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Tropical Depression Irma Batters Southern U.S.; Irma Causes Hundreds Of Atlanta Flight Cancellations; Officials Assess Irma's Damage In The Caribbean; U.S. Woman Stranded In Turks And Caicos During Irma; Caribbean Devastated By Irma At Least 36 People Killed; U.K. Government Wins Vote To Push Brexit Bill Forward; Bill Provides For Transition From E.U. To British Law; E.U. Withdrawal Bill Faces Final Vote Later This Year; U.N. Security Council Approves Tough New Sanctions. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired September 12, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: George, thank you. Tropical storm Irma has weakened from that monster hurricane that slammed into Florida on Sunday, and we are just starting to see some of the widespread devastation it has left behind in its way. Jacksonville remains under a flash flood warning. The mayor says teams are working to evacuate people from low-lying areas. In Southwest Florida, Irma damaged homes and downed power lines, thousands of people are still without power.
The Florida Keys also took a direct hit from the storm, but the full extent of the damage there is still largely unknown that's because the only road that connects the island chain to the mainland is closed. Now, despite the warnings to leave, thousands of people did stay in the keys to ride out the storm, and now the vast majority of those people are without power.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Here in Atlanta, Georgia, we're still feeling the effects, quite frankly of this storm. It is still raining. We saw those very strong winds gusting heavily, very strong through the center of this city. We saw flooding throughout the region here in the state of Georgia. We know that at least three people died from this storm. In South Carolina, one person died from this storm, and it is still affecting many people. More than 1.4 million customers are without power this hour, including myself, my own home here in the state of Georgia. A lot of people also affected at the world's busiest airport. I want to show you this image here. I say the world's busiest airport but look at that image, not so busy.
In fact, you get a sense of what happened there, given that there were so many delays and cancellations. Delta Airlines, which is based here in Atlanta, canceled more than 900 of its flights. Southwest Airlines, also canceling all of its flights, and flights are expected to resume. The airport is expected to get back to normal come Tuesday as this storm continues to move forward. Let's now bring in our Meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, tracking the storm. Pedram, this storm, as it moves north from Georgia, has the potential to affect some nine states?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. And it is at this hour actually, George, we're seeing the rainfall really spread across a very wide area. We know the winds with the storm at its peak where, of course, stretching over 300 miles across the storm system. But now I noticed this counted up to 10 states now are seeing at least some rainfall that is direct with what is left as Tropical Depression Irma now.
I want to touch on this, because you think about the storm system spending well over 40 hours now on land, about the same amount of time it spent over the open water as 185-mile-per-hour winds, which were sitting at the top of the category five chains. But you notice this, all of this, the coloration you see on satellite imagery, beginning to fade out. So, a lot of dry air being pushed right into the storm system. We expect this to lose almost all of its tropical characteristics.
By the way, Hurricane Irma, the name Irma will be retired as the name Harvey was retired. This only happens one at a time in U.S. history having back to back names of storms retire. So, we'll never have an Irma or a Harvey again, and thank goodness for that. Look at this, over eight million people are dealing with flood watches, flood warning in place. Parts of the coastal region of the Carolinas' the most significant impacts here from storm surge and flooding in the past several hours, and roughly 40 river gauges reporting significant flooding in place as well.
But look at the expansive nature of the number of states, the number of customers that lost power, and only three million customers, there are over three million customers without power, that would be the number one most destructive weather even for power outages in U.S. history. About 6.5 million for the state of Florida. So, it really shows you how wide encompassing this was, and this is a storm, of course, we tracked back to August 31st.
It came of portions of Leeward Islands landfall as a category five, decimating portions of Barbuda and Anguilla, working its way into portions of the Caribbean, and eventually land falling into the Turks and Caicos as category five -- strongest ever for the Turks and Caicos. First category five for Cuba since 1924. I want to show some of those damage left behind on islands around, say, Tortola, St. John, St. Thomas as well. You see a lot of the foliage here, a lot of the trees.
Come to the bottom portion of the screen, you see the before and after. Actually, all the green you see has disappeared out of defoliation from tremendous winds speeds. A lot of salt water being sprayed onto the islands as well. So, anything that's part of vegetation across this region when you're considering storm surges here was as much as 10 to 15 feet. Essentially, the very much hard pressed for any sort of vegetation to be able to regenerate over the next several years from the salt damage that has been done on top that from the spray.
But watching what's happening offshore again, because there is another element we're following: Hurricane Jose, category one. Not a very organized disturbance, but the forecast does a little bit of an interesting turn here over the next couple of days that we're going to watch. At this point, to be honest with you, it is a little too far out to be concerned about it. It is going to be approaching somewhere.
