lying areas from storm surge and heavy rain. And we did have some wind damage as far as like falling down branches and some trees have come down, power lines down, those types of things. But it, certainly, isn't as bad as we were expecting a couple of days ago.
HOWELL: Explain to us how the moon would play into this. This king tide, that was a big concern there.
GLASBY: We did have an exceptionally high tide with the storm surge. We actually had a 4.7-foot surge, so that made - at the Fort Pulaski gauge, it was at 12.24 today around 12:30. So, that is exceptionally high. That that did cause a lot of problems out on Tybee Island and into Wilmington Island, Isle of Hope, Burnside Island. Those things that are coastal areas.
HOWELL: Catherine, so there is a curfew in effect this night, correct? Explain to us how long that curfew will remain in effect. And what do you tell residents, those who want to come back into those neighborhoods, those communities, given that there is damage?
GLASBY: Right. And we respect that everybody wants to get back in to look at their property. That's important.
But we do have a curfew in place from 11 PM last night into 6:00 AM this morning. And the reason that we have done that is because we don't really want people moving around the county in the dark. We are still being affected by having power outages. We still have at least 70,000 residents that don't have power right now.
Georgia Power is working on that. And, of course, they're amazing and awesome and have actually restored a lot of our power, but we do have dark areas. So, there are trees down, there are lines down. We don't want anyone to get hurt.
So, we have asked everybody to stay put for the night. And as far as coming back into the county, we'll make announcements about that tomorrow. But, again, we have to secure the county first.
We need to make sure that everything is OK for people to come back. We need to inspect roads and bridges. We need to make sure that those power lines aren't in the road and people aren't going to run over them. Those types of things. So, that's why we've asked everybody to stay put right now and we will get everybody back in as soon as we can.
HOWELL: That was Catherine Glasby again with Chatham County, telling us about the situation there. I want to update our viewers around the world again about the world's busiest airport here at Atlanta, Georgia.
We're getting this regarding Delta Airlines that it canceled 1,100 flights on Monday. A lot of travelers in a bad state of affairs, so many cancellations. But, again, looking to resume operations in the next day or so. Resuming operations slowly.
This is mainly due to the strong winds that cross that airport complex. But, again, Delta Airlines on Monday canceling 1,100 flights because of this storm.
So, Michael, again, a great impact when you think about how much traffic passes through the Atlanta airport and how many people, for instance, in the Caribbean are looking to get back to the States, but until these major airports in Atlanta and in Florida get back to normal operations, it is going to take some time for them.
HOLMES: Yes, indeed. It is. You and I both know how busy that Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is in Atlanta. And to be canceling that many flights, that just has a knock-on effect all around the country really and indeed the world. A lot of flights coming in from overseas.
George, thanks so much. Florida, of course, facing the daunting task of having now to recover from this monster storm. Earlier, I spoke with Jack Seiler, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, and began by asking him what the priorities are.
JACK SEILER, MAYOR OF FORT LAUDERDALE: For our part of this day, we've got to, obviously, dry out a little bit. We got a fair amount of rain from a very, very big and bad and very, very broad storm.
[02:25:09] But we are in a phase right now where we are dealing with trying to complete our assessment and we've actually now been out of the storm for about a full day. But our area being just a rather large urban area - Greater Fort Lauderdale has almost 2 million people.
We just are in the process of finalizing our assessment in terms of power lines, street lights, a lot of sand that got moved across on to the barrier island and lot of trees that snapped.
We actually were doing a tree assessment and we had over 100 trees blocking roads at various places. And so, it's a significant storm. So, whether we escaped the brunt or not, we're feeling the aftereffects.
HOLMES: Yes. Clearing roads, I think is described by a lot of people as, yes, a very obvious thing, but a real priority. If you don't have clear roads, you can't get emergency and assessment vehicles around, just the basics of infrastructure.
And also, power, of course, we were talking about before it, it could be weeks. It's going to be such a massive job. I think 5 million people still without power in this state. How long do you see the recovery be?
