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EARLY START

Deadly Hurricane Matthew Lashing Florida's Coastline. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 7, 2016 - 3:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[03:30:01]

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The first hat-trick from Croatia Mario Mandzukic finished Kosovo even before they really got started.

And the head of World Football said he underestimated the will to change within FIFA. Gianni Infantino told AFP TV that many at the organization were used to working in a certain way and their will to change was, quote, "superficial, not real."

He's repeated his desire to expand the 2026 World Cup to 48 teams but said the bidding process must be untainted by controversy.

That's a look at your sport headlines. I'm Amanda Davies.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi. Welcome back to Early Start. I'm Christine Romans.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Miguel Marquez. It is 31 minutes past the hour. We welcome all our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world.

Breaking news at this hour, a deadly category three hurricane now lashing Florida's coastline. Hurricane Matthew may very soon slam ashore somewhere along Florida's Atlantic Coast. Or maybe just as bad it may skirt along it, feeding off the ocean's energy before maybe making landfall in the north.

Right now at least 11 million people are under hurricane warnings and more than 210,000 homes and businesses are without power. The storm is blasting the coast with sustained winds of up to 120 miles per hour with pounding surf.

Ten inches or more of rainfall and a storm surge up to 11 feet. Enormous. There's the potential for devastating flooding. Billions of dollars in damage and of course, loss of life.

ROMANS: We have a whole team of reporters ready to bring you the very latest on conditions up and down the Florida coast here.

Let's begin in Palm Bay, Florida. That's where CNN's Michael Holmes joins us this morning. And, Michael, you are being lashed by wind and rain there. What are you seeing?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, wind and rain. I will tell you, Christine. You know, they said that the worst of this would be between probably 4 and 7 a.m., it's 3.30 a.m. And I can tell you the last couple of hours it has really picked up here.

You know, the emergency services just a couple of hours ago said we are not going out anymore. If you have got yourself into trouble you're on your own until this abates.

We've also seen massive amount of power outages. We've seen transformers blowing all around us here and a lot of the power around here is out.

From this shot, you know, we have had to move. It's gotten so bad we had to move and shelter ourselves. We sort of got ourselves in between a couple of walls and a car. And you may not be able to see how bad the rain is, but I am going to challenge our cameraman to pan around and give you just a look and you can see how the rain is whipping down.

It is absolutely torrential. And the wind that's going with it is -- well, it can be terrifying at times when the gusts come in. But that sort of angle there with the light we got set up really gives you an idea of the volume of rain that's been coming down.

And the thing is, as said, over the next couple of hours it's going to get worse. You mentioned, you and Miguel mentioned the storm surge. Well, of course in this part of the country you got the barrier islands out there. And they are going to taking the brunt of what could be a 10, 11, 12 foot storm surge, which is going to be a real problem for those houses out there.

I covered Hurricane Sandy up in New Jersey in 2012 and saw the damage that was done to the houses on the coast there by what was a tropical storm when it went over the coast. We are talking a hurricane here, of course.

What, you know, in the hours ahead we'll just see what sort of damage has been done. The National Weather Service for this area made a dire prediction and said it could be catastrophic. Said there could be areas that could be inhabitable for weeks or even months. Back to you.

[03:35:09] MARQUEZ: Michael, you have been out there for several hours. It's always bizarre to cover this situation, these storms because they do sort of creep up on you and the gusts start and then the sustained winds.

How have the conditions deteriorated over the time that you've been out there?

HOLMES: Yes, fairly steadily, Miguel. I mean, you know what this is like, too. They do sort of slowly build. It's been in the last, I'm going to say hour and a half possibly that it's really come on.

And you can see, you know, you can just feel the gusts come ripping through. It's probably, you know, I don't know 70, 80 miles an hour gusts at the moment. And it's enough to rock you on your feet. That's for sure. It can be a bit brutal. And it's a scene it is not over yet.

And one can only imagine the damage that's being done to structures around the place. The hotel we are in is one of the few hurricane- rated buildings in this immediate area. And people have come from all around, they are in the lobby there. There is no room of course.

The rooms are taken by locals who took the advice and moved out of their own places and then came here.

ROMANS: OK. It's interesting, Michael. You know, I think it's important for viewers to know that we don't just put you out there in the middle of those gusts that you have found a way to shelter yourself. You are showing us a picture of the rain lashing down. I've covered a hurricane before too. And you know, you find -- you find a place between two buildings so that you don't get blown over.

But we should remind people it's very dangerous and authorities are saying, you know, stay out of this rain. Stay out of this wind. How much longer do you think the conditions are going to deteriorate for you? When do you expect this to move away from you, Michael?

