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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  September 14, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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have. i don't know if i ever remember one just sitting this long and dumping so much rain for so long. you have been talking, chris, about the beach and about high tide, and you said for you where you are -- i would call it a berm, not really dunes. the water is up over that berm, and the flooding is going to start. here the beaches, we haven't quite reached high tide. it's not that bad here, but the beach is shrinking, shrinking, shrinking, shrinking ever so quickly here. and by high tide, i think that water from the ocean is going to be pretty much lapping at our feet right here in the back of the hotel. >> what are you seeing in terms of power outages? how many people are going to have to go through this in the dark? >> specifically here in myrtle beach, i don't have specific numbers. but you've been giving the general numbers. 750,000. they're saying by the time all of this is over, it could be as many as 2.5 million people in the carolinas who don't have power. and then they, of course, as you
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know, they don't exactly know when they're going to get that power back. and that causes all kinds of problems. you know, no food. the food you have in your house spoiled. no electricity obviously. you can't get the air-conditioning on. so it's going to be miserable here for a while. the problem is everyone says, okay, well, you know, it's a tropical storm now. so that's okay. that's good news. it is partially because the winds aren't so high. so you're not going to get as many flying project i'lls. you're not going to get as many homes that are battered or structures knocked down. but what you are going to get is a lot of rain and you're going to get some flooding. we keep talking about it because here on the beach we're talking about the water. i've been walking the beach and periodically on the beaches you see these storm drains that come in from, you know, the nearest street and it attaches to the system in the city. and then it just rolls out to the ocean. well, they don't have that inland. so that water is just sitting there. luckily they have a good system here, and they've got the ocean
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where they can pour that water into. but they don't have that inland, and flooding is going to be a huge, huge problem. so we're just watching and waiting here. i'm going to walk out to the beach and keep checking it. by the time you get to me at the top of the hour, i'm going to see how much that beach has shrunk and how much we're going to be dealing with flood. i've been told we are at the top of the hour. >> i was going to say, florence has taken your sense of time. >> yeah, i know. i don't know what time it is. listen, chris, walk with me. i hate to turn my back on you. you and i spend a lot of time on the water. i go out fishing with you sometimes. by the way, this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. a hurricane is battering the carolinas. we've seen so far five people confirmed dead and there is concern about catastrophic flooding all over. wind gusts of up to 70, 80 miles an hour. there it is. there's that beach, chris, shrinking. i don't know if we have the overhead camera. but as you were counting the
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waves, i see one, two, three, four, five. so it's up now. what does the ocean tell you about what's happening out there at sea. christopher, are you there in. >> yes, i am. we've had a wind shift in the pattern with florence. now that it's a tropical system, it doesn't matter for us in terms of what we're worried about because the duration is more important than the intensity. now the wind is coming from the seaside onto shore. so it's going to act as a tu turbocharge effect. it's also high tide as you mentioned. so you have several more hours of the natural tide cycle already bringing water onto shore, turbocharged by 50, 60-mile-an-hour gusting winds, maybe even more. and the third component is the stored energy of this storm, which will create what they call the surge. >> right.
