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CNN NEWSROOM

Aired October 8, 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]

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MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company.

We do begin this hour with Hurricane Nate, which is taking a second swipe at the southern U.S. The category 1 storm making a second landfall along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi with drenching rains and damaging winds.

There is no mandatory evacuation in Mississippi but the state's governor did urge people to head away from the Gulf for their own safety.

Nate made its first landfall on the U.S. mainland in the southeast part of Louisiana just a few hours ago. A state of emergency remains in effect for parts of Mississippi and Biloxi's mayor tells CNN, a big worry, the storm surge from Nate that could trap people. CNN's Martin Savidge is in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Martin, we've been watching your live shots the last couple of hours. Conditions have gotten worse on that storm surge. Bring us up to date.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All of a sudden, Michael, it's just as if someone turned off the tap, it has stopped. The wind continues to blow. And the problem that has been the worry is the storm surge and that's still here.

You can't tell because we've lost so much power, lights have been going out here but the ocean, Gulf is now right over U.S. Highway 90 here. In fact, Highway 90 is just one big river waterway here. You've seen a lot of debris flowing down that.

That's been the worry for the people here, especially for the first responders. That's the major east-west roadway they could use along the waterfront. There are others. That's one reason why there is a curfew in effect and continues.

It's also another reason why they told some 12 hotels and casinos shut down because they were worried about having a large tourist population along the waterfront and not within access of first responders, should something go horribly wrong.

This is not a worst-case scenario as hurricanes go. It's a strong one blowing in, it's coming at night and coming at high tide. That's what's blowing the storm surge that they're estimating is at 7-11 feet. Hopefully it's going to stabilize pretty much where it's at right now.

The first responders, the police to our left here, are here keeping an eye because they want to see how high the water goes as well. But the rain has just stopped completely.

This is a fast moving storm. And that's to the benefit of keeping it from strengthening on the incredibly warm Gulf waters. Think of it as if you're trying to run at full speed and drink a glass of water at the same time. You can't. That's true of this storm.

It could not gain its strength from the water as it might normally do because it's moving at 23, 24 miles an hour, which means it should move on quickly inland -- Michael.

HOLMES: Which would be good news, of course. It is incredible how the rain stops and starts like that. When it comes to the storm surge, as you point out, high tide is a factor as well.

Is the sense there that this is as bad as it will get?

SAVIDGE: It is. We're right at that period of high tide. And since it also should be right about that time that Nate is coming ashore and the winds have quit and the rains seem to have subsided, we're all hoping this is as bad as it gets here in Biloxi. They're hoping that and this was their greatest concern.

So they're watching it very, very carefully. As I say, much of the public has remained indoors as they should and they've battened down the hatches. So if this is as bad as it gets, they'll be OK.

HOLMES: Martin Savidge, thanks so much there, getting a little bit of a respite. Last hour he was getting pummeled there.

Let's get the latest in on Nate's status. Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera joins us now with that.

I don't know if you saw Martin last hour but he really was getting hammered but it seems to have stopped.

What's going on?

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HOLMES: I suppose when you look at it in the context of this hurricane season and certainly what we saw from Irma and Maria, this could have been a lot worse.

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: This was never going to be an Irma or Maria. The scary thing is that it was moving through very warm Gulf waters here and we had the upper level winds that were live. Two things that favor rapid intensification. So this can go from a tropical storm to a pretty high-end hurricane in a quick amount of time. The reason it didn't was because of its forward speed.

If this had been churning for on the Gulf of Mexico 12-48 hours, we would be seeing a different animal here. But thankfully that did not happen. What you're seeing here is a category 1 hurricane impacting with the southeast although it is the third hurricane to hit the United States in six weeks and that hasn't happened in almost a decade.

HOLMES: Yes, exactly. Fast moving, good thing in this case. Good to see you, Ivan, Ivan Cabrera there.

As the U.S. deals with Hurricane Nate, millions of people across Central America are beginning the recovery process from what was a tropical storm when it went through there. That storm killed at least 28 people. Reuters reported more than half a million people do not have clean water at the moment. 18,000 don't have electricity. Landslides flooding, damaging hundreds of roads and bridges.