Notice this, this southern tier of this cone would be putting it right around portions of the northern Bahamas. But Michael, as you look at this, of course, this is the last thing you want to see. But some the models, the vast majority of them, honestly, say this will shift away from the United States. But it is important to keep our eyes out there in the Atlantic.
[01:05:04] HOLMES: Yes. All right. We appreciate that. Thanks so much. Now, Irma's powerful wind gust whipping through Miami on Sunday. When the storm passes southern tip of Florida, it was a category hurricane -- incredible start; historic, really. Thousands of trees torn down. The majority of the city lost power. Irma, also destroying or damaging many of the boats along the coastline -- expensive ones in some cases. Let's bring in CNN's Derek Van Dam live in Miami. Hard hit there, bring us the latest, Derek.
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN WEATHER REPORTER: Yes. Good evening, Michael. Well, the ocean water in Biscayne Bay thrust up across some of the marinas here in the Coconut Grove region. This is just south of Miami proper. And we're actually at the Bayshore Marina. And what you're looking at behind me is some of the worst damage that these have seen in 12 years. And we all know what happened 12 years ago: Katrina, Wilma, all in the same general vicinity causing destruction.
Now, let's talk about what happened here with Irma. We have the combination of 150 kilometers per hour wind gust, we also had a storm surge that rose well over 5 feet across some of these inlets and into the bay of Biscayne. And what that did was that it was -- a really, a recipe for disaster for this particular region. It's taking and tossing these multi-million-dollar boats and tossing them around like toys.
In fact, that luxury yacht behind is actually up on one of the concrete docks, and one of the jetties across this region behind me. There are also several unaccounted sailboats. Some of them only the masts are pointing actually above the water, they have sunk completely to the bottom of this marina. So, we have weeks or if not months of clean up to do here. And the insurance company, as you can bet, Michael, are going to have their hands full.
HOLMES: Yes. I was going to ask you, also we're talking -- George was mentioning earlier about the transportation difficulties out of Atlanta, with the world's busiest airport. I know here in Florida, there are still a lot of delays. I don't think Orlando airport open up properly until Tuesday. What about there in Miami, which is a very busy airport itself?
VAN DAM: Miami International, actually, suffered a considerable amount of water damage, and some structural damage, as well as strong winds, gusted over 100 miles per hour in that particular region. So, a tweet from the Miami International Airport said that they are going to start to resume slowly operations into the day on Tuesday. But their best advice to passengers is to double check with their airline and make sure that their flight is indeed taking off or landing Miami International. And by the way, Michael, Fort Lauderdale, just off the coast, they are resuming normal operation at 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
HOLMES: All right. Derek, we appreciate that. Derek Van Dam there in Miami. Now, some of Irma's worst damage may well be in the Caribbean, when the storm, of course, first made landfall. Polo Sandoval, reporting authorities now getting a better view of what Irma has done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Catastrophic damage across the Caribbean. A category five hurricane, packing winds of 285 miles per hour when roared to these islands late last week. Irma left almost total devastation in its wake. At least 36 people were killed, a number that almost surely will rise. Thousands are homeless. Businesses are wiped out. On many islands, there is little food or clean water. Thousands of American tourists and residents were among those stranded by the storm.
This is St. Martin today -- an Idyllic Resort turned to rubble overnight. The island of 72,000, took a direct hit from Irma. American officials say, they evacuated about 12,000 U.S. citizens from St. Martin, channeling them on military transport planes to nearly Puerto Rico. For those who remained, there has been almost no food, water, or power for days. And the search for those essentials quickly took a desperate turn. Looters, some reportedly, are demanded anything from food to a working car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the roof. The roof is about the come. Yes, there it is. The roof just went, just -- the whole roof. The whole roof just went flying right off.
SANDOVAL: Irma killed at least eight people when it pummeled the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. U.S. Navy personnel move into med- evac the most seriously injured, perhaps, hardest-hit, the tiny islands of Anguilla and Barbuda.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That sound, it was just all encompassing. And it really became at one point, a quite spin of whether we would live to see through it.
SANDOVAL: The island's prime minister, said Irma racked "total devastation" there.
PATRICK OPPMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I can barely hear it out. It's coming on through. Yes, let me just put my jacket on.
[01:10:04] SANDOVAL: Irma heavily flooded the streets of Havana, Cuba. Cuban authorities cut off power to parts of the city a safety measure. And as bad as Havana was hit, Cuba's northeast coast took an even worst pounding all just before Irma and set its sights on Florida. Polo Sandoval, CNN, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
(END VIDEOTAPE) HOWELL: Polo, thank you so much for that report. Let's talk now about the situation in Turks and Caicos, there in the Caribbean. A great deal of damage there since the storm passed through as a category five hurricane. And still, there, so many people who are stranded there, unable to leave. One of them, Kelly Rockwood, who joins us now on the line live this hour. Good to have you, Kelly. So, just tell us about, first of all, what it was like for you to be there when the storm passed through?