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>> and that energy will be released, and all of that will be brought to bear on the coastline. and that's when the greatest risk occurs. >> yeah. hey, listen, you know, i was asking a little bit earlier we were talking about how the beach is shrinking and all of that. but here's the thing that some people may think, well, the wind is not blowing that much. it's not that bad. don't be fooled by that because we have these hotels that are in front of us, right? and it is protecting us from the wind, so you don't get to feel the full effect. that's a good thing for us, but the folks at home don't really get to see it. but we have these buildings in front of us, and as you know, chris, between these buildings it creates a wind tunnel. and that wind comes howling and howling, and you get those projectiles that come through. and that is part of the concern. usually with a hurricane, right, it doesn't move obviously as fast as a tornado. but it comes through, does the damage, and it leaves. have you ever, in your career,
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seen a storm that just sat this long, no matter the intensity, and just dumped rain for so long? >> nope and i've never dealt with this two-sided flood effect either where you're going to have storm surge and then this runoff from the north carolina mountains and its own stream and river release system down into south carolina. so you're going to have freshwater flooding on one side. all the swimming pools here are flooding. they've had at least a foot of water added to them by this storm. so you have the ocean coming up. you've got the water running down from north carolina. everybody gets stuck in the middle. i've never been through anything like this. as we're talking, don, it just made it over the berm here, and we still have a couple hours more of tide. and now this water is going to have a straight run if it gets the momentum right up into the homes where we are. this is what they didn't want to happen. >> i don't know how big the stretch of beach is where you are and if that -- what that bodes for us, but it doesn't
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bode well because i think you're about 20, 25 minutes up the road here. so what you're seeing now, i think we'll be seeing maybe a little bit longer. i'm talking about as the crow flies, when you're in the car. we're going to see it a little bit longer. again, high tide is expected anytime between 11:00 and 1:00. but it's up over? i can't see. i don't have video, but it's up over? what does that mean? how far away from that are the buildings? >> from us, this water is now -- >> yeah. >> i don't know. conservatively 70 yards, 90 yards from the property, and then there's like really landscaping. they'll call it a sand dune, but it isn't. then there's a little bit of a basin effect here in north myrtle beach. so that water is going to have an assistance from gravity, and it can pool. and then the question is when will it get reabsorbed with such saturated earth, you know? >> yeah. all right, chris. i'm going to let you go because i know you've been working hard all day. you've been up in the morning,
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reporting in the afternoon, and now you're out here. stay safe, my friend. nice reporting all day. i appreciate you helping me out at the top of my show here. >> all right. you too. i'll be watching. be well. >> absolutely, buddy. i'll see you soon. thank you very much. we have reporters stationed all over the region. one of them who has been bombarded all day, and that's miguel marquez at carolina beach. miguel, you were getting blown around, i saw, from the afternoon well into the evening. what's going on now? >> reporter: yeah, we really kind of thought we had seen the worst of this storm this afternoon. then late tonight, sort of in the last four hours or so, we've just seen this blast of wind and rain. i keep looking around because the rain sometimes goes, but it is raining again very hard right now. the wind may have let up just a little bit in the last 20 minutes or so. but all day long we have seen everything from a storm surge. within a half hour, just around high tide, an area of town that often floods, but it was much
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quicker this time. but a half hour, it was waist-deep in this area. now they're expecting that again in this area. we saw beach erosion, massive beach erosion along carolina beach. about two feet of sand just gone by the end of the day here. and just rain. lots and lots and lots of rain. officials say that they've fortunately not had a massive amount of ems calls or emergency calls here in the city. they have a lot of trees down. they have should roofs torn off, some walls that have collapsed. but so far they seem to have dodged a major bullet. if they can hang on tonight, tomorrow they can get into the neighborhoods and figure out where things stand. the entire city is devoid of electricity right now. most of the county is also devoid of electricity right now. there's about 128,000 people that duke electric serves in this area, and about 108,000 of them are without electricity
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tonight. so it's going to be a long time restoring light to normal in carolina beach, north carolina, don. >> from your position, miguel, i don't imagine you've seen it because we've been seeing these active rescues going on all day. have you witnessed anything like that? >> reporter: no. i mean that's one thing that they have dodged here. they have not had -- they've had a lot of ems calls, but they have been about downed trees, down wires. in fact, they've asked people not to call in to 911 unless you have a life-threatening emergency. one of the big problems now is a lot of cell phone service and communications have gone down, but we have not seen those sort of rescues here, don. >> all right. miguel, thank you very much. we'll check back in. you can see one of the bands of wind coming through right now and also pouring lots of rain on us. thank you, miguel. listen, i want to get to my colleague diane gallagher. you've been all over.