SEILER: Obviously, its phases of recovery because, from a short-term standpoint, we can clear the sand off the road, from a short-term standpoint, we can get the debris out of the road.
Now, you get into the longer-term things and you touched on one, and you are 100 percent correct. The power issue. We've got in Broward County, hundreds of thousands lost power. We already had some people get their power restored. I was surprised I'm getting calls throughout Fort Lauderdale of people since this morning saying, hey, I got my power back or I get a text we got our power back.
So, Florida Power & Light is apparently working around the clock - and we appreciate that - to get the power back. But there are phases of recovery.
If anybody tells you that you recover from a storm of this magnitude in a short period of time, they are not being accurate, they are not being truthful because this is a phased recovery and we'll take care of some of the smaller things, the opening the roads, the debris clean-up, traffic signals, but this community took a pretty good punch.
And while we're going to be fine, but this is going to take weeks and then months to fully recover. And we'll see where we're going. But, again, there's a sense of gratitude here like we didn't get the full brunt of it and we really are very fortunate and blessed here in Fort Lauderdale.
HOLMES: Keep right here on CNN. When we come back after a short break, thousands of people in the ravaged Florida Keys could still be forced to evacuate even after Irma has gone. We will speak to a storm chaser about the devastation there after the break.
[02:32:11] HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes coming to you live from Tampa, Florida.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell live in Atlanta, Georgia.
Our continuing coverage on the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and a great deal to tell you about this hour.
HOLMES: Indeed, thanks, George.
Irma getting weaker, but it has left destruction and devastation everywhere it's gone. It is now a tropical depression, but still affects at least nine U.S. states. In South Carolina, Irma flooded downtown Charleston where the water was at one point as high as three meters, about 10 feet. And the downtown area is now under a further flash flood emergency. Jacksonville, Florida, saw a record storm surge, turning streets into rivers.
And this is part of the devastation in the Florida Keys, where Irma hit as a category 4 hurricane. Homes were destroyed. Roads blocked. And one resident told us, "There's nothing left in his community."
HOWELL: The Florida Keys were hit especially hard by this storm. The eye of Irma passing right over Key West, Florida.
Let's bring in storm chaser, Reed Timmer, who has been driving there along highway one to give us a sense of what's happening there. How bad was this storm when it passed through?
REED TIMMER, STORM CHASER, ACCUWEATHER (via telephone): It looks like the worst of Hurricane Irma came into the lower Keys. There are three or four Keys just to the east of Key West. I really should say devastating damage. And even further east surprisingly, too, including the Marathon area. But the brunt of the wind came in at big piney Key where they had 130 to 150 miles per hour. You can see the storm surge damage, you can see debris. Docks and homes all over the homes. A storm surge that was several feet deep. And we went through Summerland Key. We found a man that rode out the storm in his home, and he was inside the eye of that hurricane. The backside of the winds came through at 150 miles per hour, it ripped off the roof. He had to ride through in the bathroom hoping it wouldn't collapse.
HOWELL: I'm surprised that highway one is still standing when you consider the intensity that Irma brought through. What is the live like for you right now? I would imagine you're trying to drive back up towards Florida. What's that like?
TIMMER: Yes. Highway 1, pieces of it are missing. The water was so powerful, some of the waves -- we saw vehicles go into the ocean. It just shows you the power of that storm surge. We were finally able to make it out earlier today. We were the first people out of there. We saw the National Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers inspecting the bridges. And the road was still closed. We were going around debris and having to move debris. It was a treacherous drive. Just seeing all the loss of property and just realizing that even possible loss of life happened. Especially on parts of the lower Keys, that you feel for the people of south Florida.
[02:35:45] HOWELL: Reed, here's the thing. At some point, people will start to drive back into that part of the state and will want to understand the extent of the damage. Given what you're seeing right now, what you've seen, what advice would you tell people about driving into that region?
