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Storm Makes Second Landfall Along Gulf Coast; President Goes To North Carolina For Fundraiser; Trump: "Obamacare Is Exploding Like I Said It Would"; Trump On North Korea "Only One Thing Will Work!"; Curfew Lifted For New Orleans; Singer Jason Aldean Pays Tribute To Victims; Source: Note In Shooter's Hotel Room Had Target Calculations; Turkey Announces Military Operation In Northern Syria; Monitors: 200 Plus Detained In Anti-Putin Rallies Across Russia; Puerto Ricans Losing Hope Two Weeks After Monster Storm. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired October 8, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR: It's 3:00 a.m. on the U.S. east coast. We're following the latest on Hurricane Nate. The third hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in just six weeks and people are feeling the effects this hour. I'm George Howell.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Natalie Allen. We'll be with you for quite a while. Hurricane Nate made its second landfall of the night a short time ago near Biloxi, Mississippi. The Category 1 storm is drenching the region with heavy rains and damaging winds.
HOWELL: It's knocked out power to thousands of people in three different states, in Mississippi, in Alabama, and in Florida. One big problem, one big concern here is the storm surge. Officials are warning residents don't take any chances.
Hurricane Nate is being blamed for at least 28 deaths before it was a hurricane. This in Central America. Hundreds of people were rescued from flood waters and mudslides there.
ALLEN: That was an impressive storm surge we were seeing a moment ago in Biloxi. Let's get the latest on the storm status. Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera tracking it for us. What have you got, Ivan?
IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We're looking at a storm that is now inland here, Natalie. George, good to see you. It will continue to weaken as far as the strength, as far as the core winds, right?
So, I don't think we're at 85 miles an hour. We're getting a new update from the National Hurricane Center and those winds will like to come down. It's still officially a hurricane of course, as you mentioned making its second landfall in the United States, made the first landfall in Nicaragua.
By the way, this was the first hurricane to hit and make landfall. First in Louisiana since 2012 with Isaac and then the secondary landfall near Biloxi in Mississippi. The strong west winds will be located around those rain bands.
Wind gusts in excess of 50 miles an hour. I think we're certainly going to lose the wind gusts that we have seen between 70 and 90-mile- an-hour winds. Right now, we are looking at 30-mile-an-hour gusts in Biloxi that went from 75 to 5 with the eye going right on top of Biloxi and now we're on the back side of it here.
We'll continue with 30-mile-an-hour winds. These are the kinds of winds that will continue through tonight and through the early part of tomorrow. And the wind field will continue to diminish and then we're just going to be talking about some big rains.
Case in point, as far as the winds, 75-mile-an-hour winds in Mississippi. This is the highest wind gusts by the way that I've seen so far, this evening and so far from the storm in general as it made landfall, 89-mile-an-hour winds, 96 would be a Category 2.
Of course, that was not sustained. That was a gust, but certainly more than enough to cause power outages and significant damage. There you see the storm surge warnings that are continuing in effect.
This is from Southeast Louisiana although I think the worst of it here done for you and then further to the east from Biloxi heading into Mobile Bay. We'll continue to see some gusty winds and also a bit of storm surge.
But by the next couple of hours I think that threat will continue to diminish as well. This is what you expect with a landfalling hurricane. Things will transition into a broader wind field. A lot of us will see more wind but less wind as far as the intensity.
As it moved on shore it brought in the Gulf of Mexico, anywhere from 5.9 feet in Pascagoula, that was on the eastern flank of the storm, and then interestingly enough you don't need the water to come up from the gulf, right? We have lakes here.
And specifically, Lake Borne with a northerly wind on the west side of the storm, that was enough to provide us with 4.6 feet of storm surge there at Shell Beach, St. Bernard Parish.
As we see the storm pulling away the threat as well a little further to the east. This is going to be a tornado watch. It has now by the way been expanded by the national weather service. So that means the conditions will continue to be favorable.