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were you in new bern. you saw the flooding. tell us where you are now and what you're seeing. >> reporter: so, don, right now we are in new bern, north carolina. we're at the fire department actually, and we came here because we were doing a ride-along. we were embedded with the north carolina national guard. we were going out to rescue three people because there are still a lot of active rescues that are happening in new bern right now. the floodwaters were rising. again, they seem to be receding at this point right now. still rescues happening. we were in a vehicle just like this. it's calledab an lmtv. we were going to a neighborhood that was severely flooded, very deep waters at this point. it seems as if the road had washed away. so as the national guardsmen were driving it, it caused that vehicle there to tip over into the floodwaters. now, we, my photographer and my producer jade and i were sitting in the back with a member of the national guard.
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there were three of them and swift water rescue diver who was in the front seat here. it took on water. it was difficult. we ended up getting rescued by three teenager from new bern who happened to be nearby. now, i want to be really upfront about this. the national guard, they train for this. they train these exact scenarios. they did everything perfectly the way they should have. they handled it and made sure that we were cool and calm and got us on the boat with those guys, and then they stayed with the vehicle until they could get it towed out. that vehicle is actually out right now. i'm told for the most part it is still functional. everybody is okay. but, don, this really does illustrate the danger that these first responders do put themselves in as they're going out for these rescues. >> yeah. >> reporter: after hurricanes because you don't know what is underneath the water once it gets so deep. it's not like he hit a tree or something. the road washed out completely. so that big vehicle there with that entire back part is empty,
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just that canvas over it, slid back down inside the water and it started to fill up with all of us people inside of it. again, they did everything they needed to do, but speaking to firefighters here, policemen here in new bern, all of them seem to have a little bit of a horror story about something scary happening to them while they were out on these rescue missions, don. the firefighters -- excuse me -- our national guardsmen we were with had done 50-plus rescues at this point today. they are out and out and out getting people constantly who stayed in their homes and are trapped here. >> i'm told by the mayor of new bern earlier that they had hundreds of rescues, and you're perfectly right to mention the rescue workers and how hard they've been working, even putting their own lives in danger. i want to get to a rescue worker now from indiana task force one. sadly was on the scene and i think he assisted in the situation where the mother and infant lost their lives. mr. pruitt, thank you so much
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for joining us. >> thank you, don. >> can you take us through what happened? >> yes. about 11:00 today, we received a call. i'm with the indiana fema urban search and rescue team that's stationed here in wilmington. and we received a call from the wilmington fire department about 11:00 this morning to assist them with a tree that had fallen on a home with three family members trapped. we arrived on the scene there. wilmington firefighters had been working tirelessly since around 7:00 a.m. to rescue this family. they were able to pull the male occupant from the home, but the mother and the infant were still trapped in the home under the tree. and we basically integrated our rescue team from indiana into the wilmington fire department's group and worked for about the next three hours to get access to the mother and her child.
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but when we did get access to them, unfortunately they were deceased. so it was a very, very tough morning for the wilmington rescue crews from the fire department and our members of indiana task force one. not the way we wanted to start this storm out. >> i can only -- no matter how long you do it, i would imagine it doesn't get any easier. it's just awful, terrible news. we understand the father was there and is in the hospital. do you know anything about the condition of the father, mr. pruitt? >> we haven't heard an update on him. my understanding when we were on the scene from the wilmington officials was that, you know, he was going to survive. a big tragedy obviously for that gentleman to lose his family like he did this morning. you know, the rescue crews tried to do everything they could, but it was just such a freak accident from the high winds and the rains that moved through earlier this morning. >> so you said this started at
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7:00 a.m., and then they called for assistance at 11:00, correct? and then three hours after that is when you were able to get to the mother? do i have my time line right? >> yes. that time line is pretty close, don. they started work. they had multiple rescuers on the scene, and the size of this tree -- it was a massive tree. and when it came down on top of the house, it was very unstable. so they were working in hurricane conditions to stabilize this tree and try to cut it away, and it is very time-consuming. and once they got the gentleman out, then they focused their efforts, but they needed more help. they were exhausted at that point. when we showed up on the scene, we gave them fresh hands. our guys are trained in heavy rescue, and we were able to jump in and start helping them to do all we could, to see if there was any chance that we could save the mother and the infant. and in the end, the tree falling on the house was obviously probably what took their life
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immediately when that happened. just a tragic event for all of us to work on that scene this morning. >> well, listen, we thank you for your service and for what you do. and we know it's a very difficult situation, and we really appreciate it. thank you so much, mr. pruitt, okay? >> thank you, don. have a good evening. >> you too. we're going to speak to a doctor at the hospital where that father is right now and check on his condition and get some updates on other situations and how other people are doing who may have had some emergency situations here. we're going to continue our coverage here. you can see it's picking up. and in the coming hours, it's going to get worse where i am. we'll keep you updated. there's still rescues going on. this storm is not over yet. it's continuing to stall and really pour rain into the area. we'll be back with our special coverage of tropical storm florence right after this break. -computer, order pizza.