KELLY ROCKWOOD, STRANDED IN TURKS AND CAICOS (through telephone): It was extremely surreal, like looking back on it now it feels like it was ages ago. But it was pretty scary. I mean, the buildings were shaking. All of our ears were popping for hours because the pressure was so great. We could hear the debris hitting the building. We could see the waters seeping into our rooms. It was just kind of, there was a lot of waiting just to see if anything was going to -- any serious catastrophic damage was going to be done to where we were.
HOWELL: And Kelly, for our viewers around the world who may not be familiar with the islands there. Turks and Caicos, not really a great deal of elevation there. So, I'm curious, where did you end up riding the storm out?
ROCKWOOD: Yes. So, I rode it out at club med, the highest level of our resort. It's three floors, so we moved everyone from the bottom floor up to the second and third floor. We're about a football field away from the shore, so we had some room and if there was to be certain (INAUDIBLE). But luckily, (INAUDIBLE) was just rain. But yes, we're -- it's very low to the ground, the whole island. We got very lucky at our resort, just based on our foundation.
HOWELL: Kelly, so you know, my team and I. We were in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the time, and we also got to experience the full force of the storm -- a category five -- as it passed through. I say full force at the same, Puerto Rico, they did get spared a bit because the storm passed just to the north of that island -- very different from the situation there. It left a lot of people on that island, also, in the position that you're in right now where flights are limited. If you can try to get a flight out, it's hard to do. And we just explained the situation with Atlanta, with the major airports also in Florida. Hard to get a flight in. What's your plan? How are you going to deal with this?
ROCKWOOD: So, yes, it's been a pretty chaotic plan -- planning to get off of the island. We, as of today, Canada dispatched and Air Canada flight and a west jet flight to get off Canadians off the island, so it's just Americans left at this resort right now. The three carriers that are going to start coming tomorrow are Jet Blue, Delta, and United. We actually came in on American Airlines. They've really let us down, though, in terms of -- they are claiming they can't come on this island until the 16th.
And while they're saying this, these other airlines are dispatching humanitarian efforts with medical personnel and provisions for the people of this island, and using it as a resource to help the extremely devastated island. Our resort got lucky, but the rest of the island is rattled. So, we are relying on the other -- we booked like five different flights just hoping one would stick. So, we're currently waiting to see if we could possibly get off the island tomorrow via Jet Blue or Wednesday via Jet Blue. But we gave up on American Airlines getting us off this island.
HOWELL: Kelly, just talks to us if you could just about the infrastructure there. What's it like for people? Because after a storm like this pass, you know, then, people have to think about where do you get food? Where do you get water? Where do you find a place to sleep if your homes have been destroyed? Just from what you've seen, the infrastructure there, what is the situation?
ROCKWOOD: So, as a resort, we're really lucky because we have concrete buildings reinforced with steel. But 70 percent of the people that work at this hotel are locals, and we've been talking with them throughout the past couple of days. A lot of them, their houses, literally, got lifted up and put into the ocean. Their houses blew off, even the shelters. Whole walls just blew off in the storm while there are people in there taking refuge. So, (INAUDIBLE) has been doing is, like, our head security guard at the resort is sleeping in the gym right now because his home doesn't exist anymore.
And we've been collecting, like, I've donated some of my clothes, I know a lot of the other guests has donated clothes, toiletries, we're giving them out food rations for the week. The employees have been taking trips daily out into where the locals live, being led by our head security just to kind of help their neighborhoods. And I feel bad going on air and even complaining about the condition that I'm in. Yes, we don't have A.C. It's very inconvenient to miss work and all that stuff, but the people of this island lost everything. So, we are doing everything we can to just kind of ease some of that because of they -- it just put everything into perspective a little bit.
[01:15:44] HOWELL: You're right. I mean, there a lot of people who are inconvenienced. You point out that there are a lot of people, as you also indicate, you know, the reality is a lot of people lost everything. And you know, certainly, that region throughout the Caribbean, it's going to take some time for people to get back to a sense of normal. Kelly Rockwood on the phone with us. Thank you for being with us. We do hope that you get a flight back out to the states. Thank you for time today.