HOLMES: Well, probably we're going to have another three or four hours of it getting worse, in fact, and then they say, you know, after maybe 9 o'clock Eastern Time, in about, you know, five hours or so from now it may start to abate a little bit.

So, there are many more hours of this to go. It's really pounding here at the moment. And this isn't the worst of it. But, yes. You're right. We have hunkered down in an area where we put the cars between us and the main direction of the wind. We are doing fine.

ROMANS: Great, Michael. Thank you so much. Stay safe.

MARQUEZ: Man, just looks -- sounds like the hotel has become a makeshift shelter, as well.

ROMANS: Yes, of course. On Florida's north central coast, the folks at Daytona Beach now are bracing for Hurricane Matthew.

So, let's go there now. Sara Sidner is there for us. Sara, you clearly could see the conditions that Michael is enduring right now. That's heading your way.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And we definitely see the winds pick up. We have seen probably the worst winds we have seen all night just come through here. And again, it is that situation where you are getting those bands. This time it was just strong winds whipping.

And the wind tends to change directions. Sometimes it's going this way and then it will suddenly turn on you. And you can watch sort of the spinning of the water that's in the air and the moisture that's in the air.

And then there will be some rain that comes through. But we haven't had much rain interestingly. We know that the storm is moving very slowly. And that's the bad thing if it's raining a lot because that can cause more flooding.

And we are still talking about hours and hours of sort of waiting for this to come in. And once it gets here, as you heard Michael say, there will be hours of it sort of trying to start moving up the coast and hopefully back out into the ocean.

But you know how these things are, if they wobble a little ways, one way or the another, that can make a lot of difference as to whether or not you are getting hurricane-force winds or whether or not you are getting tropical storm-force winds.

And I think we are starting to get those tropical storm-force winds now and Michael is probably starting to get a little bit stronger winds, but we are just going to wait and see. And we are in also ourselves, in an area where this hotel that we are in is fortified.

The windows can take up to 150 mile per hour winds. And it is concrete. So, it's solid. But the hotels along the coast have told people for the most part you have to evacuate. We've been in a couple of different hotels and they have told all of their guests, we are sorry but we are making this decision for your own safety. You must evacuate.

However, they are letting the media stay in some of those that are hurricane-rated and also Florida Power and Light are expected to be here so that they are the first ones out the door. Because there are about 200,000 people who are already have no power.

And they want to be able to try to restore that as soon as they can, as soon as the wind and the rain starts to die down. So, the folks aren't sitting here. Because as you know, it is still pretty hot in Florida. It is about 85 degrees before this started blowing in. They want to make sure that people have power as soon as possible, guys.

[03:40:02] MARQUEZ: Sara, do you have a sense of how many people have taken shelter in community-provided shelters, evacuated and how many are just staying at home and waiting it out?

SIDNER: You know, authorities don't even know but I can tell you this about the shelters that they were filling up. There was only, I think four left that had beds left and they basically told people at a certain hour they couldn't be on the roads. That was midnight.

So, we are now several hours past that. So, they can't go to shelters now. They're not supposed to be on the road. However, authorities are saying if they see you out and you are trying to get somewhere safe are they going to allow that, but it's a bit late to be trying to get to those shelters.

As far as who evacuated, it was fairly quiet today. We didn't see a lot of movement in the street especially as it got darker and darker. But we do know because we talked to them, a couple of people who have said we are staying put. They are not far from the beach. They feel confident and comfortable that they are just going to ride this storm out.

They boarded up. They are concerned about their businesses, their homes and they are not going to leave. So far they should be OK. We don't know exactly how close this storm is going to get, though, and whether it's going to wobble one way or the other.

And so authorities have been pretty clear in saying we really wish that everyone would have evacuated, but we know that doesn't happen, it doesn't happen in any storm really.

ROMANS: Right.

MARQUEZ: Well, all right.

ROMANS: All right. OK. Sara, thank you so much for that. Be careful.

For the latest on hurricane Matthew and this forecast path, let's bring in our meteorologist again, Derek Van Dam, he's in the CNN weather center. Two big questions here. When and where? That's what everyone wants to know, Derek.

DAM: Yes. We think that from Brevard County northward into Daytona Beach and Jacksonville that's when we're going to start seeing through this morning and through the afternoon and evening hours of Friday, that's when conditions will deteriorate across those particular locations.

And you heard Sara mention how critical it is if this storm wobbles east or west. That is the difference between a category one hurricane, along the coast of Florida and a strong category three.

