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Report: Storm of A Lifetime Roars Toward Carolina Coasts; Storm Track Changes and Moves Southward; Hurricane Hunter Flies Through Eye of Florence; Fager Leaves CBS; Rescue Dog Owner Chooses Not to Evacuate. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired September 12, 2018 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there, I'm Brooke Baldwin. You are watching CNN. Thank you for being with me. Time is running out as the, quote, storm of a lifetime, for the Carolina coast is moving in, those words coming from the National Weather Service, which just moments ago updated its projections on Hurricane Florence.

Here's what we have, the epic storms expected course has already shifted from the last time I talked to you 24 hours ago. Right now, its path is expected to pause right at North Carolina's coast, shift south and pose even greater danger. So, Florence now could batter coastal areas with 24 hours of hurricane force winds, bring catastrophic flooding with more than 3 feet of rain and churn up life- threatening storm surges up to 13 feet.

Jennifer Grey More than a million people have been on the move, emptying out those Carolina beaches. You see all those gas station pumps all wrapped up, but some say they're riding it out, staying put, increasing the urgency from local and state and federal officials, they say the window to get out of town is shrinking fast.


SHERIFF P.J. TANNER, BEAUFORT COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA: We strongly urge those that can make the decision now and over the next 24 hours, if you have the ability to move inward to the state of Georgia and Florida, we would recommend that you do that.

ROY COOPER, GOVERNOR, NORTH CAROLINA: The time to prepare is almost over. The morning's forecast shows the storm is only hours away.

JEFF BYARD, FEMA SPOKESPERSON: This is not financial to be a glancing blow. This will be a Mike Tyson punch to the Carolina coast. What can I say today which is the last day to evacuate? We really want to push that message.


BALDWIN: We are covering this hurricane. CNN crews are all up and down the east coast. Let's start with meteorologist Jennifer Grey in the CNN weather center. We mentioned since the last time we chatted this thing has shifted slightly it's path. Tell me where it's headed now. JENNIFER GREY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It has when we were talking to you

yesterday. It is a little bit different, where it intersects the U.S. is pretty much the same. What it does after that has changed from last time we talked. This has been downgraded to a category 3 just in the last five minutes. This is a 125 mile per hour storm. Don't let that fool you. This is still a major hurricane. It could still strengthen before it makes landfall. It has gusts of 160, moving to the northwest at 16 miles per hour.

Let me get to the track and I will talk about that some more. It's expected to make landfall as a category 3, 120 pile per hour winds Friday morning and meander to the south. What this means, the difference in this is basically that more of the coastline is going to be impacted. Some of the models take it a little bit onshore and then sliding to the south, others keep it a little bit offshore and sliding to the south. If it stays offshore, it could stay a little stronger than it could if it moves onshore, regardless, this is bad news for North Carolina coast and South Carolina coast and all the points inland. We talked about inland flooding risks. That is still evident for today with the latest forecast. So, we're calling for 20 to 30 inches of rain, same areas we talked about yesterday. Around Wilmington, eastern portions of North Carolina.

That flooding you see along the coast as this slowly moves to the south, Charleston, Savannah could get 10 to 20 inches of rain in all these areas inland. We are talking eastern portions of Georgia getting anywhere from 10 to 20 inches of rain in Savannah, we're talking six-to-ten inches across eastern Georgia. So, look at this storm, massive, massive storm. 125 pile per hour wind. It's common for these storms to fluctuate with their intensity.

[14:05:00] They get a little weaker a little stronger. They can't maintain that massive status for while. They take a breath and inhale. That's what the tomorrow is doing, going through an eyewall replacement cycle. It will be fluctuating in intensity, the hurricane force winds that extend 125 miles across tropical storm force winds that extend 300 miles across. So, by tomorrow, some of these coastal areas will be getting the tropical storm force winds. You could be getting hurricane force winds for at least 24 hours. Also, the storm surge, 9-to-13 feet. That has also gone higher since we talked yesterday this water pushing inland. We're talking about this occurring during multiple high tide cycles.