That's the very latest on our coverage at this point. The aftermath of Hurricane Irma. I'd like take it now back to my colleague Lynda Kinkade at CNN world headquarters with the latest news around the world, Lynda.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, George. We're going to go London after the break. A significant start for one of the Britain's biggest legislative changes in decades. What it means to Prime Minister Theresa May? We'll have a live report next. Plus, the U.S. Ambassador the U.N. says tough new sanction against North Korea, shows the worlds are ready to act to stop Pyongyang's nuclear program. We'll have more on that when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, in about two hours, the British Cabinet
is expected to make of the government's parliamentary victory, getting controversial Brexit deal moved forward to its next phase towards becoming law. Well, lawmakers voted on the E.U. withdrawal bill just after midnight, local time, after days of debate. The vote is seen as a success for the prime minister. Our Bianca Nobilo has more now from outside 10 Downing Street. And Bianca, this vote happened just after midnight, essentially it will allow E.U. laws removed into to be converted to U.K. laws. Just explain how the vote played out.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Lynda. Well, that's right. This bill would essentially copy and paste about 12,000 existing E.U. laws into British law. It would also give ministers powers to amend laws without full parliamentary scrutiny. And that is one of the contentious points which made this bill such nail-biter, and that's why the vote was quite uncertain. But it was approved, and it was voted by 326 votes to 290, and that gave the Prime Minister Theresa May a majority of 36 which is quite impressive considering she is in this weakened stance after the election, and she only has a working majority of 13. So, she did manage to win a few people over, particularly seven labor M.P.s -- that's a big opposition party in the U.K. that had been instructed to vote against the bill.
[01:20:29] KINKADE: Yes. Quite a victory for Theresa May that those opposition and pays crossed the party line. So, Bianca, what's the next step going forward?
NOBILO: The next step, and it's right to point that out because even though it is a victory for the prime minister that it passed, this hurdle, it's nowhere near the finish line. So, next, the bill goes to committee stage, and that's where M.P.s dissect it line by line. And a lot of M.P.s are hoping to see plenty of amendments at that stage. Because, as we said, the bill was contentious, and a lot of people aren't happy with it in its current form. After it's reached the committee stage, it will then go through to another reading, and another vote then through to the House of Lords. And then, all going well received royal assent from the queen.
KINKADE: All right. Bianca Nobilo, good to have you there out for 10 Downing Street in the early hours of the morning London. Thank you very much.
KINDADE: Well, a defiant North Korea is vowing to go ahead with its nuclear program despite tough new sanctions from the U.N. Security Council. Monday's unanimous vote came just a week after Kim Jong-un regime carried out its largest nuclear test, yet. Now, the sanctions will reduce North Korea's oil imports by 30 percent, will ban the country from exporting textiles -- one of its main sources of revenue. And they'll allow the inspection of ships believed to be carrying North Korea goods.
Our Will Ripley is standing by Pyongyang, North Korea. But first, let's go to Ian Lee in Seoul, South Korea for more on that vote. Ian, this is the ninth round of sanction since 2006. North Korea has managed to get around them in the past, what's the hope this time?
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lynda, I don't anyone's under the illusion that North Korea isn't going to skirt sanctions again, and what the United States has called very sophisticated evasion techniques by sea. But what this new resolution does? It gives more tools for countries to use to inspect shipping. Now, countries, where these ships are registered, have to agree to these inspections. But if they don't, then if there are suspicious vessels then they have to be redirected to a port for inspections, then if they refuse, then those vessels can be designated for an asset freeze, denied port of entry, deregistered or suffer other penalties.
You know, and this is very important for the North Koreans because they do a lot smuggling whether it's coal, iron, textiles, seafood, and they get a lot of revenue from that. You know, the one thing that the Americans wanted in this resolution: stronger teeth to use force to require these ships to stop for inspection, but no force was authorized in this resolution. Another thing that, really, this resolution relies on is for the cooperation of countries to inspect these vessels, it's one thing to pass this resolution that calls for the inspection of vessels. It's another thing for countries to comply and really make concerted effort to enforce that part of the resolution, Lynda.
KINKADE: Ian, just to remind viewers, I want to go back to Will Ripley now to get their response reaction there. Will, North Korea, we know, promised the greatest pain and suffering if this resolution passed. This is your 15th trip to North Korea, you know how they could respond better than anyone. What can we expect?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know the North Korea will eventually launch another missile at some point. The South Korea has -- they thought for several days that they've been ready to push the button at an ICBM, an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launch but that didn't happen over the weekend when the country celebrated its Foundation Day. It hasn't happened yet today after the U.N. sanctions vote. But North Korean officials are expressing their anger over this and also their defiance, they say that will continue to grow their economy and their weapons programs despite this now ninth round of U.N. Security Council's sanction.
And we should point out that North Korea has done a very good job over the years of getting around sanctions. They've become increasingly -- they have become increasingly sophisticated in their techniques as these sanctions have become increasingly sophisticated. And when we were on these streets here in Pyongyang, North Korea really wanted to make a point to show that life in the city goes as normal and that they are not, they say, fazed by all of this.