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live pictures of myrtle beach in south carolina here. i'm don lemon. this is our continuing breaking news coverage of what is now tropical storm florence, which came ashore -- made landfall this morning. i shouldn't say with a vengeance. she just came in and dumped a lot of water and sat there and is continuing to dump a lot of water. we've been telling you about the rescue operations that are under ware, the preparedness, and all of it really a team effort. so i want to bring in state senator luke rankin who can
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discuss all of that. as we were walking over here, you were telling us about this coordinated effort you see going on, and you're happy to see it. >> it is a beautiful thing to see. city, county, state, federal, every level has been prepared in advance. so this is -- you hate to say the term not our first rodeo, but in fact it has been a seamless operation. volunteer efforts all across the board. animal shelters. my wife's been involved with that. grocery stores. just an atmosphere of hope, calm, and i would say sobriety as well because this has been a category 4, downgraded to now we're here in a tropical storm thank the lord. >> it's good. still, the winds aren't quite as high. but maybe if it had a bit higher winds, it might move out. >> well, yeah. >> but you don't know. you've been a state senator what, for 20 years? >> since 1992. >> so you've seen this before.
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>> i was here during hugo, not elected at that point. but we knew that one well. myrtle beach didn't take the hit nearly as much as charleston, mcclellanville just north of charleston. so we've seen this and lots of experience along and along. matthew of course the most recent whereas we are experiencing now, the first punch is not so bad. again, thank the lord. but the second punch is going to be the real quick to all of the coastal areas across north and south carolina with the flooding that will occur. >> are you in touch with the local officials? what are they telling you? what's the read? >> well, the read is, again, that very point. ingress and leaving this area is going to be difficult with flooding. north carolina's waters, of course, run south. as we saw with matthew, we have a lot of areas that will be greatly affected by this. so that's going to be the real
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test. but i spoke with the governor last night. speaking with the county folks again, the state and federal, everybody is on deck, ready to address this. i can't tell you the spirit of community that we have exhibited here, that the nation is seeing. we're a hospitality place. we want folks to come here, stick their feet in the sand in the beach. >> and then come back. we likewise say that to you all here at the hotel here. but it's a great spirit of community, and we'll get through this. with those who are going to be displaced by the flooding, we will be there for them as well. so it's a difficult time, but great hope exists, will be met for those folks that are struggling. >> i appreciate it because you do see the humanity of people in these situations that come out. there's so much division. we talk about it all the time. but when you have a disaster like this, when you have a storm or a natural disaster or something awful happens, you see the humanity, and you see people
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coming together. there are people who are out here who are doing the forecasting, not necessarily in studios like meteorologists, who have to be there to look at the equipment. but there are people who are out and about and chasing those storms. we're going to talk to one of them right after this very quick break. our coverage continues. we are the tv doctors of america, and we may not know much about medicine, but we know a lot about drama. from scandalous romance, to ridiculous plot twists. (gasping) son? dad! we also know you can avoid drama by getting an annual check-up. so we're partnering with cigna to remind you to go see a real doctor. go, know, and take control of your health. it could save your life. doctor poses! dad! cigna. together, all the way. dad! went to ancestry, i put in the names of my grandparents first. i got a leaf right away. a leaf is a hint that is connected to each person in your family tree. i learned that my ten times
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flooding not only in the coastal areas but inland as well. they have set up curfews and for people to stay in their homes right now. mike scantlin is a storm chaser and he joins us now from wilmington. as i understand, as of 10:00, there has been a curfew there, mike, and what's going on? >> well, everything's flooded out. there's a lot of rain coming in. you know, we dealt with extremely high winds this morning and all afternoon as those rain bands kept hammering us. but now it's slowed down. the wind is a lot more sporadic. we're not getting those gusts just as often, but, man, it is raining. it is coming down hard, and it's going to be a long couple days. we're probably going to be stuck in our hotel here for at least three days. it's looking a lot like -- i hate to say it, but it's looking a lot like a harvey situation down here. >> yeah. i hear that you covered the flooding along the cape fear river. can you tell us about it?