That is extremely important. The storm surge will be higher during a high tide. The fact that this will be sitting there, and going through several high tide cycles it will be devastating, Brooke.

BALDWIN: A category 3. You are keeping a close eye, Jennifer Grey, thank you. As we said, we have reporters up and down, let's talk about Florence's shift more towards that southern trajectory, more of South Carolina at risk. Nick Valencia is in the town of Conway. I know you have been seeing signs that people have been heeding those evacuation warnings. Is that correct?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're standing in the middle of 501, the main artery out of Myrtle Beach about 20 miles inland in Conway, South Carolina as you mentioned. The traffic is very light right now. It has been picking up steadily throughout the day the local police say that's a really good sign. They think people are paying attention to this warning. I want to introduce you to the city manager, emergency manager, also the Fire Chief, Le Hendrick, thank you for taking the time with Brooke Baldwin and CNN. What is going on today? What preparations have you been doing?

LE HENDRICK, CITY MANAGER, CONWAY, SOUTH CAROLINA: The city has been working on it and we are making sure everyone is flowing out of Conway to get to a safe location.

VALENCIA: This has been called the storm of a lifetime. Do you believe that to be true, if so, why?

HENDRICK: It seems to be, we went through Hurricane Matthew two years ago. We set records with flooding, rainfall totals, just a category 1 hurricane. They're showing possibly a category 2 or 3 when it makes landfall. This is something we haven't experienced in probably 20 years.

VALENCIA: I know you guys in Conway are not in specifically an evacuation zone. You are taking the brunt of getting hit really hard watch are you telling those people that decided to stick it out? We talked to a lot that are.

HENDRICK: My suggestion would be if we have a choice between evacuate or stay, I would choose evacuate. There are a lot of undetermineds at this time, we are still far enough out where we don't know exactly what path it is going to take. Some of the models show better scenarios for our area and some show some pretty horrific scenarios.

VALENCIA: Any last-minute pleas to those sticking it up?

HENDRICK: I would say you make preparations for being alone for up to seven days.

VALENCIA: Hospitals are going to be closed in Myrtle Beach. You guys are going to be open here. You told me off camera you will not be assisting if somebody is injured or there is major damage?

HENDRICK: We're on our own, we're ready to take care of our own personnel and our own citizens. So, we are going to try to stick it out as long as we can.

VALENCIA: As this ambulance goes by, it's a thrill to be standing here in the middle of 501, what do you think?

HENDRICK: We've run a lot of vehicle accidents if my career. I have never been through this scenario.

VALENCIA: These are the preparation, these lanes here, they're not like this traffic has been reversed. They want people to get out as quickly as it's happening. BALDWIN: Like you said if you have a choice between evacuate or

staying, he says evacuate, and if you do stay make sure you have those preparations for seven days. That is great advice. Nick Valencia, thank you very much.

To North Carolina now, where we know of one sheller already at full capacity, remember, North Carolina could get up to 40 inches of rain, CNN correspondent Brian Todd is in Swan Quarter, North Carolina. What do you see there?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, this was a scene of one of the last and most urgent attempts to get off North Carolina's Barrier Islands. This is a ferry terminal in North Carolina, Swan Quarter.

This one docked here, people were streaming off, several cars, dozens of cars, several people came off. Then a couple hours ago, the ferry was really the last open for people. The one docked shortly afternoon eastern time. Again, dozens of cars got off this ferry. I talked to people tarp coming, they were coming from Ocracoke Island. It is maybe the most isolated island in the barrier islands in the outer banks of North Carolina. The only way in and out is by boat. That's under formal sessions. This was the last boat out of there.