You see these bands here. Any of those bands embedded within them could be thunderstorms that could put down a brief tornado and we have seen that so far this evening. Numerous warnings in fact have been out for tornadoes. We'll continue to watch that threat developing as well through the overnight hours -- guys.
HOWELL: Ivan, that northeastern quadrant of the storm, the dirty side of the storm, right? That's what's pushing in right now and causing those tornado concerns.
CABRERA: That's where all the action is. The storm surge, the heaviest rain, the heaviest wind, and also where we're going to have the tornadic threat as well. You're right.
HOWELL: Ivan, thank you.
ALLEN: We're covering this storm from all along the gulf coast. Of course, we'll be watching as it moves inland as well and perhaps spawning a tornado.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Mobile, Alabama. Martin Savidge is in Biloxi, Mississippi. Just due west. Martin, let's go to you first. What are conditions like there now? What have you been experiencing?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can definitely tell, Natalie, we're on the back side of this storm. The wind now hitting us from exactly the opposite direction than it was, say, about two hours ago. Much dryer on the back side at least as far as we can sense so far.
Not getting the torrential kind of rain. You're getting some rain but not just the deluge that we had. And the good news is that the water that had been significant on top of U.S. Highway 90 here, that has all receded.
[03:05:13] In fact, I won't say it's completely gone but much of it is gone. It's down dramatically so, another good indicator. Probably one is the change of direction of wind. Also, two we're past high tide. So that is good news.
The power has remained fairly consistent. There's been some periods where we had temporary blackouts, but otherwise seems to be holding OK. Right now, the biggest problem is the wind. But it's nowhere near as significant as what they did have.
There is flooding in other areas as well because with this wind it gets pushed around and it's been driven in the various bays and that so really it won't be until daylight, you can get a full sense of how much flooding.
But again, should not be catastrophic flooding. It should be just sort of the typical kind of flooding of wind-driven water. Daylight will tell us a lot more, but it seems that Nate's done OK here. They've made it through fairly well -- Natalie.
ALLEN: That's good news.
HOWELL: And Martin, it's George joining in here. Just to ask you, do you get a sense that people there throughout that region, that they did heed these warnings as they came in before the storm made impact?
SAVIDGE: Well, you know, it was a little bit difficult because I think a lot of -- this is very much a tourist town. They had a lot of things planned this weekend. The casinos are always very busy.
And they were waiting until they really got the last kind of update before they decided that they had to close down. It was a decision that was made by Harrison County here where they finally said we need to shut down those major waterfront hotels. Because if 90 did get covered as it did, they wouldn't be able to get the heavy first responder equipment in. It was probably a wise call. Even though this storm is hopefully going to push through quickly and maybe by midday tomorrow things will look a lot better. In fact, the sun is expected to be out -- George.
HOWELL: Marty, it's good to see, though, the conditions are improving where you are. Martin Savidge, thank you so much for your report.
Let's now switch over to Ed Lavandera. Ed live for us in Mobile, Alabama. Ed, looking at the radar here, it looks like one of the stronger bands is about to push in or has pushed in there. What are you experiencing on the ground?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We've been kind of keeping tabs on that as well, George. This is one of the stronger bands that we have seen throughout the evening and it is whipping the rain through here. You can hear it howling by at this point.
I just saw off to our west over here a flash of blue light which I suspect is probably a transformer blowing out. There are some 17,000 people in the state of Alabama who have already lost power is the latest numbers we have been told.
That looks like it will be a concern here as the worst of this storm and as the storm has passed through Biloxi, starts getting closer into the Mobile area and the Alabama state line. And that is what we're starting to experience here.
We're on the edge of Mobile Bay. Just behind me is the water and it's moving very quickly from south to north and has been doing that for the last several hours. That kind of speaks to that storm surge we've been talking so much about.
You can get a sense of how the storm -- even as minimal of a hurricane as Hurricane Nate, these storms' ability to push water from south to north. That pushes everything back inland. That's what creates that flash flooding.
In fact, here along the harbor there's a step down here and some of the water's starting to come over the edge of the ridge here along the harbor where we're standing. Nothing major to worry about there by any means.