The president of Costa Rica calling for help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have serious damage to roads. Some of the bridges and culverts were completely destroyed. This is a call, it's a call to the whole country. We will also call other communities to offer help. We will ask them to help us to clean the roads and places if it is possible and will not cause risk to these people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: In Nicaragua, the storm has damaged thousands of homes and vital infrastructure.

The Las Vegas shooter left some hints behind. Coming up on the program, this note was found in his hotel room. A source is telling us what was written on it.

Also President Trump firing off another Twitter threat against North Korea. Reporters asked him about it as headed off to a Republican fund-raiser but he wasn't any less mysterious about it. We'll be right back.

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HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone.

Hurricane Nate making a second landfall. The National Hurricane Center says the category 1 storm is moving north along the Mississippi coast with winds of 85 miles or 137 kilometers an hour. On Saturday, Nate made its first U.S. landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River. Heavy rains are stoking the Gulf Coast all the way from Louisiana to Florida.

Some areas could get up to 10 inches or 25 centimeters. And officials expect dangerous storm surges. Also fallen trees and downed power lines. More than 7,000 households are already without power in the state of Alabama.

Almost a full week after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, police in Las Vegas are still trying to find out why a rich gambler did it, killing 58 people. Well, now we're getting new information about a note found in his hotel room. Our Stephanie Elam with more from Las Vegas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Calculations, that's what investigators now believe that the numbers written on the note pad found in the shooter's suite were. This was first reported by CBS News, but what they believe is there were calculations related to distance and trajectory from the window of the shooter's suite on the 32nd floor down to the venue.

Of course, having this one piece of information doesn't help at all with the motive, which is the one thing that is still very much frustrating investigators, they still say it's unclear why this 64- year-old man would do such a heinous crime, they do not know why he would do that.

But we do have a little bit more information about the man who may have really helped stop this from being a much more tragic event. It's hard to believe that we could even think of that. But here's what they're saying Jesus Campo did. He was responding to an open door alarm on the 32nd floor. Several doors down from where the shooter was staying. It had nothing to do with the shooter.

But when he came upon that floor, remember, the shooter had cameras out in the hall, they believe the shooter saw him on the camera and then started to engage with him, shot through the door, hitting Campos in the leg. But because of Campos' quick reaction, he radioed down to security, they were able to tell police where this shooter was on the 32nd floor, if it hadn't been for him showing up on the floor and then also making that call, it could have taken first responders much longer to figure out which floor the shooter was using to rain down bullets on the concert venue.

So, wrinkle, huge detail there, this could have been a much worse situation had it not been for Jesus Campos -- Stephanie Elam, CNN, Las Vegas, Nevada.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: President Trump is back in Washington after traveling to Greensboro, North Carolina, on Saturday night. for a high-dollar fund-raiser. It was his first trip back to that state after becoming president. As you can see, he arrived in a steady rain.

Before leaving the White House, he did speak with reporters, who had to shout questions over the roar of the presidential helicopter. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You people ever rest?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Well, if we could make a deal at least on a temporary basis because ObamaCare has exploded, it's gone. The premiums are through the roof. If we could make a temporary deal because ultimately we'll have it back in the states.

But if we made a difference here, I think it would be a great thing for the people. ObamaCare is a disaster. The numbers are out. It's imploding like I doesn't everyone.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

What's the one thing that'll work?

TRUMP: Well, you'll figure that out pretty soon.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Very good relationship. (INAUDIBLE). That was fake news. That was fake news by NBC, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about (INAUDIBLE) John Kelly?

TRUMP: I've known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I'm not at all surprised to see it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about chief of staff, John Kelly?

TRUMP: John Kelly is one of the best people I've ever worked with. He's doing an incredible job. And he told me for the last two months he loves it more than anything he's ever done. He's a military man and he loves doing this more than anything he's ever done.

He will be here, in my opinion, for the entire seven remaining years.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) Secretary Tillerson?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: He likes Secretary Tillerson, so do i. We have a very good relationship.

But other than that, we have a very good relationship. We disagree on a couple of things. Sometimes I'd like him to be a little bit tougher. But other than that, we have a very good relationship.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)?

TRUMP: Well, he's (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: That's locker room. That's locker room.

Go ahead.

Well, we're going to see what happens. So now I am going to the really great state, the state that I love of North Carolina and I'll see you later. Go home and rest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: What?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: You're going to see very soon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: I want to go back to our top story, Hurricane Nate moving back across the U.S. Gulf Coast right now where I want to bring in storm chaser, Reed Timmer, from Biloxi, Mississippi.