[14:10:00] There will be no more ferries, they are mooring this boat down, you see these workers behind me, mooring this ferry down, there are two ferries already moored down over on the distance there to my right. Over my shoulder there that got to get those boats secured to ride out the storm. They don't know when they will be able to send them back to Ocracoke Island. We are told 900 permanent residents live on that island, moored down over on the distance there to my right. Over my shoulder there that got to get those boats secured to ride out the storm. They don't know when they will be able to send them back to Ocracoke Island. We are told 900 permanent residents live on that island, including visitors. We are told 200 people got off.

There are 900 permanent resident I spoke to the commissioner. He lives on Ocracoke Island. He is staying. He estimates maybe 200 or less are staying on Ocracoke Island. We are told by him, by some other officials, Brooke, that they are if danger of being stranded and trapped on that island. There will be no emergency service, they are telling people not to call fire and rescue during the storm. They cannot get to them. We saw an ambulance taken off sometime ago. They are pulling some emergency service vehicles off that I'm. We are told at least 100 people are on that island. They could be stranded, Brooke, for days.

BALDWIN: What does that tell you when the ambulance is leaving ahead of the storm. Brian TODD, thank you so much. We'll stay in contact. We're on the ground, in the sky, covering this hurricane. Paul Flaherty, a hurricane hunter flying near Hurricane Florence. He is with me on the phone, so, Paul, I know you flew over, around the storm the last couple of days. Tell me what you are seeing right now.

PAUL FLAHERTY, HURRICANE HUNTER: Good afternoon. We're just approaching the storm at this time. We are on the southwest side, again, we did a couple circles just on the outside of the eyewall of Hurricane Florence, so I don't have a lot of information of what we will get out of this mission. We know it will be critical for the forecast as the National Hurricane Center and emergency managers started to look at those last-minute evacuations.

BALDWIN: What kind of information are you trying to get, Paul?

FLAHERTY: Well, what we're doing is we're collecting a lot of data that will go into the water models. Over the ocean, this is a lot of weather data the models need to start with data in order to make forecast. So, as you can image within no data, they need to interpret late the information. We are here to give them real information 360 degrees on the inside of the storm to give the forecast a great pick of what the tomorrow is and should do and hopefully give some good news over the next couple of days. So far, there hasn't been a lot of good news.

BALDWIN: Well what is your biggest concern based upon what you have been seeing?

FLAHERTY: Well, we have a lot of concerns. A lot of people say we're crazy, I say the people on the ground that don't get out of the way are a lot crazier than we are. I take it up here in a heart beat over that. That's the message. We want this group to listen, we're not out here for fun, believe me well want e want to get the best information. The last thing we want people to know why they didn't evacuate. We put all this into them getting out of the way.

BALDWIN: It's extraordinary you are flying around the storm as we are talking live on CNN. Tell me, Paul, does this storm compare to others that you've flown in?

FLAHERTY: So, the one I relate this to is a little bit with Irma, where we were trying to maybe hopefully find information that would give you a different track that might look better. It seems that every time we flew and got a little more information, it seemed to never get better. It seemed to stay the same or worse. Right now, I don't see any good outcomes. Even if Southern Virginia, definitely North Carolina and South Carolina, they have to take the storm just as serious as we did in Florida with Irma. We can't tell exactly who will be affected. We know a large mound of the population will be. We'd rather get a little more you know people out of the way. We want to push people inland. That's what we want to do. We don't want anyone to be here, never met anyone that said I lived through the hurricane, can't wait to do it again.