And soon as the storm goes down that water will quickly recede, but it does give you a sense of it here slowly the water has been coming up. We're about high tide, which also influences the storm surges and the potential for flooding situation as the water comes up you add the storm surge on top of that.
And in these bayous and tributaries and all around that water continues to rise. That's why emergency management officials have really been cautioning people to really pay attention to their specific areas and watch for where that water might come from -- George and Natalie.
ALLEN: All right. Ed Lavandera for us there in Mobile, Alabama. Ed, thank you for bringing us the latest.
We want to talk now with Vincent Creel. He's the public affairs manager for Biloxi, Mississippi where we just saw our Martin Savidge. Mr. Creel, thanks so much for talking with us. We know this is a busy night. But what kind of reports have you been getting? What have you been hearing about what's going on in Biloxi?
VINCENT CREEL, PUBLIC AFFAIRS MANAGER, BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI (via telephone): We're starting to see the water recede, and we still have some wind gusts on the back end of the storm. And we're going to have a lot of cleanup to do on our front beach, and it's to be seen how much damage was done to the sand beach here in Biloxi and Harrison County, which we're proud to say is the world's longest manmade sand beach at 26 miles.
[03:10:07] But it looks like the beach took a pounding from the surge and we have not had any major reports of any major damage to homes. I'm unaware of any house flooding in the city. I do know we had some scattered power outages.
One thing we're thankful for is, you know, the last several weeks we've been watching what happened to the small town in Rockport, Texas. You heard about all the flooding in Houston and what happened in Miami.
So, we were well aware that this could have been a much more serious storm. There was talk of it being a Category 2 with an 11-foot tidal surge when it came ashore. It did not -- happily, it did not live up to that billing.
From what we are understanding, it pretty much disintegrated, parts of it, whenever it made landfall. But nonetheless, it was much more than a nuisance for us. It's a storm that's going to require a lot of cleanup here in Biloxi.
We're not aware of any injuries that are related to the storm. We're thankful for that. That's pretty much the story here in Biloxi. It's going to be a lot of cleanup tomorrow and we're going to be looking to get back in business just as soon as we can.
ALLEN: I can tell that you've got some relief there in your voice and there's reason for it, isn't it?
CREEL: We sure do. We sure do because it was a lot of worried people. Our mayor was worried going into this, looking at the reports that he saw. But we're proud to say that all of our police officers were able to pretty much stay on the streets throughout the duration of the storm.
There was one rescue that I'm aware of at a low-lying area on the northern side of the Biloxi peninsula called Pop Ferry where they had to rescue a family of four as I understand it, a man and a woman and a 14-year-old and a 4-year-old.
They sent a swift water team out, was able to rescue them from a van that had started taking on water. That's the only incident I'm aware of. And from what we understand our friends in Mobile are having a tough time of it right now, and certainly, our thought and prayers would be with them as it begins to recede. The water begins to recede here in Biloxi.
ALLEN: And I want to ask you, too, Mr. Creel, what about flooding there? Earlier, we saw a casino being inundated.
CREEL: There's been a lot of talk about that, and I was talking to one of the affiliates in New Orleans about it. What we did whenever we rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina was we made sure to build back in a manner that would diminish the risks from future storms.
So, the casino resorts in pretty much all of the waterfront development in Biloxi on the Biloxi peninsula, it's elevated. It's anywhere from 10 to 12 to 15 feet above the ground, which puts it significantly above the tide line. Sea level's what I'm trying to say.
So, what you saw there was there is a marina right next to that casino, Point Cadet Marina. What you're looking at is a bank of elevators that are at the bottom of the parking garage.
We're happy to say that we're unaware of any of the casino resorts that actually had water on their gaming floor because they're all well elevated to where we learned a huge lesson from Katrina and we owe it to the rest of the country to make sure we build back in a more resilient fashion.
ALLEN: Right. That's the key.
CREEL: There's been a lot of talk about that water.
