Tuesday, August 21, 2007
The hurricane's wrath
Imagine a force of nature the size of Texas racing towards you at 165 miles per hour. That was how Hurricane Dean made landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula last night. It arrived as a rare Category 5. They are the most powerful storms, coming ashore with a storm surge generally more than 18 feet above normal and capable of causing building failures and complete destruction.

Although Dean has now been downgraded, the damage and misery it brought is only beginning to surface. If you have family or friends in the path of Dean, we hope they're okay -- we're also interested in hearing their stories. (Are you there? Send an I-Report)

Right now, thousands of people, including many American tourists are trapped across the battered region. CNN's Jason Carroll told us security guards at one Cancun hotel chained the exits so guests couldn't leave.

I've covered enough hurricanes in my lifetime to know you never get used to them. It was two years ago this Thursday that a tropical storm formed over the Bahamas. The name was Katrina. And as we've all seen with Katrina, it's not just wind and water that takes a toll.

See you later.

-- By Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 1:17 PM ET
I believe a good number of us are actually surprised that you are not in some part of Mexico covering the storm at this very moment....but maybe you are. You did not say where you would be when we saw you later

I personally have never been in a hurricane but I can imagine the fear that comes along with being right in the middle of the storm not knowing what might come flying straight at you from out in the darkness.

I hope all the CNN staff stays safe will covering Dean. Hopefully no more loss of life will come from this massive storm.
Posted By Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada : 1:42 PM ET
I thank you and CNN for the hurricane coverage. I've been through a few hurricanes, and there's nothing quite like a natural disaster to put in perspective how insignificant we human beings are in the natural scheme of things.

Susan Lemarie, Fairfax, VA
Posted By Anonymous : 1:48 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

Everytime when I watch whenever they talk about a hurricane, I always think of my brother he lives on the coast of Florida. I worry about him everytime I know a hurricane is coming.
Posted By bluediamond (Jennifer) : 1:56 PM ET
I have never lived through a hurricane, and to be honest I hope I will never have to experience the destruction. I really believe that the people living in countries effected by hurricanes and other tropical storms are strong and brave. I do not envy them, but I do recognize their courage and strength during difficult times. I wish them all the luck in the world and good health.
Posted By Nicole - Ontario, Canada : 1:57 PM ET
Hello Anderson,
It is perplexing to me that other nations such as Mexico seem to be able to handle disasters and recover faster than the most powerful country in the world.
WE on the other hand run around with auras of ? around our head during tragic events.
Just like a Tale of Two Cities, it is the best of times and the worst of times.
Yes, the U.S. is the worst at handling disasters. The good news is, we have the BEST coverage in the world thanks to you, 360 , and CNN.
Posted By Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX : 1:58 PM ET
Hi Anderson. I appreciate you covering the Hurricane tracking, but why haven't you covered the small towns in Wisconsin and Minnesota that have basically been devastated by the recent rains? My hometown of Gays Mills, WI has less than 650 people and is a much smaller version of Katrina. 20 feet of water and people were evacuated to the High School. Hwy. 35 is completely washed away, houses have fallen off cliffs and into the roads and river, mud slides have destroyed houses, and people are dead.
My step-dad's mechanic shop is completely under water and my father's Perennials from his flower shop are floating down main street. I tried to do some i-reporting, but I couldn't get to Gays Mills on Sunday because the roads were flooded, washed away and being guarded by police.
We have over $25 million dollars in damage and we need some attention so we can get all of that money to repair and make our roads safer.
Melissa Brandt
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Posted By Anonymous : 2:03 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

As I watched you report on Hurricane Dean these last few nights I couldn't help but feel that you wanted to be out there with Gary, Harris, Jason, and the others. It is not like you to sit in an anchor desk with this type of story going on. Based on the reports, we all were bracing for the worst.

I think Katrina taught all of us that Mother Nature is unpredictable, and strikes without prejudice. Even with the best equipment and meteorologists, no one is ever completely certain of what she will do.

I think you are right; although on the surface it appears that Dean may not have caused as much destruction as expected, it will be days and weeks before anyone knows the full extent of that destruction.

I will be looking forward to your forthcoming reports on the still existing problems left by Katrina.

See you tonight.

Jo Ann
Posted By Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 2:06 PM ET
I watched your coverage last night and I continued watching the Weather Channel's coverage this morning before leaving for work. This storm is just massive. I feel so badly for Mexico and Jamaica. If this thing had hit New Orleans, there would be NO New Orleans left. I think it was on your show last night where someone mentioned that some of these resort areas in I think Cancun and Cozumel had recontructed some of their buildings to better withstand hurricane force winds. Why can't New Orleans do this? The levee sucks as much as it did before and progress is stil crawling down there. There were some tense moments over the weekend when no one was entirely sure where Dean was going. We were saved from this storm in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, but with our temperatures constantly hovering around 95-96 degrees everyday, I am terrifed that the Gulf waters will just suck one gigantic storm in and then it's all over. I don't think we're any better prepared than we were two years ago.
I understand you were in New Orleans on Friday. I am constantly amazed at your dedication. Thank you.
Posted By Debbie, Denham Springs, LA : 2:11 PM ET

I have friends on the Yucatan Peninsula and it's rather frightening knowning theres nothing that can be done, and that they're going to have to just wait it out.
I am huge fan of what you've done, reporting all over the world in some of the most dangerous places. I recently read your book and it's amazing that after all the countries you've been to and things you've seen you're still out there reporting. It's a huge inspiration for me, as I someday wish to be a reporter too. I wish you well on your journeys.