Reed, we were talking earlier to Martin Savidge and Ivan Cabrera was saying, it looks like you're in the eye at the moment and it's a bit quieter.

Tell us what you're seeing and feeling there.

REED TIMMER, STORM CHASER: Today is a little bit quieter, a lot of quieter, actually. (INAUDIBLE) the northwestern, northern eyewall of Hurricane Nate. We had wind gusts gusting over (INAUDIBLE) 80 mph (INAUDIBLE). We're going to funnel through the building.

We're at the Golden Nugget casino just outside of there. There's water several feet deep (INAUDIBLE) wading out into it and that storm surge (INAUDIBLE) really fast on the east side. There's (INAUDIBLE) the causeway that goes up and over (INAUDIBLE) southeast Mississippi and the water came in very fast.

(INAUDIBLE) that eyewall came in (INAUDIBLE) we had to retreat to higher ground near the hotel. And the water is (INAUDIBLE) lower floors of the hotel and the package garage, where all the water is still deep, it hasn't receded yet. And the wind has died down, though. We are on the southwest side of this storm, which is open to the southwest and the most dangerous portion of the storm is to the east, (INAUDIBLE) so the good thing is that the worst has passed here, Biloxi. But the floodwaters do continue.

HOLMES: You've covered a few of these storms, you've chased a few of them.

How does it compare, the feeling is -- we look at that storm surge is terrifying really. It could have been worse.

What are you thinking?

TIMMER: This is a category 1 and I'm looking at floodwaters right now that are several feet deep at -- imagine if a category 2 or 3 hurricane or even a 4 hurricane came through here, it would be a absolutely devastating with water in excess of 10-15 feet deep. The winds are still category 1 as well but there is some damage throughout the area. But this is a very storm surge prone area in the Central Gulf Coast as well. So even a category 1 hurricane can cause substantial flooding on cavity of the shoreline, the inlets that are here as well, the winds piling up that water in this area.

So even a category 1 hurricane, you could still get a very bad storm surge. So I'm guessing that flooding across Biloxi is quite substantial. Even a wave from the several feet deep water that we're looking at really good now.

HOLMES: When you're talking about a storm surge, how quickly will it go back?

TIMMER: It usually in a way fairly quickly, especially (INAUDIBLE) barrier islands, (INAUDIBLE) very fast, almost like a tsunami. (INAUDIBLE) eyewall comes in, there's waves (INAUDIBLE). The water rises very rapidly and that usually it goes pretty quickly (INAUDIBLE) quite surprised to still see this water that's several feet deep hanging around here on this island.

I hear that Biloxi (INAUDIBLE) with the water is (INAUDIBLE) it is still several feet deep here in Biloxi, even though the wind has subsided.

HOLMES: Reed, before I let you go, as I say, do you this pretty much for a living. Why do you do it?

Tell us about the importance of what it is you do.

TIMMER: Well, I've been obsessed with weather since I was 5 years old. For as long as I've wanted to know I've wanted to be a storm chaser. As soon as I got my driver's license, I realized that I could drive to these storms. But I have to wait for them to come to me. But as I in a way Oklahoma for 17 (INAUDIBLE) ever since. And seeing Mother Nature at her most extreme, it's documented in a way most importantly (INAUDIBLE) getting people out of the way of these things and increasing awareness for the devastating impact (INAUDIBLE). HOLMES: Accuweather storm chaser, Reed Timmer, good to talk to you, Reed. Thank you so much.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, we're continuing to track Hurricane Nate for you. The dangerous storm taking a second swipe at the U.S. southern mainland. We'll have the latest for you coming up.

Also for his birthday, President Vladimir Putin received protests across Russia. Activists would like to be able to wish him a happy retirement from power. We'll have that and more when we come back.

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HOLMES: And welcome back to our continuing coverage of Hurricane Nate. The fast-moving category 1 storm making a second landfall near the U.S. Gulf Coast near Biloxi, Mississippi.

This is the third hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in just the last six weeks. Nate's first landfall coming at the mouth of the Mississippi River a few hours ago, it could be a long, anxious night for people along the Gulf Coast.