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>> yeah. so, you know, we've got the storm surge pushing in with a big storm like this. you get a big ten-foot storm surge along the coast, and then the storm comes inland and drops a bunch of rain and it wants to run outward. so it piles up and compounds and compounds. the cape fear river is coming up. all the rivers and inlets out here are rising and it's only just begun. we're going to have upwards of 20 or 30 inches of rain over the next couple days. so it's only just begun. >> yeah. so, mike, walk us through this video. correct me if i'm wrong. this is the eye as florence was coming through wilmington, correct? >> yes, sir. that was at about 6:00 or 7:00 this morning as the eye wall came ashore. and, you know, with such a slow storm motion, it was just relentless. it just kept hammering us. usually a storm this strong is going to be moving fast enough that it -- you know, you're not in it for an hour at the most. but we were in the eye wall for at least three hours this morning.
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you know, by the time it was over, i was ready for it to be over.that's for sure. >> yeah. accuweather storm chaser mike skra scantlin, you stay safe. as i said, there's flooding concerns all over and right here in myrtle beach where i am in this area. also my colleague drew griffin is in myrtle beach as well, who is going to update us on that. drew, i've been out looking at the ocean, getting closer to coming over the berms here. i've been walking around the town seeing some flooding. those storm drains are working overtime. what are you seeing? >> reporter: yeah. i got to tell you, i'll be honest with you. what a difference a few miles makes, just being this far south. myrtle beach looks like it's come through relatively unscathed. we've been talking to a lot of the officials here. they're not having any big problems and even with this wind that we're feeling right now, don, the county police department has just announced they're back to normal operations, meaning they will
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respond. i think for myrtle beach, it's come through this storm just fine. that inland flooding is a real big issue now. twofold. one for the people who live there, but also for the evacuees who are going to try to come back. the rivers, i'm told, are going to be cresting right at the two or three main entryways back into myrtle beach. the mayor of this town says that is a huge concern both for the evacuees and for re-supplying and getting the town back up and running. but as of tonight, through the hurricane blast, now tropical storm blast, i think myrtle beach has done pretty well. don? >> yeah. it's done pretty well considering. well said, drew griffin. drew, thank you very much. drew actually set me up for my next guest, and that is the mayor of myrtle beach. that's brenda bethune. she has been joining us here every evening here on cnn. mayor, we thank you so much. as i understand, there are five
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rivers that pose a major threat, a threat of flooding here in the area. tell us about that. >> hi, don, and thank you. yes, we have actually five rivers that are in the interior of the county, and all of those possibly could affect up to seven main roads that come into myrtle beach. and that is what we are so desperately concerned about right now because that affects tourism, business, people coming back to their homes, the economy. it literally could cripple us for quite a few weeks. >> yeah. are you seeing any serious injuries or getting any calls of any serious injuries or threats, mayor? >> no. we are so grateful at this point that we have not. and unfortunately our hearts just go out to north carolina, who have already lost five
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people. it is so devastating. no matter what comes to us, the flooding, the issues that we may have to deal with in the coming weeks, the scars that those people have from this storm are going to last a lifetime. >> yeah. are you in touch with officials in the surrounding areas and talking to them about what's happening with them and the assistance that they might need? if you come through unscathed, you may be able to help out in other areas. >> absolutely. as senator rankin just shared with you a few moments ago, there has been this incredible sense of community and support and all of us gathering around each other and reaching out to each other to just say, we're here if you need us. whatever it is, we are going to do this together. and i think that's what it takes. there's so much divisiveness in this country today, and this is a situation where all of that needs to be put aside.