We have already realized hurricane-force winds across many locations. So, these are really the impacts going forward. Basically from the storm, from the Cape Canaveral region, the space coast northward and into Georgia and South Carolina, heavy rains, the potential for weak tornados to spin up along the coastline, damaging winds.

Of course we've talked about the storm surge. And we are going to get into some detail there. And we cannot forget about the potential of flash flooding, as well considering that a significant amount of rain will be dropped out of this storm in a short period of time.

It's a slow mover. And that means that flooding will be a concern on top of the storm surge threat.

Here's the latest from the National Hurricane Center. A strong category three. Winds sustained at 120 miles per hour. Gusts near 160. But I would say it's pretty safe to say that the bulk of the strongest storms -- or strongest winds are just off shore.

That needless to say, they are still getting very strong winds, strong gusty winds, especially with some of the rain bands that are moving through the Melbourne region, Titusville, Saint Augustine, into Daytona Beach, or just south of that region.

And you can see the movement, as well, northwest at 14 miles per hour. Let's talk a little bit about the storm surge threat. And this is the latest numbers from the National Hurricane Center. You can see from Melbourne, the space coast to Jacksonville and Savannah that bend between Florida, Georgia and South Carolina that's where we expect the greatest surge from the storm.

Remember, when we get hurricanes on that northern quadrant of the storm it pushes along the surface of the sea and with it also brings the ocean along with it. So that's what we call storm surge. And this is 7 to 11 feet above normal high tide values.

So that begs the question, will we see high tide coincide with the strongest part of the storm? We've got some good news here for the Melbourne region. Because we are heading towards low tide this morning and the peak of the storm really only a couple of hours away for that area. So, will coincide the peak storm with the low tide.

So that means storm surge not as big of a threat for this region but moving up the coast towards Jacksonville, look at what we are doing, starting to work our way into high tide by the afternoon and that's when the bulk of the storm will move in. Back to you.

MARQUEZ: Well, it is all timing.

DAM: It is.

MARQUEZ: Derek Van Dam, thank you very much. We'll be watching carefully.

DAM: All right.

MARQUEZ: The fury of Hurricane Matthew being seen in its full effect. This is West Palm Beach, Florida as the wind hits back and here's Miami, spared by the storm but northern Florida is in its path. We'll have more soon.

[03:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: All right. Our breaking news this morning, Hurricane Matthew drawing closer and closer to Florida's East Coast. It is now a category three hurricane. You can see it there churning along the coast. These winds are up to 120 miles an hour. It's expected to bring up to 15 inches of rain. A storm surge up to 11 feet. We are expecting devastating flooding.

The National Weather Service warning a deadly storm could make home and buildings in central Florida, quote, "uninhabitable for weeks or months."

MARQUEZ: Now for the latest on the hurricane's path let's go to Jacksonville all the way up Florida's East Coast. Joining us there, CNN's Rosa Flores. Rosa, it looks calm where you are now but I take it you are preparing for the absolute worst. ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You said it right. This definitely

feels like the calm before the storm. Because if you take a look, the winds are pretty mellow. It's barely sprinkling here but officials are bracing for a category four. That's what they are preparing for.

Now I want to show you around here a little bit. Because this is the St. Johns River. It pretty much cuts the city in half. This is the city of bridges. In order for you to navigate you really have to be on these bridges.

Now they're expecting the storm surge here to rise six to nine feet. That's a huge, huge concern. Because there are a lot of tribute there -- tributaries that finger out into neighborhoods.

[03:50:07] And of course, they are very worried that those tributaries will also swell and possibly get into people's homes. Now, one of their other worries, of course, is the high wind. And furring a hurricane of this magnitude, they are expecting 90 to 115 mile an hour winds in this area.

Now these bridges are being monitored remotely. They have sensors on them. Whenever the winds, the sustained winds reach 40 to 45 miles an hour these bridges are going to be closed down. There's actually cones already stationed in these areas to make sure that that happens promptly.

But Christine and Miguel, I got to tell you, the worry from officials here in this area is that people are not heeding the warnings. In fact, they say right now it's definitely too late. They are asking people who didn't evacuate to hunker down.

MARQUEZ: Man, if that storm surge...

(CROSSTALK)

FLORES: Miguel and Christine?

MARQUEZ: If that storm surge and that storm and the high tide hit at the same time it is going to be devastating. Rosa Flores, thank you very much.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Thank you, Rosa.