A big concern is the storm surge from Nate. The rising water lapping at the doors of the Golden Nugget casino in Biloxi. Casinos and hotels there did close ahead of the storm. The people got out. And you can see that was probably a smart move.

Let's get an update on Nate's strength and position.

(WEATHER REPORT)

HOLMES: Let's get a view from the ground now. Ed Lavandera has been following all of this from Mobile, Alabama.

Last time I saw you pop up it was pretty quiet.

What's going on there now?

How has it been?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the winds have intensified here, Michael, and the rain coming down, not heavily but steadily and you can get a sense of the storm surge as well and that power and the wind is pushing the water up north.

What you see behind me might be rather hard to make out, we're up on the edge of Mobile Bay on this harbor. And just over this railing, that water is moving at a strong clip from south to north back over this way and that is that storm is moving north, pushing a lot of the water here back inland. And that is what that storm surge is about. It's what that storm surge is being monitored and watched very closely in communities all along the Gulf Coast here, not only in Alabama and Mississippi as well, even with the winds not as -- I don't even think we're close to experiencing hurricane force winds here in Mobile.

But it is definitely strong enough to get that water pushing north. The rain fall is what creates the potential for flooding situation at least for roads to get covered up with water. Obviously, all of this taking place in the darkness of this evening. which is obviously of great concern for first responders.

Throughout the day there's been a sense of complacency, perhaps but at least at the very minimum, a very relaxed sense of the need to prepare and take a whole lot of precautions for this storm.

From a lot of people we saw across Mississippi and Alabama as well, so even though it is the overnight hours, there's always that concern that people might try to venture out, going to themselves into difficult situations. That's the kind of that first responders very nervous about, given that not many people were extremely worried about this storm and the magnitude of this storm coming ashore.

That is what we're seeing here, rather steady winds over the last few minutes, definitely not as strong as the hurricanes we have seen over the last months. But definitely something that emergency responders here concerned about as this storm continues to push its way north and moving rather quickly -- Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, and thousands of people without power as well. Ed, thanks so much. Appreciate that. Ed Lavandera there in Alabama.

Let's bring in Michael Beyerstadt now. He is the fire chief of Gulfport, Mississippi.

Thanks so much for being with us. First of all, just give us a situation report on what you have seen there.

MICHAEL BEYERSTADT, GULFPORT FIRE CHIEF: OK, well, we had storm surge and the wind gusts. We have reports of one gust up around 70 mile an hour. So it's not quite as bad as we feared, but our motto is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. And at this point, it seems like in Gulfport here, for the most part, we have gotten that.

HOLMES: Right, what have been your concerns and what remain your concerns?

BEYERSTADT: You know, we had a structure fire that we had to go out and fight right in the height of the storm, when we were seeing some very -- there's a lot of 45, 40, 50 mile-an-hour gusts. That's a very dangerous situation to have wind-driven fire like that.

We do have flooding here in Gulfport Highway 90, which is impassible for several areas, we're getting reports some of the other roads that are prone to flooding that are impassible at this time.

HOLMES: When you compare it to the possibilities, I suppose if this storm had hung around in the Gulf and picked up some more activity from the warm waters, are you feeling something of a sense of relief at the moment?

BEYERSTADT: Oh, definitely. We feel blessed that it looks like at this point it hasn't been near as bad as what it definitely could have been. So we're definitely feeling blessed this time.

HOLMES: What's your message to people in your area who might be listening right now?

BEYERSTADT: One, I'm very proud of them. The people that were in low-lying areas appear to have largely gotten out and people have obeyed the curfew and we haven't had to go out and rescue people who've gotten themselves in bad situations during the height of the storm too much.

So very happy with them and just be careful. We are getting a lot of reports of wires down. And so electricity is a very dangerous thing for people to be delaying with as they go out and start looking around in the morning.

HOLMES: Good advice. Michael Beyerstadt, the fire chief of Gulfport, Mississippi, thanks. Appreciate it.

All right, coming up here on the program, a massive fireball in Ghana's night sky sends people running for their lives. We'll have a look at that. We'll have the latest on this for you after the break.

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HOLMES: Welcome back.

The U.S. president on Saturday firing off another round of threatening tweets toward North Korea, he suggested the U.S. has wasted time and money talking with Pyongyang. Mr. Trump concluded that,, quote, "only one thing will work," although he did not explain what exactly that meant.