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we need to come together. we need to unite, and we need to show love to our neighbors. and that's what makes us america. >> yeah. well, and it is good. i'm glad you said that. it's going to see the humanity in people, the kindness, brotherly love, peopling helping each other out in these situations. it is unfortunate that it takes this in order for us to see it, mayor, but i think you're right on. i know it's been a very busy time for you. we thank you for joining us. we may need you a little bit later because we're hearing it's going to get possibly worse throughout the coming hours here, especially in myrtle beach. mayor brenda bethune of myrtle beach, thank you so much. i appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> listen, 800,000 people so far without power. and by the time this is all over, we're told it could be as high as 2.5 million people without power. our coverage continues on the other side of this break. we'll update you on everything. . 'cause that's no so-so family.
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are you guys going to talk to me? what am i doing? i don't hear anyone. you told me a while ago we were coming out of the break. >> allison chinchar live from the cnn weather center. we are taking a look at the latest information that we have from tropical storm florence. movement still right now credibly slow. west at only three miles per hour. the winds are still sustained, that means consistent, at 70 miles per hour and gusting up to 85 miles per hour. we have seen the center of circulation actually cross into south carolina, and that's
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really the state that we're going to start to see some of that heavy rain really begin to push into. and the storm surge, which really up to this point has been limited to areas of north carolina, you're now going to start to see areas of south carolina be inundated by that storm surge as we go through the next 24 hours. some of the heaviest rain bands have been around this morehead city and up through jacksonville area. but notice just in about the last hour, we've had another very heavy rain band set up just to the north and east of wilmington. and that's where we're really going to start to see some of those rainfall total numbers jump. some of those areas are getting two to three inches of rain an hour. and if you think that they are going to get it for a short period of time, you are wrong. it is going to continue to rain there for the next several days before this storm finally pushes back out. >> all right. thank you very much for that. sorry for the technical problems here. of course this is what happens when you have a storm like this.
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listen, i want to get now to wilmington, north carolina. we're going to -- who are we going to? allison chinchar? brian todd. brian, what are you seeing in wilmington? >> reporter: well, don, allison is talking about the rainfal and how it's going to affect wilmington and how some of that water has no place to go. this is an example of it. i'm on the banks of the cape fear river. you can't see the river right now. if this is true to form, you might be able to see it in maybe 24 or 48 hours' time even if darkness because it is threatening to push right over these banks and come onto water street where we are and places nearby. this river is already setting records for flood stage, for cresting. at high tide today, it was at 8 1/4 feet according to our weather people, and that broke all records for high tide at the cape fear river at this juncture of the river where wilmington sits near where the river pours into the atlantic ocean.