ALLEN: Well, thanks for explaining it to us. It was just that lower- level --
CREEL: Like a bank of elevators at the bottom of a parking garage on the ground floor. But thank you all for the interest in Biloxi. We certainly appreciate all the thoughts across the country.
ALLEN: Absolutely. We know what Biloxi went through with Katrina so many years ago. We're so glad to see that this one has been a mild one. Vincent Creel, thanks so much for helping us out with that information. We thank you.
CREEL: Thank you.
HOWELL: Pick up on that as well, Natalie. A little relief in his voice there. But certainly, the storm still making an impact and we'll continue to follow its trajectory.
Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, reporters ask President Trump to clarify his mysterious tweets about North Korea.
ALLEN: His strange response leaves everyone guessing. We'll tell you what he said in a moment.
HOWELL: Welcome back. Want to get you up to speed on Hurricane Nate. We're following this storm here in the U.S. hitting the gulf coast from the states of Louisiana to Florida. Right now, it's a Category 1 storm. Making its second landfall.
That happened in Biloxi, Mississippi pushing through with sustained winds of 85 miles per hour. That's about 137 kilometers per hour. Nate made its first U.S. landfall on Saturday in Southeast Louisiana.
ALLEN: Officials were expecting dangerous storm surges, fallen trees, downed power lines, but you just heard a good report from Biloxi, Mississippi a few moments ago. They don't have any reports of that.
More than 36,000 households, though, across Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, though, are already without power and some areas could get up to 10 inches or 25 centimeters of rain. You can see just how high the waters are rising already. These are firefighters waiting for water at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.
HOWELL: All right. We'll continue to follow the situation there on the Gulf Coast. Now switching to politics. The U.S. president, Donald Trump, back in Washington after traveling to Greensboro, North Carolina on Saturday for a high-dollar fund-raiser there.
It was his first trip back to the state since becoming the U.S. president and you can see here he arrived in a steady rain. Before leaving the White House, he spoke with reporters, reporters who shouted questions over the roar of the presidential helicopter. Listen here.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Do you people ever rest?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
[03:20:05] PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, if we could make a deal at least on a temporary basis because Obamacare is exploding. It's gone. The premiums are through the roof. You see what's happening. So, if we could make a temporary deal because, ultimately, we're going to have it back to the states.
We're going to block grants back to the states, but if we made a temporary deal I think it would be a great thing for people but it's really up to them. Obamacare is a disaster. The numbers are out. It's exploding like I said it would.
Basically, if we could do a one-year deal or a two-year deal as a temporary measure you'll have block granting ultimately to the states, which is what the Republicans want. That really is the repeal and replace.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Nothing as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the one thing that will work with North Korea?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We'll figure that out pretty soon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, is your relationship with Secretary Tillerson --
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Very good relationship. That was fake news. That was fake news by NBC.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about (inaudible)?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I've known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I'm not at all surprised to see it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about your Chief of Staff John Kelly?
PRESIDENT 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. But he loves doing this, chief of staff, more than anything he's ever done. He's doing a great job. He will be here in my opinion for the entire seven remaining years.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, no. He likes Secretary Tillerson so do I. 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.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, he says they were inappropriate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible).
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's locker room. Go ahead. We're going to see what happens. We'll 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 MALE: (Inaudible).
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You're going to see very soon.
HOWELL: A lot to talk about there. Let's now bring in Peter Matthews. Peter is a political analyst, joining us live from Los Angeles to talk about some of these topics the president touched on. Peter, let's start with the president again engaging in Twitter diplomacy on that very delicate issue of North Korea. This falls in line with speculation on what he might have meant by the cryptic comment saying the calm before the storm alongside the military top brass in a photo op the other day.
From your view does this seem to be a coordinated strategy by this president telegraphing a tough unpredictable stance, or is this just unpredictability, winging it with no policy or plan?
PETER MATTHEWS, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, CYPRESS COLLEGE: You know, I feel probably that it's not planned out very carefully because we know how President Trump operates. He operates quite often on the spur of the moment, emotion, and on Twitter of all places.