Meanwhile, CNN has traveled to a city in Eastern China near the North Korean border. Pyongyang's latest nuclear test in September shook the Chinese city like an earthquake and left a lot of rattled nerves. CNN's Matt Rivers has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The nuclear test on September 3rd was North Korea`s largest to date that triggered an earthquake and international reaction was swift. The U.N. Security Council passed new sanctions, Donald Trump threatened to completely destroy North Korea and Kim Jong-un warned his next test would be over the Pacific Ocean.

But at the exact moment of this latest test, the people in the Chinese city of Yangzi (ph), just 120 miles from the test site, didn`t know about the nuclear blast or the international outcry that would follow. All they knew was that the earth was shaking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Is this an earthquake in my apartment?

RIVERS: Hundreds of thousands of people felt the physical repercussions of a nuclear test without knowing at first what it was. Many rushed outside to safety.

(on camera): This is where you were when the earthquake happened.

(voice-over): This man, a butcher, was asleep in his bed.

(on camera): So, were you scared?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): All of a sudden, everything began shaking back and forth. So, I ran outside and everyone was saying it was an earthquake. I had no idea what was going on.

RIVERS (voice-over): An entire city thinking the same thing, though collectively about to connect the nuclear dots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Everybody came in and said it was an earthquake. A bit later, we realized it was from the North Koreans.

RIVERS: Wang Zhou Zhion (ph) runs a restaurant in town, where conversations have lately focused on Kim Jong-un`s nuclear program and what it could mean for them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I`m worried about the radiation. It could really hurt us.

RIVERS: Concerns over radiation escaping from the test site have increased with each explosion. Some experts have suggested that the mountain at the site had even collapsed, spewing deadly radiation into the air and quickly across the Chinese border. China says it has not detected anything of the sort and that its military keeps a vigilant watch over air quality levels. But in Yangzi (ph), for some parents, it`s of little comfort.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I have a 4-year-old daughter. These tests could make buildings collapse. There could be radiation. I`d like to move to Beijing or Shanghai, but I don`t have the money.

RIVERS: So, it`s fair to say that people are more nervous about the constant nuclear activity going on not that far away from here. But there is also this kind of pervasive sense that, well, there is not much that we can do about it and we still got to pay the bills and we still got to take the kids to school, so life goes on, right?

(voice-over): So, the restaurants are still open. There is still outdoor recess and new buildings are going up, even if they might be shaken by another nuclear test soon -- a concerted effort to look past a problem that`s becoming increasingly hard to ignore -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Yangzi (ph), China. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: And we continue to follow Hurricane Nate as it hits the U.S. Gulf Coast.

But first we want to bring you some other headlines as well.

In Catalonia, protests on the streets on Saturday but these demonstrators were calling for dialogue. Many carried white balloons and signs saying, "Let's talk." This follows last weekend's vote for independence. It's not yet known if the Catalan president will actually declare independence next week.

On the 65th birthday of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, activists are demanding this to be his last birthday in office. A key opposition figure behind bars called for nationwide rallies. Monitors say more than 200 protesters were detained. CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance with more from St. Petersburg.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Kremlin dismisses him as a fringe political figure but the truth is, Alexei Navalny, Russia's main opposition figure, has become a painful thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin.

But this opposition rally in St. Petersburg timed to coincide with President Putin's 65th birthday is meant to show just how painful.

What do you think are the chances of President Putin leaving and Alexei Navalny taking his place?

What's the possibility?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very low possibility, sir. Yes, but there is the chance to change everything in Russian political life.

CHANCE (voice-over): And across Russia, similar protests unsanctioned by the Kremlin were held. Alexei Navalny himself was unable to attend. He was jailed for 20 days earlier this month. But from Moscow to Vladivostok in Russia's far east, Navalny supporters have come out to demand political competition in Russia and for their leader to be allowed to stand in presidential elections here next year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm not satisfied with the current situation in the country. I'm not happy with the authorities. We practically don't have freedom of speech. We have strict censorship on television and the only contender opposed to Putin isn't allowed in any way to take part in the elections.

CHANCE: It would be a massive climbdown to allow Navalny a presidential bid. He's been convicted in a criminal case, excluding him formally from office. But his popular online campaign against official corruption has struck a chord among many Russians. He may not be poised to topple President Putin but Alexei Navalny is

now a real force in Russian politics -- Matthew Chance, CNN, St. Petersburg.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: Meanwhile, authorities in Ghana's capital are investigating a natural gas explosion that sent that massive fireball into the sky on Saturday fight. Incredible images there.