[01:25:06] RIPLEY: Here on the streets of the North Korean capital, there is no sense of nervousness or escalating tension. Pyongyang is a city in celebration mode. They all buzzing from the success of their biggest nuclear test ever, and their unprecedented barrage of missile launches. Over the weekend, their Leader Kim Jong-un hosted a glitzy gala for those nuclear scientists and other contributors to the H-bomb test, even playing in to show the first video of that test on a giant screen.
"This missile launches and nuclear tests are not a threat to international peace and security," this man says, "We're only giving strong warnings to the Americans." Those so-called strong warnings, leading to even stronger sanctions from the U.N. Security Council, they unanimously passed yet another round of sanctions: capping oil import, banning textile exports, and continuing to cut North Korea's ability to earn money.
Do you worry about life getting a lot harder because of these tests? "We don't worry very much," she says, "as long as we have Kim Jong-un, we'll survive." "We know the Americans may come back with many more sanctions," she says, "but in response, we Koreans will continue shooting up many more missiles, and conducting more H-bomb test."
North Korea's also celebrating a major national holiday: the 69th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. And it's customary on days like this for people to buy flowers, its stands that are set up all over the city and leave them at the statues of the two late leaders, President Kim Il-sung and General Kim Jong-il. These massive statues on Mansu Hill are an important gathering place here in Pyongyang. People bring their families, their children, you can even see people taking wedding photos. Coming here and paying respect is an expected part of life in the capital, home to the most trusted privileged North Korean.
Another expected part of life here: mass displays of patriotism. We've seen people rehearsing all over the city and this is the end result. This is designed to instill a sensitive community, and also to show loyalty to North Korea's Leader Kim Jong-un, a leader who continues to defy the outside world with what they considered provocative acts, while here inside the world he controls, life goes on.
RIPLEY: And Lynda, I have to say on the ground here in Pyongyang, we haven't observed any noticeable change in people's living standards. Other than that, they actually seem to be going up each time we visit the city, and this is, of course, in the North Korea capital -- home to the most privileged citizens with the highest living standard and the country conditions are different, obviously, in rural areas of North Korea. But at least for now here, where the privileged live, no impact is felt that we can see from these sanctions. But of course, they take a while to kick in, and so maybe a year from now we'll have to check back in and see what things are looking like.
KINKADE: Yes, incredible. Incredible scenes there on the state of Pyongyang. Good to have you there to get that perspective. Will Ripley for us in Pyongyang, thank you very much.
Well, the southern U.S. is now dealing with the devastation left by Irma. But for one family, it's time for celebration. Details on a dramatic delivery during the height of a hurricane after this break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[01:30:58] LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Lynda Kinkade, with the headlines this hour.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes, coming to you live from Tampa, Florida.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm George Howell, live in Atlanta, Georgia.
Our continuing coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
HOLMES: And Florida now copping with the devastating aftermath of that hurricane. Roads and homes were torn apart across the state. More than seven million are without power in the region. Officials don't know how widespread the damage is.
CNN's Miguel Marquez has more.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hurricane Irma slamming Florida with heavy rain and strong winds, and it is still on the move, making its way up the southeastern edge of the U.S.
Now weakened to a tropical storm, the danger not yet over. Streets flooded from the Florida Keys to South Carolina. Tonight, more than six and a half million people are without power in Florida alone.
Jacksonville hit with a record Irma-generated surge, turning its streets into rivers.
Storm surge warnings in effect for much of the western Florida coast and the entire Georgia coast.
Charleston now feeling Irma's wrath as waves crash onto its shores.
Ripping through the middle of Florida late Sunday, Irma battered the entire state with sustain winds and massive wind gusts.
Rescue efforts continue for those who stayed to wait out the storm.
In Marcum County, Florida's treasured coast, a Marine unit dispatched after two people tried to ride out the storm on their sailboats. They survived.
And a scuba diver, his life dangling by a rope, rescued near West Palm Beach.
The storm delivering more than just destruction. Coral Springs' emergency crews were called out to help deliver a baby in the height of the storm. Using their armored vehicle to navigate the strong winds in high water. JOHN WATSON, ASSISTANT CHIEF, CORAL SPRINGS FIRE DEPARTMENT: We got there, she was pretty much all the way out. The mother of the person in labor was actually pretty much delivering the baby, her granddaughter, in the bathroom on the floor. And I have never met or seen a more calm scene, and the chaos that was going on outside.
MARQUEZ: Miami streets flooded and left with huge sinkholes, leaving hazardous conditions as cars tried to steer through the murky waters.
The cost of damages yet to be assessed. One estimate, it will top Hurricane Katrina, even before it hit Florida.
(on camera): The big concern now for many communities across Florida is electricity. In places like Charlotte County, where I'm standing, they've been able to establish more electricity, but it's problems like this, trees down, lines down throughout neighborhood after neighborhood. It is going to take them a while to recover.