TIMMER: Definitely expect the worse if you live in the lower Keys. It still will be a few days before you can get in there. When we left the homestead area, everybody was trying to get into the Keys and nobody could. They were allowing a few people out. But there were many people that weren't able to get out. They have no cell phone oh signal, no power, no running water. People are just there cut off from the outside world. We lost power about 8:30 in the morning when that eyewall came in. It's not good there in the lower Keys. The first responders had not arrived yet when we were doing search and rescue. I hope they made it there this afternoon, because the devastation was just a mess there in the lower Keys, especially Key West.
HOWELL: Reed Timmer, on the phone with us, storm chaser for AccuWeather. Thank you so much.
TIMMER: Thank you.
HOLMES: And thanks to George Howell there. Now, it's a wider perspective on how much damage Hurricane Irma has
done. Coming up, we're going to give you the satellite view. It's fascinating.
Also, French officials say St. Martin was 95 percent destroyed by Hurricane Irma. And now President Emmanuel Macron is heading to the Caribbean to survey the damage on the French islands. We'll have an interview with our Jim Bittermann after the break.
[02:41:39] HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. Returning now with our continuing coverage of Hurricane Irma and its aftermath here in Florida. Officials and residents just beginning to get a sense of the widespread destruction. A new estimate finds Irma and Hurricane Harvey in Texas will cost between $150 and $200 billion worth of damage. That's about the cost of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.
Now, we've got some satellite images of the devastation in the Caribbean, when Irma was, of course, a category 5 storm. We're going to show those to you now. Digital Globe provided these images. What you see there is the island of Tortola before the storm and after. Incredible. And now the Turks and Caicos Islands before Irma and after.
Now, this picture shows Phillipsburg on the Dutch side of St. Martin before the hurricane. And after. Amazing, isn't it?
And finally, another photo from St. Martin before the storm. And after it passed. Incredible to see that, isn't it?
The French President Emmanuel Macron is heading to St. Martin and St. Bart's tuesday to oversee relief efforts there. Both of those islands devastated by Hurricane Irma.
CNN's Jim Bittermann joining us now live from Paris.
Jim, some controversy over how this was handled. What sort of reception is Mr. Macron likely to receive?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it may not be the friendliest reception. The fact is, the president has been severely criticized by the residents of both islands in the Caribbean, St. Bart's and St. Martin. A number of those victims of the hurricane arrived in France yesterday, and they complained of feeling abandoned, the fact that they were subject to looting and to armed gangs, and that the law and order kind of broke down on the French side of that island, St. Martin's, which is half Dutch and half French.
Meantime, the Dutch king visited the Dutch side of the island yesterday. So Macron appears to be coming just a day late. Of course, for people that they say have suffered five days for having food and water, they are really objecting a bit to the way the French handled this island, which is of course part of the French territory, but a long way from France. And so the islanders feel a little abandoned through all of this. Michael?
HOLMES: Yes. Just very briefly, if you will, Jim. He's leaving behind some serious stuff, too. A big strike.
BITTERMANN: Absolutely. Today is the national day of strike proposed by one of the unions here. And it's being called the first big test for Emmanuel Macron after his economic program met with some hostility. He's having a tough time in the opinion polls. His popularity has dropped 20 points in three months. Sit a test for him on the ground. Back here in France and a test out there in the Caribbean as well, Michael.
[02:45:11] HOLMES: Indeed. Jim Bittermann in Paris, our thanks.
We'll have much more on the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in our next hour.
But first, John Vause is following other international headlines in Los Angeles -- John?
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Michael, thank you.
Next here on CNN NEWSROOM, a big step forward for Brexit in the U.K. parliament. What is means for Prime Minister Theresa May. We are live in London.
Also ahead, North Korea warned the U.S. would face pain and suffering if the U.N. passed new sanctions. On Monday, the U.N. did just that. So what happens now? Live to Pyongyang after the break.
[02:49:38] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. It's 11:49 here in Los Angeles.
And a late night, a parliamentary win for British Prime Minister Theresa May with a Brexit bill backed by a majority of M.P.s despite accusations it's a government power grab. The Commons approved the E.U. withdrawal. That makes E.U. bills into domestic law in 2019. The bill faces a final vote and many lawmakers are demanding significant changes.