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upstream on the northeastern cape fear river is a place where they expect the tide levels to rise sometimes maybe between 15 and 20 feet above the record stages. so this is really a dangerous situation here. this is a tidal river. that makes it predictable under normal circumstances. but right now, with so much water coming in and the storm surge pushing the tides even higher as i've just been talking about, that water is not going to have anyplace to go. the river, don, has different contours in different places. here it's deeper and wider. but in the northeastern section of the cape fear river, it's more shallow. it's got tributaries flowing all over the place, a lot of people living near those tributaries. some of those people in those rural areas like what we saw in new bern, north carolina, today with its flooding, some of those people are going to be in for some real trouble, especially if they did not evacuate those areas. so that's a real nail-biter tonight, don. another nail-biter here in wilmington is the fact that some
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of the streets here might provide an advantage to some of the people in wilmington. the streets that run perpendicular to this one, going inland and going toward downtown wilmington, some of them are on an incline. they rise up. the question is are they going to be high enough, the people on the other ends of these streets, are they going to be high enough to avoid some of the flooding? that's what's causing a lot of people some concern tonight, don. that is what we're going to be keeping an eye on. >> thank you, brian todd. of course you heard the mayor of myrtle beach saying five rivers here that pose a threat concern for the area. that's a threat concern really for all over the coastal areas and also inland as well. nick watt is in north myrtle beach. that's where we saw chris cuomo just a little bit earlier. he was talking about the ocean and possibly some flood conditions there. nick, what are you seeing? >> reporter: well, don, we are seeing a continuation of what chris was talking to you about earlier. if you remember, we were talking about this berm on the beach and
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whether the waves were going to breach that and then perhaps come and just flood straight under our house and into this town. now, we have high tide here maybe at around 2:00 a.m. now, and if that coincides with these onshore winds, that is when we might be getting this surge issue. i believe i've lost my contact with you, but hopefully you can still here me. so that is what we are waiting for, and it could be catastrophic. i mean the national hurricane center is saying that there is a chance of very severe, life-threatening surge up here in north myrtle beach, and that is what we were hoping doesn't happen. we're going to be up for a few hours watching this to see if it does flood under our house. the other issue here, just a microcosm, a very small example of what can happen when you get sustained, heavy rains for hour and hour and hours. our house that we're staying in, we're starting to see the ceiling, the gypsum just
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bulging. water is getting in somehow. we don't know how. but after so many hours of rain, it is getting in. that's a minor issue, but it is an example of how this water when it just rains for so long, just can get in places and cause problems. but the main issue we're looking at here is that. we're looking at the waves and hoping those waves do not come into this town. don, back to you. i can't hear you, so if you have a question, i can't take it. back to you, don. >> nick, i understand. i had the same thing happen to me moments ago. that's what happens when you're in these sorts of conditions. you have technical difficulties, and that should be expected. it's starting to get -- the wind is picking up here, and it's starting to get a little bit worse. so the forecasters were right on target when they said the worst could happen here between 11:00 and possibly 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. again, a band of wind coming from the north, what they saw earlier in north myrtle beach, and what they saw earlier in wilmington. we're going to continue to update you on all of this, the
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live rescues that are going on. sadly, five people losing their lives in what is now a tropical storm florence. don't forget that the past can speak to the future. ♪ ♪ i'm going to be your substitute teacher. don't assume the substitute teacher has nothing to offer... same goes for a neighborhood.
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so no matter what, you're guaranteed to have a perfect drive. [laughter] (vo) go national. go like a pro. see what i did there? back now with our continuing breaking news coverage of tropical storm florence here in the carolinas. i just want to set the scene. we've moved to show you what's happening on beach. it's not the ocean hasn't come as far in as it has in north myrtle beach where we saw nick watt and chris cuomo earlier. if you turn this way, that storm drain that we have been discussing, there it is out there. i'll walk out there maybe in the dark a little bit. this is how they get that floodwater out of the town when you're this close to the ocean.
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what they do is, they've got these storm drains over here. and this thing was, i know i'm in the dark here. this thing was a tiny little thing when we got here. now it has moved, some of the water has trickled in from other parts. that's a storm drain from a little bit inland bringing water into the ocean. that's the good news for them because they can do that. when they're inland, there's no way for the water to go. the ground is so saturated and coming in so fast it's going to be pretty who ahorrific. people have to rescue people in the terrible weather. there's a lot of floodwaters. one of those people is george with go rescue and joins us now by phone. tell us what you've been seeing today. >> we've got some calls last night that people would be trapped in their houses. we woke up this morning and from
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what i understand, it's usually about an half and a half drive it took us about three hours. we would have to cut a tree out of the road. once we got there, we were the first civilian responders on scene. spoke with the fire department. told him we had a few addresses we would like to collect. they gave us permission to go back there. once we got back there, it was a bigger magnitude than what we thought it was. new york city fire department showed up. some spots were high and dry if that neighborhood we were at. others where are past mailboxes about five foot deep or so. you're saying there's a bigger condition. talk to me what you saw there because you didn't expect it. >> yeah. when we initially got there, we had about four calls to go in for people that needed help getting out.