And to come up with two different angles, when Secretary Tillerson was saying that he had just opened up a line of communication with North Korea, that we need to have diplomacy and we need to give it a chance, then Trump comes up the next day, very next day and says Secretary Tillerson's wasting his time on talking to North Korea, that we should deal with this the only way that we know how and they know how.
So that's a threat and I don't think it's a good cop bad cop sophisticated scenario. I think he's blundering into making statements that can be very dangerous and miscalculated by the North Koreans themselves.
You saw what came out of those things. It began back at the United Nations when the North Korean ambassador to the United Nations -- the foreign minister, sorry. The foreign minister said it looked to him like the U.S. has declared war on North Korea.
So that was a misinterpretation also because of Trump's words. So, this is very dangerous, George. It's got to be very clear and coordinated in a singular way through our policy makers starting with the president. That's not happening right now.
HOWELL: The president also touched on the reporting by NBC News, reporting that he discounted as fake news, but again, you know, this is a president who discounts information, reports from news organizations that have sources, several sources, stories that he doesn't like he calls it fake news.
Let's delve into the topic. His top diplomat Rex Tillerson and his chief of staff, John Kelly. Despite Mr. Trump suggesting that they have his support, the optics are clear from that reporting, they are under pressure. What would it mean for these men to leave their posts at this point?
[03:25:06] MATTHEWS: It would be a very grave development, especially if Tillerson had to leave and Kelly also, chief of staff. These are the two lynchpins of what semblance of order and stability that might even possibly be available to the Trump administration.
If these two men who are the pillars of stability in the perception leave on their own or if Trump makes them leave it's going to be all chaos in the sense that -- perception especially on the part of world leaders, our own government, other officials who say what is going on?
As it is, the White House had nine major advisers, staff members, cabinet members leave, nine of them in the last eight months, unprecedented. And this caused a chaotic kind of image which is very dangerous for the need for stability in these kinds of critical times.
HOWELL: Peter Matthews, we had a little time to touch on a couple of those issues. Thanks for taking time with us today.
MATTHEWS: My pleasure. Thank you so much.
ALLEN: All right. We continue to monitor the storm coming through the gulf coast. We'll have much more on Hurricane Nate as it lashes the gulf coast coming up here with the heavy rains and powerful winds being felt from Florida to Louisiana. But one major U.S. city has been spared the worst of it. So, stay with us. We've got much more ahead here. You're wav our live coverage from Atlanta.
HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and all around the world. We're following the latest on Hurricane Nate. I'm George Howell.
ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen. Hurricane Nate take another swipe at the U.S. gulf coast.
HOWELL: It is a Category 1 storm. It made its second landfall tonight near Biloxi, Mississippi. Its first landfall hours earlier was in Southeast Louisiana. That's near the mouth of the Mississippi River.
[03:30:04] Strong winds and drenching rains you see here. It knocked out power to more than 36,000 people in three different states -- in Mississippi, in Alabama, and in Florida.
ALLEN: So the concern right now, potential tornadoes and storm surge. Rising waters have been lapping at casino doors in Biloxi and car doors too. It's not the casino that's flooded. This is a parking garage. The public affairs director told us that earlier.
But let's get an update on the storm's strength and its position right now. Our meteorologist, Ivan Cabrera, has not left the weather map all night. And what have we got going right now -- Ivan.
CABRERA: Well, just compiled some of the wind reports coming out of the storm. We've been saying it could have been worse. Storms could always be worse. But this one actually could have been because there was a big window for this to have intensified rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico.
What allowed for that not to happen was its forward speed. It didn't have much time to lull in those warm waters. Thankfully we're looking at these winds, which are bad enough, and of course these have been bringing down power lines, 89-mile-an-hour winds. It's the strongest wind gust we've seen coming about 31 miles away from Venice, Louisiana. Gulfport there at 73, just one shy of hurricane force. Keesler where it made landfall, 70 miles an hour.