MARQUEZ: The growing death toll in Haiti should dispel any doubts about the power of Hurricane Matthew, the storm blamed for at least 269 deaths there. Southern Haiti was hit especially hard. Torrential rain and 125 mile an hour winds damaged homes, flooded villages and collapsed a main bridge connecting southern Haiti to the rest of the country.

The island nation is still recovering of course from that the devastating earthquake in 2010. Haiti cannot catch a break. It is horrible there. ROMANS: Yes, it really is. All right. The main northern islands of

the Bahamas battered by Matthew, as well. The storm hit with category three force, a 120 mile per hour wind gust, ripping off rooftops.

Look at the pictures. We're going of course a widespread flooding, families trapped, dangerous wind conditions persisting right now. Hundreds of thousands of people without power and there been a dozens of rescues from floodwaters.

MARQUEZ: Well, Florida is feeling the full force of the storm, it is the southern part. This is Pompano Beach and the storm surge there. And these are some of the winds that we are seeing near Palm Bay. That camera would turn to the right it would be absolute downpour. We will have more for you in just a few.

[03:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUEZ: Now, the latest on hurricane Matthew, the category three hurricane, blasting Florida's coast with winds up to 120 miles per hour. Forecasters are predicting up to 15 inches of rain and a storm surge as high as 11 feet.

Nearly 26 million people live in areas under severe weather watches and warnings. Florida governor Rick Scott is warning residents that a direct hit by Matthew could lead to massive destruction.

ROMANS: So, let's get back right now this morning to meteorologist Derek Van Dam, he is in the CNN weather center. And let's talk about the forecast track here. I mean, Miguel has been saying sort of churning along the coast, scraping the coast but it has not made landfall here. What are you seeing on this track?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, we are analyzing this so closely with the team of meteorologists and I behind the scenes, Miguel and Christine. A few important things to point out for you. Here's the eye wall. You can see that is really about, let's say, 30 miles, give or take five miles off shore.

So that western periphery of the center of the storm still off shore. But look what's coming. You see the Cape Canaveral and the space coast region how that jets out from the Florida Peninsula. Well, it will be the outer rain bands of the eye wall make its way across that area, very likely.

So we could potentially see some of the stronger winds into that area inland. Inland that's where we start to see the drop off considerably from Hurricane Matthew but still strong gusty winds like places in Orlando registering 45 miles per hour within the past 45 minutes.

This is what we know. This is the latest information about Hurricane Matthew, sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. Gusts right around that center of the storm right about 160 miles per hour. There's that slow, northwesterly that's track running parallel to the Florida peninsula.

And you can see it's about 50 miles to the east-southeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Obviously considerable amount of technology and equipment for NASA actually located within that particular location. So they are monitoring this quickly and closely.

Category three hurricane as it stands now. So the big question is where will it go? Well, we're going to try and track this and show you a little bit of where the storm is impacting as it stands right now.

Melbourne, basically from the Brevard County region, that's where the conditions will continue to deteriorate. A lot of people have been wondering what is driving Hurricane Matthew and where will it go three days out, the next five days over the next week even?

We've got this massive area of high pressure that situated across the New England coastline. That is going to block Matthew from turning into a sandy. So, it is going to prevent it from moving along the Delmarva Peninsula. That's good news, D.C., New York, but it's also going to interact with a subtropical jet stream. It's going to bring in a lot of moisture.

So, the next concern going forward after Florida is the potential for severe flooding across the coastal areas even the inland communities of Georgia, southeast Georgia, specifically into South Carolina and North Carolina.

Some of our rainfall totals from our computer models easily exceeding 15 inches. You get that over a short period of time you can imagine what that means for those locations that have already been saturated by recent storms.

ROMANS: Well, you know, you've got 200,000 people without power. You've got basically some of the state's most famous tourist attractions are closed.

DAM: Yes.

ROMANS: Airports closed. I mean, this is -- this is Florida -- this is Florida hunkered down for this serious situation.

DAM: Very serious.

MARQUEZ: Well, it could get worse. I mean, something you said earlier, the storm surge and where this -- and the tides.

DAM: Yes.

MARQUEZ: If those things come in to...

(CROSSTALK)

DAM: Match up.

MARQUEZ: ... it is match up.

DAM: That's right.

MARQUEZ: I mean, you could have major problems farther north in Florida, yes?

[04:00:02] DAM: That's where we think from Jacksonville to Savannah, Georgia. It's going to time the strongest part of the storm, Miguel, with high tides. So, that will just exacerbate the problem.

MARQUEZ: Man.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks so much, Derek.

MARQUEZ: All right. Derek Van Dam, thank you very much. Early Start...