Erica - Calgary AB, Canada
Posted By Anonymous : 2:16 PM ET

Do you wish you were there? It is frightening under any circumstances to face such a storm, but to face it far away from home and have so little control over providing for your own safety greatly compounds things. I look forward to your coverage on the storm tonight. I bet you will get some interesting I-reports and first hand accounts. My thoughts and prayers are with those caught in the storm; and yes the "K" word looms large.
Posted By Charlotte D, Stockton Ca : 2:19 PM ET
Please tell me with all the notice everyone received, why is there still tourists trapped in the path of a hurricane? I can understand locals that don't have the money to get out, but American tourists?
Posted By Nicki, Saskatoon Canada : 2:37 PM ET
So now you are blogging about a storm you didn't even go to? With information you got from ones that did? And begging for I-Reports?

This is journalism?

I'm sick and tired of hearing about Katrina. The people who walked away from those houses need to get their lazy butts back there and clean it up.
Posted By Anonymous : 2:38 PM ET
What a week filled with devastating news on many fronts. I have a friend in Louisiana who recently saw someone from CNN helping out, and the visit meant more to her than you can imagine. How reassuring to know that the people affected by Katrina still have their heroes.
Posted By Debbie Rochester, NY : 2:46 PM ET
hello Mr. Anderson Cooper for the past days the rain won't stop here at Chicago and I was complaining because the signal from satellite dish
is always intercepted by the lightning. and I thought of the guys out there who's been hit by DEAN. my problem is very small it's only about TV but the people out there they are facing a big storm they need strong shelter right now.

all I can do is to pray for them.

regards to all staff and crew of AC360.thank you very much!
Posted By Jemillex Bacerdo Chicago, IL. : 3:23 PM ET
I've lived through a couple of hurricanes myself, the first when I was only four years old. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Most people in the Yucatan have nothing. The rural areas are very, very poor. When I was there as a tourist a year ago it was obvious to me that we can never eliminate illegal immigration to the U.S. as long as people in our neighboring country are living in such dire circumstances. To have to deal with a hurricane when they have so little is a catastrophe for those people.

A few days ago on a local news broadcast a woman was interviewed who was waiting in line to check in to a flight leaving *for* Cancun. When the reporter told her about the hurricane, she said she was wondering why the check in line was so short, but that she would continue on with her vacation anyway. I was flabbergasted! What is with some people?
Posted By Barbara, Culver City, CA : 3:53 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
I hope all the people in the path of the storm are safe. My friend is on her honeymoon in Mexico. She called and said she was ok- she thought the wind and rain were going to shatter her windows in her hotel room! They were in a safe place and hope to leave sometime in the next few days.
Thanks for the reporting!
Posted By Pamina, New Rochelle, NY : 4:12 PM ET
I am glad you mentioned Hurricane Katrina and the second anniversary of the worst natural disaster to hit the US, August 29, 2005. It must bring back some unpleasant memories, Anderson.

Hurricane Dean is a killer storm reminding us that we were lucky this time; it did not hit the US shores. But it is only a matter of time until NOAA reports another hurricane gaining power in the Gulf of Mexico heading toward the US. If not this year, maybe next year......

If anyone has seen the destruction from Hurricane Katrina, they will understand what it looks like in Mexico right now. The devastation from a category 4 or 5 hurricane is total destruction of infrastructures and livelihoods.

For those who want to forget Hurricane Katrina's anniversary is to forget the individuals who rescued victims, survived the aftermath, and died from the storm surges, winds and floods. Many want to forget so easily.

As a returning volunteer, (yes, two years later), there are homes that still need to be rebuilt, families to be reunited, and communities to be re-established. The recovery of Hurricane Katrina is not done. It is not done. It is not done!

Thank you for covering the Hurricane Katrina's recovery process for the past two years.
Posted By Sharon D., Indianapolis, Indiana : 4:25 PM ET
It seems like lately it's just one tragedy after another, one catastrophe follows the next. It's all so frequent, deadlier and on a world-wide scale. I can't help but think about Bible predictions and what all of it means for us, humankind.