The storm is now inland. The center of the storm is right over Mobile. You're getting some of the worst of the bands here that have been moving through and it's now no longer just the center of the storm.
Those outer bands will contain tropical storm force wind gusts. You're going to have these squalls that move through. Blinding rain and then a bit of a lull and then back into some of the bands that will continue to move through.
Case in point, we've been seeing them on and off. Look at them in New Orleans, seven miles an hour. Nice light breeze in New Orleans right now. But there we are back at 33 miles an hour from Biloxi. Of course, on the north we were over 70 miles an hour and Pensacola and gulf shores as well.
We continue with gusty winds, continue with heavy rain and the potential as you mentioned for rotating thunderstorms that is tornadic activity through the overnight hours especially toward the east of the center.
Only east of the center really. There's not much going on here on the western side. There's good reason for that. Gulf of Mexico down here with this tropical moisture feed coming from south to north and we've got land to the west here.
he wind is coming offshore and coming from the north. There's not much going on in New Orleans as a result. But these bands will all be rather dangerous as each of these could be putting down as they come through some rotating thunderstorms.
We'll watch that closely. This is pretty typical what happens with landfalling hurricanes. We've already seen numerous tornado warnings we'll see tomorrow if we had any damage out of any of those if they did in fact come down.
There it is Cat 1 tropical storm force winds will continue a little further to the north and east but I must tell you by the time this thing gets towards Atlanta and further north and east it won't be a big wind maker it will just bring down some rain and that will continue.
And then the westerly winds will pick it "up" above and this is going to scream up to the north and east so that we're in Boston with winds around 20 to 30 by then it's looking to be post-tropical at that point with just some rain.
So, there it is. Second landfall, 85-mile-an-hour winds. Near Biloxi the second landfall. First one was at Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana. The first of course was in Nicaragua and of course folks there fared much worse. We had numerous fatalities in Central America as a result of all the flash flooding and the rain. Hopefully, we will have zero here in the United States as a result of Nate -- guys.
ALLEN: That's a good number. A non-number. Zero.
HOWELL: Non-number is a good number. Ivan Cabrera live for us. Thank you. We'll stay in touch with you, Ivan.
Let's talk about the residents in the city of New Orleans. They are breathing a sigh of relief to say the least. Once Hurricane Nate made its first landfall in Southeast Louisiana, the hurricane warning was downgraded there to a tropical storm warning.
ALLEN: And the city's curfew was lifted. CNN's Rosa Flores has the latest for us from New Orleans.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The city of New Orleans prepared for a major Category 1 hurricane. The mayor of this city asking people not to panic but to prepare, saying that this city could see high winds that could cripple the power grid and also strong storm surge.
Even a curfew was issued at about 7:00 p.m. Well, a few hours later the hurricane warning was downgraded to a tropical storm warning and then that curfew was lifted. As you take a look around, we had some light rain.
There were a few bands that went through the city of New Orleans, but overall the situation faring very well.
ALLEN: Rosa Flores. Good to hear about that from New Orleans for sure.
HOWELL: Absolutely, yes.
ALLEN: We're continuing to cover all the different stories that we've been affected by this week and of course, the Las Vegas massacre is one of them. "Saturday Night Live" is paying tribute to the victims. The show opened with singer, Jason Aldean.
[03:35:02] HOWELL: Jason Aldean was the artist performing on stage. He was on stage when the shooter opened fire on thousands of people who were attending this music festival and here's part of the message the singer sent to the victims and to their families. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON ALDEAN, SINGER: This week we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history. Like everyone I'm struggling to understand what happened that night and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal. But you can be sure that we're going to walk through these tough times together every step of the way because when America is at its best our bond and our spirit, it's unbreakable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Two words, right? Very true. Aldean then went on to pay tribute by playing "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty.
HOWELL: That's one of my favorite songs and just really hits the mark right there, doesn't it? While the nation tries to heal, investigators at the crime scene, they've made a significant discovery.