[14:15:00] BALDWIN: Thank you, stay safe. Still ahead, more than a million people are under a hurricane evacuation. Not everyone is choosing to lead e leave. I will show a woman with seven rescue dogs, her home directly in the path. Another high-profile executive leaving CBS amid inappropriate conduct. The second in less than a week. That story coming up. After months of criticism that he has been too soft on Russia, President Trump is now taking steps to punish those who interfered in the 2016 elections. You are watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin. [14:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: We will get you back to our hurricane coverage here in just a moment. Breaking news, we are learning Jeff Fager is leaving amid inappropriate conduct. They include unwanted touching, first reported in the "New Yorker" by Ronan Farrow. He denied these allegations, Brian, I've read testify Fager's statement, he says his departure has nothing to do with Ronan Farrow's "New Yorker" piece.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I find that hard believe. And I think most people at CVS find that very hard to believe. But yes, I will show you his statement. First, I want to flashback six weeks ago when Ronan Farrow's story came out. It came out that on Les Moonves, he said he made unwanted advances and touching and things like that. He said Fager enabled the culture of harassment. This is sad for the women involved. Sad for the program. After all, "60 Minutes" is the best known, best watched news magazine in America. But this was a problem inside the news magazine him all throughout August. Fager was vowing to stay on, two days later Moonves left, Fager is leaving as well.

BALDWIN: Do you know how the staff were made aware of this?

STELTER: I think some were worried about who will come take over? A memo went out to staff, saying it was effective immediately. Take a look at Fager's side of the story. He was saying it was not about affair allegation and the "New Yorker" they terminated by contract early because I sent at text message demanding she be fair in covering the story. So, read this, see if you believe this. He says my language was harsh, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time. CBS did not like it. One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did. I am surprised by the reaction.

That is Fager's side of the story. There is this ongoing investigation by two different law firms into allegations against Fager, against Moonves so this is very much an ongoing problem for CBS. Think about where we are, one year ago, Les Moonves was the bar. Charlie Rose the star, Fager the producer, now all three men have left CBS.

BALDWIN: That's the headline. Let's switch gears, because you are in Cupertino, California, for the huge Apple event. What was the big iPhone vent?

STELTER: I have to think I thought the Fager announcement would be later in the week. I'm here in Cupertino because this is Apple day. This is almost like Apple's national holiday, they come out, they unveiled a new iPhone, the new products. The event is still going on. We heard of several new, iPhones, one is the XS, it's leak tennis the max. It will have a bigger screen that the current iPhone 10. It will probably cost a little more money, it's of course, as with everything Apple, they always promise, more, more, more, more space for your photos, a better camera, a better processor. I'm most impressed by the Apple watch announcement. I have the old one and the new one will be a little bigger and it will monitor your heart in brand few ways that have been approved by the FDA. So now Apple will be checking your heart rhythm. Seeing if you have atrial rhythms. And if these devices stress us out so much, to go wild the least they can do is check our health.

BALDWIN: Oh, my goodness, Brian Stelter, thank you. Hurricane Florence is making a bee line for the east coast. Some people say they will ride it out. We will talk with this woman staying put with her seven rescue dogs. We'll be right back.


BALDWIN: Breaking Florence's new path, posing a greater danger than originally thought. It is expected to come more to the south in the danger zone. You have Myrtle Beach, where tropical force winds could last more than two days.

[14:30:00] That's where we find our correspondent there with a woman with her seven rescue dogs. Christine is with me now nice to see you. Love the rescue dogs. I'm a dog owner, a dog lover. But you have to tell me, why are you staying?

CHRISTINE MEINHOLD, OWNER OF RESCUE DOGS: Hi, Brooke. You know, it's not like I'm trying to be stubborn and stay here. It's more out of necessity as far as you know I don't have the resources to evacuate and you know to keep these dogs, I took them on for life and to keep them safe and protect them and right now, I don't have a vehicle dependable enough to get out and I just feel like we'll be better off here in their own surrounding where I can keep them calmer and you know, they're in their own environment. So, I really honestly, I feel like I'm doing the right thing by staying in.

BALDWIN: Everyone watching only wants what's best for you and your dogs. I understand you got a car with only so many more miles on the tank, do you not have friends who could take you guys in? The idea of having you and these six dogs through this rattling storm just I worry about that.

MEINHOLD: I do. I have had several offers, my cousin offered to come get me the problem is, you got to remember, they are rescue dogs. Every one of them have their own --