And, OMG, the 2:38 p.m. email is cranky! Like you have to be there for every single tragic event!?!?! It's very easy to criticize and call others "lazy" but it's best to show compassion and give people the benefit of the doubt. Lack of resources and poverty can stunt, impede progress. Unless one has actually, personally lived through a situation, it's hard to fully comprehend others who have. Either way, it's best to just be kind.
Posted By Mariela, New York, NY : 4:31 PM ET
Anderson, the coverage of Hurricane Dean has been very good from all of the CNN correspondents spread out through the various locations. I am glad that so far the deaths due to this storm have been minimal. And much appreciation for the a beautiful tribute you gave to Miles Levin tonight. However, I'm wondering what has happened to coverage of the war going on in Iraq. It's been many days since I've seen Michael Ware report for 360. He's missed. It would also be great if CNN were to do a follow up on the survivors of the Kurdish Village who lost over 400 people last week due to suicide bombings. It was reported that these villagers are mostly members of an ancient Kurdish religion that predates Islam. This reminded me of a story that you reported on several months ago about a young woman from that area, whose family was of that same faith, who was literally stoned to death in an honor killing- which was videotaped. As you will remember, she had been dating a muslim man from a nearby town. Her death was horrific and angered many from her suiter's muslim tribe. Are there any connections between the two stories, such as this being a retaliation attack? It would be great if 360 would investigate.


Eleanor, NY
Posted By Anonymous : 3:11 AM ET
In regards to the Michael Vick crime - I feel that both your guests on todays show totally missed the point. It is not about getting second chances and it is not about the dogs or the severity of the crime. It is about the mentality of a person who probably feels he has done nothing wrong. We need to examine what type of human takes domesticated animals and then forces them to be mean and then watches as they become severly injured or fight to the death. Society should be asking what is the mentality of this type of person that considers this a sport. If it is a sport than football players should be playing with bats and swords. The only second chance Michael Vick should get is the opportunity to use his freedom in a positve way and show everyone that he does not need football to become what native american people call a true human being.
Posted By Michael , venice CA : 4:06 AM ET
In regards to the Michael Vick crime - I feel that both your guests on todays show totally missed the point. It is not about getting second chances and it is not about the dogs or the severity of the crime. It is about the mentality of a person who probably feels he has done nothing wrong. We need to examine what type of human takes domesticated animals and then forces them to be mean and then watches as they become severly injured or fight to the death. Society should be asking what is behind the psychosis of this type of person that considers this a sport. If it is a sport than football players should be playing with bats and swords. The only second chance Michael Vick should get is the opportunity to use his freedom in a positve way and show everyone that he does not need football to become what native american people call a true humanbeing. You can take the man out of the hood but you cant take the hood out of the man!
Posted By Michael , venice CA : 4:10 AM ET
Topic: Michael Vick crime. The crime is how your two guests totally missed the point. This is not about the dogs or if Vick deserves a second chance after he serves his sentence. We should be qustioning what is wrong with his mentality. What is behind the psychosis of an individual who takes a domesticated animal and forces them to behave like a wild one. What pleasure is he getting from this that he does not feel fullfilled with playing in the NFL and taking home a paycheck that people like me only dream of. The only second chance he should get should involve doing something positve with his freedom and that he does not need the NFL to become a successful human being. You can take the man out of the hood but you cant take the hood out of the man!
Posted By michael , venice CA : 4:33 AM ET
Hi Anderson,

Being from Mobile Alabama every time summer starts the first thing I think of is hurricane season. I'm constantly checking the weather and praying another storm like Katrina does not form. I can't believe its already been two years. My heart goes out to everyone suffering from Dean. Be careful out there Anderson... Hurricanes are so very unpredictable.
Posted By Meagan Alpharetta GA : 9:13 AM ET
Hey Anderson,

Natural disasters cause such a mess.
Dean sounds worse then an earthquake or a tornado.
Hopefully the people had some time to grab what they wanted and they had somewhere to go. Now it's time. The game of waiting.
Thanx for everything. Take care.
Posted By Karen, Boston, MA : 11:01 AM ET
Hey Anderson

I was kinda surprised to know you weren't covering Dean! And i did write in to Gary about how crazy it is sitting half way across the world watching the hurricane unfold. 2 years ago we experienced the worst floods Mumbai's ever had & in a few days we limped back to normal. Since then, these last two monsoons, most people are absolutely paranoid & want to get home quickly the moment we have a steady downpour. In most cases, their instinct is right.
People in most parts of the world feel shortchanged about the facilities or lack of it, in their city/ country. But what gives me hope is that people find the strength to pull it all together for themselves. And as crazy as things are getting everyday, I think that's something to be thankful for. As for local govts doing or not doing enough....that's a whole other story!
I love how you're so passionate about Katrina & the stories of the folks there.
Stay safe. Stay stong!
Posted By Avril Lobo, Mumbai, India : 2:43 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
You're right, it's not just wind and water that takes it's toll. It's losing your security, your shelter and your future as you had hoped for. All in one kick of Mother Nature or man-made disasters. But I still have no doubt about Americans. I think we will extend a helping hand to go anywhere at anytime to pick up the pieces..One piece at a time, over and over again. No wobbling, no wavering, no whining...We rise to the challenge. I hope that never changes. Take Care
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 4:26 PM ET
It is funny, but when you live in the Caribbean hurricanes are such a part of our lives that we sometimes become accustomed to them as many see them as their lot in life. While in Jamaica we were not as affected as other islands we continue to try and recover from Hurricane Dean while always playing in the back of our mind is the fact that the season is not over and there is still more to come. I want to thank you all at CNN for the coverage that you have given to our island.
Posted By Anonymous : 9:42 AM ET
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