ALLEN: They say they now know the meaning of those numbers, written on a piece of paper found in the shooter's hotel room. Our Stephanie Elam is in Las Vegas with that.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Calculations. That's what investigators now believe that the numbers written on the notepad found in the shooter's suite were. This was first reported by CBS News, but what they believe is that they 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 Campos did. He was responding because he works for Mandalay Security, 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 up on 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's 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, a wrinkle, a huge detail there that this could have been a much worse situation had it not been for Jesus Campos. Stephanie Elam, CNN, Las Vegas, Nevada.
ALLEN: Now the story we are following, the mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia says neo-Nazi cowards are not welcome in the city after a racist group held a rally there Saturday night.
Charlottesville police say a group of white nationalists wielding tiki (ph) torches and chanting racist slogans gathered in the same park that was the site of violent protests back in August. The city says it's looking into taking legal action against the group.
Turkey announces a military operation in Northern Syria. Coming up here, we'll go live to Istanbul to tell you what's that about.
HOWELL: Plus, for his birthday, President Vladimir Putin, received protests across Russia. After this wish next year brings him a happy retirement from power. Stay with us.
HOWELL: All right. Welcome back. At this hour, Hurricane Nate is hitting the U.S. gulf coast. It's got heavy winds. It's got strong gusts. Category 1 storm and made its second landfall in Biloxi, Mississippi. Nate made its first U.S. landfall on Saturday. That happened near the mountains of Mississippi.
ALLEN: In Louisiana, the storm's affects will be felt all the way from Louisiana to Florida. Officials expect dangerous storm surges. Also, some fallen trees, downed power lines. We haven't got specific reports of that, though.
But more than 36,000 households across Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, we are told by other authorities are without power. Nate is already far, but (inaudible) in Central America as you know killing at least 28 people in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras.
We've got other news we are following around the world. At this moment, Turkey announcing a new military operation in Idlib Province in Northern Syria. Turkish troops along with units of the rebel group, the Free Syrian Army, are taking part in this.
Turkey's president says it's to target an al Qaeda linked splinter group stressing that he will not allow a terrorist corridor to be established on Turkey's border.
Let's go straight now live to Istanbul. CNN's Gul Tuysuz joins us from there with more. Certainly, Turkey has had fight troops in Syria before, but what's the danger with this mission and the threat of this group being right across the border, Gul?
GUL TUYSUZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Natalie, of course, the biggest danger for any operation into Syria is the risks of civilian casualties. This province, Idlib, is one of the most heavily populated civilian areas remaining in Northern Syria. People fled there after the Aleppo offensive last year.
And it is very heavily populated. So, any operation by anyone is going to have to take into account that there are civilians who have already been so disrupted and so discomforted and so victimized here already. So, any operation is going to have to take that into account.
But of course, the complexities of Syria are not just about civilian casualties, but because there are so many different groups that are on the ground and because of how chaotic and conflicting the battleground is, the danger here, of course, is that this could escalate and calls further damage to a country that's already reeling from war.
The Turkish government has come out and said that this operation is actually going to be led mainly by the FSA and that Turkish troops will be supporting them. But whether or not the FSA and -- backed by Turkey will be enough of a force to root out the group that has been more and more -- has been taking more and more control over Idlib Province.
This group that you mentioned in -- you mentioned as well, the Nusra Front, whether or not the FSA and Turkey will be able to root them out is a question that remains unanswered.
[03:45:06] ALLEN: Yes, and where they evolved from, is this far part of the fact these groups have been losing ground in Syria?
TUYSUZ: Well, Idlib is the province where the FSA, so the traditional anti-Assad rebel groups have still a foot hold in. But over the last couple of months they have been losing grounds to the HTS, the (inaudible), formerly known as Nusra.
And that is a big problem because Idlib Province is supposed to be one of the four de-escalation zones agreed to by Russia, Iran and Turkey. But in order to establish that de-escalation zone which would allow civilians there to live with a little bit more freedom and to be away from the violence of the Syrian war is going to be very difficult to establish with the HTF having such a wide presence there.