Miguel Marquez, CNN, Punta Gorda, Florida.
[01:35:00] HOLMES: Thank you for that report.
Also want to update viewers just into the CNN NEWSROOM. A flash flood emergency that has just been activated for downtown Charleston. It says this is a combination of extremely high tides with heavy rains have resulted in widespread dangerous flooding in downtown Charleston. Something we're following and our meteorologists are following as well.
This storm system did make its way through Georgia, South Carolina. It could affect nine other states as it pushes north.
Let's talk about the situation at the world's busiest airport. This Twitter user says it best: "Eerily quiet at the world's busiest airport." That's because there are so many delayed flights and cancellations. Delta Airlines canceling 900 flights. Southwest Airlines also in Atlanta canceling all of its flights.
Let's talk about the airports in Florida. Many of them had to close down over the weekend because of this storm. But they will regain partial activity come Tuesday.
Our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, is following all of this.
Pedram, you have an update on the situation in Charleston and other cities that are feeling the impacts of this storm as it pushes north.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. Definitely wide- reaching storm system. When it comes to Charleston, the city was already prone to flooding. But this storm system has some of the strongest storm surge we've ever seen on record for the city, the top three.
I want to show what's happening right now with what's left of Tropical Depression Irma. This is what we wanted to see for a long time, see the storm weaken, dissipate. It's happening at this hour. I want to show you why. Because the cool Canadian air is right back behind it. Keep in mind, cooler air is more dense and drier than warmer air. Had there been warmer air ahead, it would continue with heavy rainfall for several more days. The cool air, especially wringing the storm out, what energy is left of it. Damage already done. Upwards of a foot. Some areas about a foot and a half of rainfall to the state of Florida. In its entirety, 22 liters of water fell out of the sky. That's average when you calculate how much rainfall across the state. Bring it down to about 22 trillion liters, equivalent to 10 million Olympic-size pools, in the last couple of days. As this storm system moves over land, wind gusts exceeding 130 to 140 miles per hour.
Here's the story with the storm system. Category 5 landfall around Cuba. Approached Key West on Sunday, category 4. Just 16 days removed after another category 4 in Hurricane Harvey impacting Texas. That had never happened, having two cat 4s in the United States make landfall. Marco Island, made another landfall, a category 3, the same exact latitude and longitude as Hurricane Wilma made landfall several years ago. But then east to Tampa. We saw significant storm surge behind the storm system. On to Jacksonville and eventually into Charleston, where there's historic flooding. The storm system then pushed on into parts of the south. But the numbers our of Jacksonville, the highest totals we've seen for a storm surge, dating back to 1846. In Savannah, the Savannah River, 12-foot storm surge there, just missing Hurricane Matthew's 12.5 feet storm surge. Charleston approaching a 10-foot storm surge, third place for the largest storm surge on the coast. Now that flash flood emergency in place across that region as well.
The storm system really began several weeks ago. Exploded from a tropical storm, skipped category one, into a category 2. Made landfall across the Leeward Islands. The strongest landfall of any hurricane across the Turks and Caicos. The first category 5 to make landfall in Cuba since 1924. You look back across the region of the Caribbean and this is what it looked like. Fascinating.
Show you what I notice when I look at this. You see a lot of greenery, foliage, the trees on the island. Post the storm moving out, you see what is left. You get tremendous winds that bring down the foliage and trees. A lot of ocean spray, so the ocean water, salt water content makes the vegetation here, Michael, something that will be hard-pressed to see regrow, at least over the next few years. This is a devastating storm not only for the properties across this region, but even the vegetation is going to be scared for many years to come.
HOLMES: Pedram, thanks so much. I appreciate that.
I want to go to Ed Dean, on the line from Jacksonville, Florida. He's a morning radio host from WBOB.
Ed, thanks for being with us.
Jacksonville got hit with that historic water surge. Tell us what is was like. ED DEAN, MORNING RADIO HOST, WBOB (via telephone): Michael, good to be with you. This was predicted to originally hit the east coast of Florida. Then the cone moved to central and then the west coast of Florida. Jacksonville evacuees were supposed to take this serious days in advance to get out of town. Then when the storm started going west, people thought, well, maybe I should not have to leave town. The storm came up around 1:00 Monday morning. Around 7:00, before the water came in, we gone on the air, and the mayor says, along with the Emergency Management Operation, says, lookout, folks, the floods are coming. This was after a lot of rain, Michael. A storm surge of a category 3 storm, higher than predicted. Floods started to rise. People ended up getting stuck. What's been reported was an emergency flood warning. The waters came up quickly and caught a lot of people off guard. This isn't the first time we flooded, Michael. Last year, with Hurricane Matthew, it was a 2.2-plus surge. This time it was almost at six feet.