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and then most of the calls were in the back of the neighborhood. as we were going through, we were knocking on doors and making sure everybody was okay. and you know, some spots they're two-story houses mainly back there and probably three to four foot of water inside the houses. there's people still in there. so it was -- once we got to our initial people and came back, that's when the new york city fire department showed up along with local fire departments from there. and it was a joint effort between all three you know, is the civilians and the two the fire departments out there to check that whole neighborhood. we were out there from about 9:30 this morning till about 4:00 this afternoon. we finally pulled the last person out of there. as i understand, there is -- you use a crowd sourcing app in order to help you with the rescue operations. can you explain that to us? >> the crowd sourcing app is,
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it's made, they have the company's out of houston, texas. pat's a great guy, the one that came up with it. ever since irma last year, me and him keep in touch, talk every month or so. what it is, it's a system that people can call in if they can't get hold of 911 or it's ringing off a couple different ways. you can go online and register yourself that you're trapped. and then matt's people, they integrate all the information on to a google map system. and then teams like myself have access to the crowd sourcing rescue and we can go on there and whatever area they're working, we can pull all the addresses for that particular area. they'll do the calls, get back on either our app or on the web page. and clear those calls out and we
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did it during harvey. i didn't use it as much during harvey. we used it in florida, that was our main tool we used to find people and help them out. >> we're so thankful that you're able to do that. thank you very much. get yourself some rest as we understand to rescue operations have been halted for the evening. all rescue operations halted for the evening unless there is something catastrophic. talk about the power and the energy here and whether people -- how many people have electricity, how many people don't. i want to get to jeff brooks from duke energy. thank you for joining us here on cnn. talk to us about the situation, how many people are without power right now? >> thank you, don. we're still seeing power outages occurring. we have more than 500,000
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customers without power at present. basically nel county along the coastal part of north carolina are pretty much without power. that's moved inland quite a bit and we're seeing in it the central part of the state a number of outages popping up as the bands come through that part of the state. as it moves into south carolina, we'll see more of that. we've got a lot of the work op our hands already. >> usually in these situations, when the storm gets out of there, it usually moves pretty fast. you can start the process of getting people's energy and their power back up and running. what sort of problem is this situation posing, is florence posing? >> because it's just sitting here and dumping a bunch of water. >> it's a very u fiqh and tremendous challenge we're facing because the storm is moving so slowly our crews can't do the assessments they need to begin restorations. they're basically in a bunker just like everybody else waiting for it to pass. that is a very real challenge. there's another challenge too
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that's beginning to emerge. that's the flooding. we see areas that are hard to access, and we're considering we have crews at more than 30 staging sites around the carolinas ready to move in to help. we have the very real possibility that roads could become flooded and inhibit their ability to move in. we're working to figure out how best to get them into the hardest hit areas over the next day or two to begin that important working. > jeff brooks at duke energy. you definitely have your work cut out for you. get back to work and as you heard, viewers, more than 500,000 people here in the carolinas without power. and when it's all over, we're told it could be as many as 2.5 million. this storm, 850,000 i should say. right now without power. he said more than 500,000. we were told 850,000. it could be more than 2.5 once this is all over. the challenge here is that this storm just won't leave. they've got all the water and
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can't get people's power back up because they can't get to where they need to reconnect folks and figure out where the problem is. the top of the hour in moments. we'll have a new forecast for florence. don't go anywhere, we'll be right back with cnn's special coverage of tropical storm florence. ♪ flintstones! meet the flintstones. ♪ ♪ they're the modern stone age family. ♪ ♪ from the town of bedrock. ♪ meet george jetson. ♪
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