So, this operation is really going to have to try to do two things. One is establish that de-escalation zone and make sure there is no fighting between Assad forces and anti-Assad forces, but also to go after this extremists group and clear them from this area.
ALLEN: As you say complex and certainly all the fighting in this region has been that for many years. Gul Tuysuz for us there in Istanbul. Thank you.
HOWELL: In Russia, for the 65th birthday of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, activists are wishing this would be his last birthday in office.
ALLEN: Not exactly making a cake and blowing out candles. A key opposition figure behind bars called for nationwide rallies for the birthday. Monitors say more than 200 protesters were detained.
CNN's senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance, has more about this from St. Petersburg.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For the kremlin dismisses him as a fringe political figure. But Russia's main opposition figure has become a painful thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin. And this opposition rally in St. Petersburg timed to coincide with President Putin's 65th birthday. It's meant to show just how thankful.
What do you think are the chances of President Putin leaving, an elected (inaudible) taking his place? What's the possibility?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, a low possibility, sir. But there is the chance that -- to change everything in Russian political life.
CHANCE: And across Russia, similar protests unsanctioned by the had kremlin were held. Alexi Navalni (ph) himself was unable to attend. He was jailed for 20 days earlier this month. But the 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 person opposed to Putin isn't allowed in any way to take part in the elections.
CHANCE: Well, it would be a massive kremlin climb down to allow Navalni (ph) a presidential bid. He's been convicted in a criminal case, excluding him formally from office. But his popular online campaign against political corruption has struck a core among many Russians. Alexi is now a real force in Russian politics. Matthew Chance, CNN, St. Petersburg.
ALLEN: And coming up here, it's been two long weeks since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.
HOWELL: And despite help arriving from the U.S. mainland, people there are desperate for supplies. We'll bring you their story as NEWSROOM pushes on.
ALLEN: The Atlantic Ocean hurricane season has packed a wallop this year. Devastating so many islands in the Caribbean this year and as we continued to track Hurricane Nate, we have not forgotten those in Puerto Rico of course pummeled by Hurricane Maria weeks ago.
HOWELL: There are so many people, millions there, on the U.S. territory that is still living without electricity. They don't have water, other basic needs, and they're also running out of hope for many of them. Nick Valencia has more.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The day starts early if you want to get basic goods in (inaudible). More than two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit, life here comprises of waiting in line for one service or another. By 8:00 a.m., the line for ice is more than two blocks long.
(on camera): I've been talking to this family and they tell me they've been here since 1:00 in the morning. We're coming up on 9:00 a.m. The local plan officials are supposed to open up at 7 a.m., 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 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's bedridden. She was already turned away once because her sister wasn't with her. Today, she's back to try again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very difficult for everyone here in Puerto Rico.
VALENCIA: And then just minutes after our cameras arrive, the doors open. We ask a local plan official why costs for ice have gone up. She says because prices for plastic and diesel have increased.
(on camera): Nobody's helping you supplement that? She says, no, not at all. They're having to come totally out of pocket for it.
[03:55:02] (voice-over): While in Arecibo, locales 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: He knows there are rumors about a lack of urgency in the relief efforts and it's taking a toll on him.
THORPE: When the hurricane came, we were here.
VALENCIA (on camera): I know it's hard, man.
(voice-over): Across the street from the hospital, there's 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's no guarantee they're going to get any money.
(voice-over): (Inaudible) Medina 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.
(voice-over): Locales say they are living each day as if it's the first day after the storm. Desperate for help but now they've lost hope. Nick Valencia, CNN, Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
ALLEN: That's hard to hear, isn't it? If you want to help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico and around the Caribbean as well, here's our website, cnn.com/impact. You can donate to charities we vetted or volunteer your time and as you just heard they need a lot.
That is our first hour here. Thanks for watching. I'm Natalie Allen.
HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. The news continues after the break. More coverage on Hurricane Nate hitting the U.S. gulf coast this hour. Stay with us.