[01:40:43] HOLMES: Wow. That's extraordinary. I was down there covering Matthew, and this was a whole other category. I think the mayor said they are still in rescue mode. They're not even moving into recovery mode.
What's been the reaction of the locals there? What are they saying that their feelings going forward are after this?
DEAN: That the city is there. The city has been talking about this, Michael for the last week about a need to evacuate. The mayor came out, and it's gotten so bad in some areas. You and I covered hurricanes for years. It's gotten so bad the mayor says, because of the wind, so many people out there, please wave something white, like a flag or sheet, to let us know you are in distress. The power is out in the area. People understood this. But this has also been the problem. These areas like Houston, Louisiana, and here in Florida, something has to be done about fixing the problem. But it caught some people off guard. Remember, Jacksonville was not supposed to get any part of the storm. Ninety-mile-an-hour winds, but the storm surge was supposed to about two feet, what you covered in Hurricane Matthew last year. This time, up to almost six feet. Caught a lot of people off guard.
HOLMES: Indeed. I also covered Hurricane Sandy. That storm surge was extraordinary. Lifted entire houses up and dumped them in the middle of the road. That's the big thing, the storm surge. People in Jacksonville, you say they weren't meant to be the brunt. They're weren't, indeed. It was meant to be -- for a while there, Tampa was worried about what was going to happen on the west side. What about preparations there. Do people feel they're being well served?
DEAN: Preparations, I must say the mayor has done a dynamic job going into this. If you talk to 100, you'll have maybe three or five come back and say, this is (INAUDIBLE). There have been no complaints. Everybody should have been prepared. The only downfall, Michael, with Tampa - I'm born and raised in Florida. You said you covered with Superstorm Sandy. Tampa, it was reported by CNN, remember, because of the wind coming in, it showed that two or three feet of water pretty much shallow. I think some of the people in Jacksonville said, hey, that will happen on the west coast. It can't happen here. It did happen. Record flooding came in. But there was a lot of notice, a lot of preparation. I think some people -- a lot of people did leave town. But a lot of people saw it's moving to the west coast, it can't really touch us. That's what effected the impact.
HOLMES: Ed Dean, WBOB, I appreciate it. Great to talk to you. We'll talk to you again later as well.
Meanwhile, if you want to learn how you can help Hurricane Irma victims, and a lot of people do, log on to CNN.com/impact. You can donate to one of the charities we have already vetted. You can volunteer your time. There's great information on that Web site, so check it out.
We'll have much more on the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in our next hour.
But first, Lynda Kinkade is following other stories in Atlanta
Lynda, before I throw it over to you, I want to show you the "Tampa Bay Times," in Tampa. The headline is: "We're lucky." There was a lot of damage done here. Houses were destroyed. There was localized flooding and the like. But they feel they really dodged a bullet here because, for a while, the storms eye was off the west coast. If that had stayed the track, they would have had a monster storm surge here. This is a city that's particularly vulnerable. It has a lot of low- lying areas that have been built on, multi-million homes. There's a lot of waterfront around here that stretches inland. They were terrified. The mayor told me he thought it would be like a punch to the face. In a way, because the eye moved inland, to the east, it wasn't as bad as first thought. Today, they do feel pretty lucky here in Tampa -- Lynda?
01:45:05] KINKADE: Very lucky where you are. I remember you were traveling, following the hurricane before.
KINKADE: You and George and the doing a great job.
Thanks, Michael. We'll see you very soon.
Still to come on CNN NEWSROOM, at night, leaving everything at home and hoping to make it to the border with their lives. What the White House and the U.N. are saying Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya people. We'll have that story when we come back.
[01:52:42] KINKADE: Welcome back. Pope Francis is sending a message to world leaders skeptical about global warming. The pope spoke on the papal plane before returning to the Vatican from his visit to Colombia. He said history will judge those who deny climate change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) POPE FRANCIS (through translation): We will not go backwards. We will go down, that is true. Climate change, you can feel the effects. And the scientists tell us clearly the road to take. All of us have a responsibility. All of us, some small, some big, a moral responsibility to not accept to give one's opinions or make decisions. And we have to take it seriously. I think it is something we cannot joke about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Pope Francis had this to say about President Donald Trump's decision to end a program that protects undocumented immigrant children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS (through translation): I hope they rethink it. Because I heard the U.S. president speak. He represents himself as a person who is pro-life. If he is a good pro-life believer, he must understand that family is the cradle of life and one must defend its unity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: The pope is recovering from a minor accident he suffered during his trip in Colombia. Francis bumped his head while on the pope-mobile. He bruises a cheekbone and cut his left eyebrow.