One government official told a local radio station that a number of people had been killed or injured in the blast and they're working to determine just how many. The explosion happened in a populated area known as Atomic Junction, near a transit hub and a universe and sent terrified eyewitnesses running for their lives.

In Saudi Arabia, an attack on the royal palace in Jeddah; state media say two security guards have been killed, three others wounded, after a gunman opened fire outside the palace gates. The gunman was a 28- year-old Saudi national and reportedly armed with a Kalashnikov and Molotov grenades. He was killed. His motive is not yet known.

Saudi security officials are investigating. Saudi King Salman was not in the kingdom at the time.

We're going to take a short break. Coming up, the latest on Hurricane Nate. We'll also take you to Puerto Rico, where people are still waiting for help, two long weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

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HOLMES: Welcome back.

Hurricane Nate lashing the U.S. Gulf Coast with heavy rains and strong gusts. The category 1 storm has now made a second landfall at Biloxi, Mississippi. Nate made its first U.S. landfall Saturday night near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

The storm's effects will be felt all the way from Louisiana to Florida. Officials expect dangerous storm surges. We've already seen some of that. Also falling trees and downed power lines. More than 7,000 households are without power in Alabama at the moment.

Nate has already carved a path of destruction in Central America, killing at least 28 people in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras.

And as we keep our eyes on Hurricane Nate, we haven't forgotten the plight of Puerto Rico, pummeled by the monster Hurricane Maria just two weeks ago. Millions of people in the U.S. territory are still living without electricity, water and other basic necessities. As our Nick Valencia now reports, hope is another commodity in short supply. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The day starts early if you want to get basic goods in Arecibo. More than two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit, life here comprises of (sic) waiting in line for one service or another. By 8:00 am, the line for ice is more than two blocks long.

(On camera): I've been talking to this family and they've been telling me that they've been here since 1:00 in the morning. We're coming up on 9:00 am The local plant officials are supposed to open at 7:00 am, but that has yet to happen.

Also what we're told from these residents who have been standing in line for hours upon hours, that there's been a 20 percent increase in the price for the bags of ice.

(Voice-over): Kelly Lopez came to get some extra bags for her epileptic sister, who is bedridden. She's already been turned away once because her sister wasn't with her. Today, she's back to try again.

(On camera): It's very difficult for everyone here in Puerto Rico.

(Voice-over): And then just minutes after our cameras arrived, the doors open. We asked a local plant official why cost for ice have gone up. She says because prices for plastic and diesel have increased.

(On camera): And so the government or nobody is helping you supplement that? She says no, not at all. They're having to come totally out of pocket for it.

(Voice-over): While in Arecibo, locals beg us to check out the regional hospital. There are rumors of people dying in horrible conditions. This is what we arrived to. The hospital, back on normal power ahead of schedule. Those critical patients being housed outside in a temporary ward are now being moved back inside.

A hospital official tells us there haven't been any storm-related deaths. Mark Thorpe is the commander of a federal disaster relief team assisting the hospital.

MARK THORPE, TEAM COMMANDER, U.S. FEDERAL DISASTER RELIEF: When we have these in the continental United States, we can get help there quicker. The challenge here is getting everything here.

VALENCIA: Thorpe knows there are rumors about a lack of urgency in the relief efforts and it's taken a toll on him.

THORPE: When the hurricane came over, we were here.

VALENCIA (on camera): I know it's hard.

THORPE: Yes.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Across the street from the hospital, there is a different problem, another long line. This time at a local bank.

(On camera): Just before we got here, we're told the bank system collapsed and now those who have been staying in line there is no guarantee that they're going to get any money. (Voice-over): Arizayin Medina (ph) drove 30 minutes from a neighboring town just to stand in line five hours. He says he has no other choice.

(On camera): Everything is money here. Everything is money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Everything is money here.

VALENCIA (voice-over): In Arecibo, locals say they're living each day as if it's the first day after the storm. Desperate for help, but now they have lost hope -- Nick Valencia, CNN, Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: A long way to go.

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes. Our coverage of Hurricane Nate continues after the break.