Live now from Number 10, Bianca Nobilo is with us.
Bianca, what is the reasoning here? Why do the Labour M.P.s believe this is a mad power grabby Theresa May and what's the government's response to that?
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN PRODUCER, LONDON BUREAU: The concern this bill is a power grab isn't limited to the opposition party, in fact, there's a lot of fear in the government party, the conservative party, that this bill takes too much power and puts it back in the hands of ministers. The concern is this bill creates new powers for ministers to be able to amend certain laws without full parliamentary scrutiny. The government says this is necessary to avoid black holes for when the E.U. lives in 2019. But the opposition fears this is tenacious and dangerous and might damage democracy in the long run. There are a lot of amendments expected at the next stage in order to get it to its third reading. So at committee stage, next, the M.P.s are going to take it line by line and offer amendments to try to limit that power grab.
VAUSE: Sounds like a rough road ahead for the prime minister there.
Bianca, thank you for being with us at 7:51 in London.
North Korea has been hit with tough new U.N. sanctions aimed at increasing pressure on Kim Jong-Un's illicit nuclear programs. They U.N. unanimously approved the resolutions, which is for people working overseas and embargos on textiles. Could cost North Korea a billion a year. North Korea will also be hit with a 30 percent oil reduction import, well short of the Trump administration's demand last week that oil supplies be totally cut off.
Despite that, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, described these sanctions as a win.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: In short, these are by far the strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea. They give us a better chance to halt the regime's ability to the fuel and finance its nuclear and missile programs. But we all know these steps only work if all nations implement them completely and aggressively.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN's Will Ripley is live for us in Pyongyang.
Will, it seems there are Russian and Chinese fingerprints all over these. Nikki Haley says it's a win, but will the North Korean regime also see this as a win?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORREPONDENT: Perhaps, because you have to look at all the things that the U.S. had to throw out for Russia and China to sign off on this. Freezing the assets of the carrier that travels back and forth of Russia, allowing a little bit of diplomatic activities was eliminated. So you have a watered-down bill that Russia and China would approve. But from the North Korea perspective, they have lived under heavy sanctions for a long time and have found ways to get around them.
VAUSE: We're waiting to see what North Korea's response would be. It could be a ballistic missile launch and it may be on a more acute angle. And that has a lot of consequences.
RIPLEY: South Korea has thought that North Korea is ready to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. They thought it was going to happen to mark the country's Foundation Day. It didn't happen and hasn't happened yet. One thing I learned from traveling to this country, while they are predictable in the sense you know there will be another missile launch, you don't know when or why. But in conversation here, clearly there is outrage about the sanctions. It's not a surprised. They've seen it coming and said they expected sanctions in spite of their tests and missile launches and they said they will continue to grow their economy in defiance of the sanctions and more importantly they say out of anything they cut, the missile programs and nuclear programs would be the last. So the sanctions cause them to accelerate their development and we have to take them for their word on that. They've proven despite round after round of sanctions they continue.
VAUSE: Very quickly here, because some within the Trump administration say sanctions will not work, there has to be something else. What could that be to get the North Korean's onboard?
RIPLEY: Concessions, recognition, something the United States isn't willing to do. North Korea wants its seat at the table, respect and legitimacy and want to improve their economic situation. But what they're unwilling to do, absolutely a red line, is get rid of their nuclear program. So until the United States is willing to accept a nuclear North Korea, which they give no indications they'll do so, it's hard to see how they'll get down to discussions.
[02:55:19] VAUSE: It's been a problem for a while with the Trump and Obama and Clinton administrations. Will, thank you. Appreciate you being live for us this hour. I'm John Vause, live in Los Angeles. Our coverage of Hurricane Irma continues from Georgia and Florida after a short break. You're watching CNN.
[02:00:01] HOLMES: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN's continuing coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. I'm Michael Holmes, coming to you live from Tampa, Florida.