We want to turn to Myanmar. The Trump White House today condemning the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The U.N.'s top human rights official is also speaking out on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZAID RAAD AL-HUSSEIN, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: Last year, I warned that the pattern of gross violations of the human rights of Rohingyas suggested a widespread of systematic attack against the community, possibly amounting to crimes against humanity if so established by a court of law. Because Myanmar has refused access to human rights investigators, the current situation cannot be -- sorry, cannot yet be fully assessed. But the situation remains or seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:50:01] KINKADE: A group says more than 300,000 Rohingyas have fled across the border to Bangladesh since fighting broke out two and a half weeks ago.
Bangladesh says it needs $77 million in aid to help the new arrivals.
As our Alexandra Field reports, most of the refugees cross the border at night.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (CROSSTALK)
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's no hope they can save anything but themselves. Hundreds of thousands on a treacherous journey trickling by boat into Bangladesh night after night.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): We fled into the mountains and hid there for a couple of days. When we went back to our houses, we saw everything was burnt down. They killed people by stabbing, slaughtering and starting fires.
FIELD: What's happening on the other side of the river in Myanmar, captured by satellite images, that show entire villages burned to the ground.
This is home to Rohingyas, a people often called the world's most persecuted. The minority Muslim group lives in a predominantly Buddhist country.
Forced on a deadly journey over water, through the jungles, under fire, to escape a living hell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): One of my relatives, when she was fleeing, she came back to get her burka. The army fired a rocket-propelled grenade and she died.
FIELD: The nighttime exodus is almost a third of Myanmar's Rohingya population in just two weeks. Nearly 300,000 Rohingyas fleeing on foot. Bodies, including children, are pulled from the river that leads refugees in Bangladesh. As many as 80 refugees are believed to have drowned.
This Rohingya man tells us he's working to find landmines laid along the border. A weapons expert confirms there are live mines, some of the perils of the 300,000 Rohingyas who are now staying in the hillside, without food, without supplies, unable to get to the river crossing and too fearful to turn back. Others are stuck in villages.
UNIDENTIFID MALE: Now we have reached to another village and it is safe. But we don't know when they will start shooting and setting fire to this village. But we hope we will stay safe here.
FIELD: CNN cannot verify these accounts. The government does not allow media access to the area.
But the United Nations estimates at least a thousand people have died in violence that broke out at the end of August, triggered by a militant attack on border guards, the military responded with intensified campaign to basically target terrorists. Human rights groups call it ethnic cleansing.
UNIDENTIFEID MALE (through translation): They are killing us because we are Muslims. They want to destroy all Muslims in the state. We don't want to go back. They will kill us. FIELD: The Rohingyas now rapidly leaving the country where they have lived for generations, a place where they aren't recognized as citizens, the second exodus in a year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): The burned everything. They killed my husband. They beat him to death.
FIELD: Like the rest, she says she has nothing to go back to. She was desperate to leave.
Alexandra Field, CNN.
[01:54:55] KINKADE: Welcome back. Tuesday is a big day for Apple. And 2017 marks the 10-yeer anniversary of the iPhone. To celebrate, the company is holding a huge event to launch the iPhone 8. But it comes with a hefty price tag.
CNN's Samuel Burke reports.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN MONEY BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Would you drop one grand or more for the latest iPhone? For the first time in the Smartphone's 10-year history, analysts predict that Apple will launch three different models. They believe the most expensive one will cost a jaw-dropping $1,000.
Apple is playing catch up to rivals, like Samsung, which already has a new beveled screen. The latest iPhone is rumored to have a similar design with the screen going from edge to edge.
And your face may become your password. Another feature where Apple lags behind its competitors. Facial recognition will allow you to unlock your phone and make payments.
Hopefully, it won't be as easily fooled as the Samsung Note 8 is. People are getting in with just a photo of the phone's owner.
The biggest hassle may be relearning how to use your iPhone. Apple may drop the physical home button we're all so used to and replace it with a digital bar.
Another way the iPhone could be catching up, wireless charging. A whole bunch of Samsung models already charge wireless.
And Apple is taking a page from SnapChat, which made augmented reality so popular. Apple's recent A.R. kit (ph) is already I the hands of developers. They're hoping to camera on the next iPhone could be specially designed with a laser censor to make those famous selfie photos look even more realistic.
(END VIDEOTAPE) KINKADE: Looking good, Samuel Burke.
This is a funny story. Can a monkey claim copywrite? This is not a trick question. It's about a legal battle over this picture of Naruto, a crested black monkey who took this now world-famous selfie. The photographer that owns the camera that Naruto used has settled with an animal rights group in a lawsuit over who owns the rights to this picture. The photographer agreed to donate 25 percent of the photo's future royalties to charities that protect the monkey's habitat.
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Lynda Kinkade.
The news continues on CNN right after this. Stay with us.
[02:00:10] HOLMES: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN