tv Good Morning America Weekend Edition ABC September 15, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PDT
good morning, america. this morning, tracking florence. it's now a tropical storm and it is making a slow and tortuous march through the carolinas causing catastrophic flooding. >> it's hard not knowing if i'm going to have a house to go home to. >> the relentless rain, already nearly 2 feet of water, up to 40 inches expected. rescues going on right now. hundreds of people still trapped inside their homes waiting for help. and now that help is coming from all over the country. this as new images come in of the devastation this morning. our team right there in the storm zone with the latest on the storm's path and the threat still to come. also this morning, plea deal. paul manafort, donald trump's former campaign manager, agreeing to cooperate with special counsel robert mueller.
>> he's accepted responsibility. >> what it could mean for the president. and search for answers. the exploding homes in massachusetts. up to 80 structures destroyed. the governor declares a state of emergency. one person killed. what the gas company is saying this morning and the second potential catastrophe avoided. hey, good morning. paula is off. very happy, though, to have adrienne bankert and whit johnson on set this morning on a very busy morning. we also have sam champion and ron claiborne, so the
whole crew is here, and let's get right to it. it's breaking news. it's tropical storm florence on a cruel crawl through the carolinas setting up shop and dumping historic amounts of rain. >> and dramatic images coming in overnight. look at all the weather -- the water, that is, building up in goldsboro, north carolina. the winds from florence starting to die down this morning, but the flooding emergency still
growing across the region. >> and right now florence is very slowly moving over the carolinas just drenching north and south carolina as those floodwaters keep rising across the region. >> here's what we know right now. at least seven people have been killed in this storm including a mother and her infant who died sadly when a massive tree crashed onto their home. >> and those storm-force winds also wreaking havoc on power lines across the region. nearly a million customers without power in the carolinas this morning. >> and florence has already dumped nearly two feet of
rain in some areas. a near record with much more on the way. >> we are covering every angle this morning. our extreme weather team spread out all over the storm zone and we begin with ginger, who is right there in wilmington, north carolina. ginger, just to put a fine point on this, florence may be a tropical storm right now, but the danger is far from over. >> it is far from over, dan, because of this, it's still raining.
24 hours after landfall, the storm's only 100 miles from where it began. that is really slow movement, and people here waking up not just without power but with damage like this. i mean, this giant tree is one of three on this street alone in the historic district of wilmington where you can't get to the damage because it's too dangerous yet. we're in a flash flood emergency. we are one of seven counties. and i'll take you to the maps to show you exactly what is happening here. those feeder bands, those tropical moisture bands that are kind of feeding around the tropical storm won't stop, and they are barely moving, so let's put on the flash flood warnings just so people understand how far west the watches go. asheville and spartanburg all the way up into western virginia have to watch out because with this slow crawl, it'll eventually get to you and it's going to have plenty of moisture yet to go. so let's put on the short-term model. 12 hours, it looks like it didn't move. that was not a static image, that was 12 hours from now and that will go through tonight, and this is the most important graphic you'll see all morning.
additional rainfall, there's already been nearly 24 inches of rain reported just northeast of where i'm standing. really close to here. even back to fayetteville. 6 to 10 inches there and then eventually this ling will move and goo into western south carolina and by the end of the weekend the start of the week it'll make its track up and get kicked out of the northeast by tuesday. before we do that i have to tell you, i think we're going to end up having the wettest tropical storm or tropical system that the state of north carolina has ever had. we're about a quarter inch away from breaking that record right now. >> wow. thank you so much, ginger. stay safe out there. as we've seen with ginger the devastation covering miles and miles of north carolina from toppled trees to submerged streets. >> and abc's amy robach is also in wilmington with more on the damage and the rescues. amy, good morning. >> reporter: hey, good morning to you, whit. and, yes, the devastation is everywhere you look. you can see behind me this used to be a gas station. we got out and about as soon as the winds subsided and everywhere we looked we saw
downed trees, flooded streets and still we have flooding going on all around us. we also saw homes destroyed. rescuers as you might imagine were out for the past 24 hours trying to save as many people as possible and, unfortunately, in one case they made a devastating discovery. overnight a massive rescue operation under way to find those still who may be trapped along the carolina coast. >> never seen this kind of damage here. >> reporter: as torrential rains continue to take aim at north carolina, flash flood emergencies remain in effect with another ten inches of rain possible this morning. record rainfall expected to bring catastrophic flooding, risky water rescues by heroes braving the elements. hundreds rescued from rushing waters, hundreds still feared to be trapped in their homes. rescuers going door to door. this morning, new images of the devastation. trees littering the roads dropped on top of home after home. numerous cars crushed beneath trees. >> there it goes. >> reporter: and this new video
capturing the moment saturated ground gives way sending this enormous tree falling. this car dealership having part of its roof ripped off crushing an entire row of cars. florence came ashore as a category 1 turning deadly as the monster storm tore into the coast bringing winds reaching 90 miles per hour. >> it was really horrible. it sounded like the screeching sound of plywood being pried off an old mill. >> reporter: this storm chaser trying to measure the wind speed barely able to keep his footing. >> trying to get out, we got thrown into trailers, we got thrown into mailboxes, houses. trees. >> reporter: the blinding rain forcing police cars off the road to wait it out as the eye of the storm blew through wilmington. at least seven people have died from the storm. >> the storm is wreaking havoc on our state. >> reporter: firefighters trying to desperately save those trapped inside. sadly the life of a mother and an infant taken. >> we are saddened today to announce the first fatalities of this storm here in wilmington. >> repr: firefwe
unable to save. as florence took aim, you couldn't tell the rivers from the roads. storm surge ten feet in some places nearly covering homes. transformers exploding. >> oh, my gosh. >> reporter: one after another as florence struck. residents across the carolinas are hoping and praying that florence's floodwaters won't destroy what they have worked so hard to rebuild after hurricane matthew striking just two years ago. >> there you go. >> from right here where my mother's mailbox is there, it is at least two feet deep. >> reporter: you know, i've covered hurricanes for the past two decades, and every time after the storm is over, the next day, it's usually beautiful weather. that is not the case with hurricane florence. you can see it is still raining, and ginger talked about those rainfall totals. nearly two feet already. in some places we're expecting at least another 6 to 10 inches here in wilmington, north carolina, when we have high tide.
those two combining, not good news for people who are trying to escape floodwaters, guys. >> and you put your finger on the exact problem, amy robach, thank you. earlier i spoke with david cotton, who is the county executive of onslow county, north carolina. it's one of the hardest hit regions, and they are dealing with a flash flood emergency right now. sir, thank you for joining us in what is i would imagine an extremely hectic time. let me ask you first, can you give us a sense of how things are looking right now in your county? >> unfortunately, they are deteriorating. overnight, we received significant rainfall and that has led to countywide flooding. so we are experiencing just pockets within onslow county which is roughly 900 square miles, and we are actively deploying our swift water rescue crew we have had 20 home rescues. we've had three stranded
vehicles, and it's -- that pace and tempo is only picking up. >> and i'm seeing numbers here -- you can tell me if these are up to date -- that there may be 200 to 300 additional people who require rescue services right now. >> that number is accurate, yes. >> so, how do you manage -- i mean, are you going to be able to reach these folks with the teams that you have available? >> that's what we're working on right now. fortunately, we have camp lejeune with 40,000 marines in our community, and they are serving as a tremendous partner. they are deploying assets on our behalf, amphibious vehicles. we have the coast guard currently coming with a helicopter. so we're not going to stop until we reach all of these folks and get them to a safe shelter. >> you know what it sounds like, and i'm relieved to hear this, that you have tremendous resources available to you, but i would imagine if i'm putting myself in your shoes that it
would make you a little bit frantic to know there are potentially hundreds of people out there who need rescues and you're just waiting around to see if you can get to them. >> right now we are actively in the process of rescuing those that we can reach and we have a plan to reach the rest. we are in communication, thankfully. we do have phones and folks are able to communicate with us. so the most life-threatening, of course, are the ones we are going to first. >> we have lived through, both of us, i would assume, many, many major storms, and every time there are those people who simply refuse to heed the warnings and will not leave. why do you think that is? >> honestly, i'm not sure. more than likely it's maybe a mind-set of we've been through this before. we know what to expect.
we will shelter in place and the flooding with this one was the real concern. that is why we issued a mandatory evacuation. >> you're in the middle of an extremely busy and life-or-death situation, so we really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us, and we wish you the absolute best of luck going forward. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, sir. david cotton weighing in, and sam was listening to the interview and pointed out that one reason why a lot of people don't leave is because they can't afford to leave. >> that's true. >> so this is a very tricky issue and an emotional one. >> sorry, go ahead. >> the people of north carolina and south carolina are hearty people. you know, they're tenacious, and so hopefully everybody gets out when they need to get out, but just in terms of waiting this out, they have to be very patient and we're just -- our hopes are with them. >> absolutely. let's go to another hot spot now. it's new bern, north carolina, about 50 miles inland from the barrier islands. >> and hundreds of people have
been rescued there aft morl wai rescued. abc's gio benitez is in nearby greenville with more. good morning, gio. >> reporter: adrienne and dan, good morning to you. we are on the tar river here in north carolina, one of the many rivers flooding this morning, and take a look behind me. that's a pier, and it's just underwater right now, but as you say, new bern seeing some of the worst flooding, and right now this morning, rescues are still under way. this morning, the coastal city of new bern, north carolina, finding itself under water following a ten-foot storm surge. >> it's hard not knowing that i'm going to have a house to go home to. >> reporter: ceilings caving in, windows blown out. leaving residents looking for help. the national guard and fema teams assisting city officials with rescue efforts, but the conditions posing a serious challenge leaving over 7,000 without power. >> this has been an undaunting task for our city officials. with the resources we had, we got them out there, we are calling for more resources.
>> reporter: jackie mallard is one of those still trapped. >> it's pretty dire right now. the streets are almost like you need gondolas to get through my neighborhood, which is not a neighborhood that's in any type of flood zone. >> reporter: volunteers taking it upon themselves to assist in the rescue efforts including out-of-towners like the cajun navy in louisiana. and this task force made up of members of the fdny and nypd going door to door to help. navigating dangerous currents to get to those who are trapped. >> when you can help your fellow man, when you can get out there and do what you're trained to do, that's a great thing. >> reporter: these volunteer rescuers not letting a roadblock stop them from getting a boat to the streets of new bern. doing all they can to help. why is it so important for you to help these people? >> i would hope they would do it for me. i mean, sobodyeedo it, so we're going to try. >> reporter: yeah, people really coming together to help each other in times of
now, in new bern specifically we haven't heard of anyone being hurt in these storms, and perhaps that's because of all those rescuers rushing right in to help. adrienne and whit. >> all right, thank you so much. gio. we appreciate it. again, speaking to the resiliency of people there. flooding concerns, of course, the big story today and will be for many days to come. >> and people all along florence's path dealing with rising water and the increasing flood threat. abc's eva pilgrim has more from fayetteville, north carolina. eva, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, guys. we're standing right here in front of the cape fear river. this is one of the rivers that they are watching. we're already starting to see some involuntary -- excuse me, voluntary evacuations put in place in these low-lying areas that they're concerned about. on our way here we stopped in lumberton, and they are sandbagging, and they're in a race against time trying to shore up this low point there trying to delay the water and the flooding that could potentially happen.s there putt call, an emergency call for help asking for volunteers to come sandbag to help build up that
wall to slow down the river. you have to remember that a lot of these areas that we are watching right now are areas that are still at this point recovering from flooding that happened back in 2016 after hurricane matthew, and here they are again now once again waiting and watching as the rain continues to fall in these areas. and the tricky part here is that this kind of flooding often is delayed a bit. even after the storm has completely moved out, authorities are warning people they are reminding people that these rivers can still swell for days. guys. >> you are just getting pounded out there, eva. thank you so much for your reporting. get somewhere dry as soon as you can. thank you. >> just an agonizing wait for all those people still hoping to be rescued in the hours ahead. be rescued in the hour as head. in the meantime, in popular myrtle beach they are feeling florence's effects, expecting things to get worse. >> and as we've been saying all morning, it's all about the flooding. abc's tom llamas right there with more. tom, good morning to you.
>> reporter: dan, whit, good morning to you guys. as you can see, we are very much in it. florence is still pounding south carolina. it may only be a tropical storm but the wind is still howling and this endless rain refuses to stop. let me show you the ocean over here. this is the atlantic ocean. part of where florence came in and what they're worried about right now is the storm surge that should happen this afternoon. they're forecasting it to be anywhere from two to four feet and it's these water events that they're really worried about. we talked a lot about the amusement parks over here throughout the week and whether they would withstand, the roller coasters, the ferris wheel, all of that seems to be okay. not a lot of structural damage in myrtle beach. little, if anything at all. we've seen a couple of awnings ripped off but nothing serious. what they're worried about as you mentioned is the water. because it's a 36-hour event. endless rain, there are five rivers to the west of where i'm at right now. they all meet in the same area,
an area called georgetown, and they could all peak at record levels. that's not going to happen or tomorrow, but it may happen later on in the week. the big flood rescues is happening in north carolina. we're not at that level right now in south carolina because it's sort of a death by a thousand cuts over here. all of this endless rain, it refuses to stop, but we're going to stay on top of it in the days to come. back to you in the studio. >> thank you so much, tom. again, get dry, get somewhere where you can have shelter there. the impacts of the storm, of course, it's going to be like a domino effect. days and days of this water. for more on where florence is headed, let's turn now to sam champion. >> hey, good morning, everybody. the takeaway from what you have just been watching this morning is all the live shots we have in north carolina and south carolina, and look at how bad the weather is. remember, this system made landfall exactly 24 hours ago and we still have all this bad weather. so when you look at the radar, it's just streaming and streaming that rain. look for the center of circulation.ft io sout ese are e ive shots where there's been so much flooding, so much damage. we actually have a tornado watch
so picture yourself standing in floodwaters. floodwater surrounding your home and your town, and the next thing you're worried about is a tornado popping down in the area. that's exactly what's going on during the day today. then we'll show you where the track of this storm goes and i've got to say good morning, tennessee, kentucky, ohio, pennsylvania, even into vermont and new hampshire. this storm will have something for you. it will have rain for you and because the cold front that's dropping in, that moisture won't -- still won't be a tropical storm when it gets there is, but it will be carrying moisture. that moisture will be enhanced by the cold front which means we could see some flooding rain in all of those directions. we'll tell you where the real troubles are today and tomorrow but it's still north carolina, south carolina. that
inland areas hitting the upper 70s in some spots near the bay up to 70 degrees at the coast still cool in the 60s today clear this evening as well. t it's going to seem like t we're talking about this for days and days, but the river crest in these areas will be monday, tuesday, wednesday, well after the storm's departed. >> yeah, and ginger mentioned this being somewhat historic in terms of how wet this system is, right? >> definitely. it will become the wettest system in north carolina. >> all right. >> sam, you know, for many months i like to pick on you -- for many years i like to pick on you. >> what? i was going to say months, dan? >> but on a morning like this when things are serious it's great to have a ringer in the house. >> absolutely. >> thank you very much. really appreciate it. speaking of ringers, we want to go over to ron now because obviously when you're doing rescues in a situation like this, the emphasis is on humans but there are a lot of pets that need saving as well.you've been. >> yeah, dan, it's unfortunate but inevitable that when a major storm like this hits, some pets get lost or left behind in the
chaos, but in many instances volunteers are now coming to the rescue. it is video like this of pets that have been caught in the crosshairs of the storm being taken to safety that have captured the hearts of so many. cats and dogs left to fend for themselves rescued by good samaritans. this reporter interrupting her live stream to save a therapy dog. >> do you think that is safe? >> it's my daughter's therapy dog. i have no choice. >> all right. here we go. she's got the dog. >> reporter: coastal shelters were faced with a problem. what to do with all those dogs and cats left in their charge. so, some of them put out a call for help, and people lined up to foster pets this weekend and very likely even longer. and some of those people sharing photos on social media of themselves with their new friends quickly adapting to their new surroundings. some of them, some of them just may have found a permanent home. >> you see those animals, they knew they had to get out. >> they really did. you saw that cat jumping right in her arms. >> yeah.
>> it would even be remarkable if some of those pets were reunited with their owners. >> that happens. i covered in katrina, i remember i went out with the people rescuing pets and then i was there to see people reunited with their animals. it's really emotional. >> wonderful. >> incredible work but let's not forget the humans in trouble this morning. >> absolutely. >> ron, thank you. coming up on "gma," we're going to have the very latest on tropical storm florence. plus, the major headline in the russia probe. paul manafort, former chairman of the trump presidential campaign, pleading guilty. he's now agreeing to cooperate with robert mueller. so what does this mean for the president? and this story had a lot of people talking, a gas company is now giving their response after as many as 80 structures are destroyed in a series of gas explosions, but is the danger over? plus, as floodwaters rise in the carolinas, a warning about the hidden dangers facing those who decided not to evacuate. we'll be back. "good morning america" is sponsored by pronamel toothpaste. protect your enamel against the effects of everyday acids. he
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chase, make more of what's yours. . >> announcer: abc 7 morning. >> all news. >> announcer: you'll morning. >> good morning everyone chris nguyen. tens of thousand of volunteer across the state take part in the annual coastal cleanup date. today 60,000 people clean up one thousand sites including lakes beaches streams and batterways. you can voluntary at dozen of locations sign up online or register in person. we have a link on our website.
abc 7 news.com with a list of places still looking for help and most cleanups start at 9:00 this morning let's get a check of the weather now with meteorologist frances dinglasan with the full weekend forecast. >> if you are headed to beaches today grab a jacket. because we have of an area of low pressure bringing cloud cover right now. some clearing out there as well. but breezy conditions will bring us cooler temperatures. gusting already to 21-mile-per-hour in san francisco. look for temperatures to be a a little bit cooler compared to yesterday. chris. >> thank you. gma coming up next. we'll see
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♪ and we want to welcome you back to "gma" on this extremely busy saturday morning as tropical storm florence batters the east coast. parts of the carolinas waking up to almost two feet of water. this is what it looks like in goldsboro, north carolina. that flash flooding emergency only growing on this saturday morning. >> and it's not over. this slow-churning storm is expected to dump another 6 to 10 inches on the already devastated areas as it moves inland. >> so let's get right back to amy robach in wilmington, north carolina, where, of course, the flooding emergency is still top of mind. all across the region. amy, good morning. >> reporter: that's right, good morning, adrienne. good morning, everyone, and, yes, we are seeing florence make this slow and tortuous march through the carolinas with catastrophic flooding in her wake, and you can certainly see
the daat wind and rainthght'not goin away any time soon, unfortunately, on because of that, a massive rescue operation is under way here in the state of north carolina with firefighters trying to search for the hundreds of people feared trapped in their homes right now. we know this, at least seven people have already died in this storm including a mother and an infant when a massive tree crashed into their home and we have seen trees down all around in this area. as we mentioned winds reaching more than 100 miles per hour and we had 105-mile-per-hour wind gust here in wilmington. that had not been recorded since 1958 and so we have a lot of power lines that are down and a lot of homes and trees into homes. nearly a million customers present party included without power in the carolinas this morning and we know florence has already dumped two feet of rain in some areas which is a near record and as we've been telling you, much more is on the way. we are expecting another 6 to 10 inches of water today and as
this torrential rain spreads inla asolo there is a fear of mudslides and, of course, more flooding so we're going to keep our eye on the situation here in north carolina. we're going to be here throughout the weekend and follow some of those rescue operations that are taking place here and it sounds like we're in for it for the next several days, guys. >> all right, amy robach for us, thank you so much. the one thing that amy mentioned at the top of the show, the fact that you cover hurricanes and usually expect the next day the weather to clear out but this is still happening. only expect it to get worse in some places. >> still a lot of rainfall. >> slow-moving disaster. >> yep. so, we are all over the storm this morning covering that, but there's also other news including the big story out of washington. >> former trump campaign chairman paul manafort pleading guilty in federal court as part of a plea agreement. he is now agreeing to cooperate with the special counsel robert mueller. this is a big headline and abc's david wright is at the white house with much more. david, good morning to you. >> reporter: good morning, dan. manafort's plea deal is a big deal for robert mueller. with these back-to-back trials,
mueller's team has been ratcheting up the pressure on manafort trying to get him to turn on his former boss. donald trump's former campaign manager always vowed he wouldn't cut a plea deal. but the possibility of spending the rest of his life behind bars appears to have changed paul manafort's mind. >> tough day for mr. manafort but he's accepted responsibility. >> reporter: having already been found guilty of bank and tax fraud, manafort pled guilty friday to two additional counts of conspiracy related to his lobbying work and crucially he agreed to cooperate fully, truthfully, completely and forthrightly with law enforcement. that means he'll now have to tell all he knows to special counsel robert mueller. >> paul manafort has done an amazing job. he's here someplace. where is paul? paul manafort. >> reporter: it's not clear what if anything manafort knows about possible collusion between the
trump campaign and russia, but he was present for that famous trump tower meeting where a kremlin connected lawyer promised dirt on hillary clinton. the president's son and son-in-law also there. >> the plea agreement has -- and the cooperation agreement has nothing to do with the trump campaign. quote, there is no evidence of collusion. >> reporter: these charges do predate manafort's involvement with the trump campaign, they have to do with his longtime lobbying work on behalf of the former ukrainian president, viktor yanukovych. yanukovych has strong ties to the kremlin, so on the question of russian meddling, possible russian meddling, manafort has been a figure of particular interest, dan. >> so, the charges predate his involvement in the campaign but the agreement to cooperate will as far as we understand have to do with the campaign itself and perhaps beyond that. but let me get you to switch for a second, david, to another matter. while this storm, florence,
batters the east coast of america right now, president trump is tweeting about another storm a year ago in puerto rico defending his performance there. tell us about that. >> reporter: that's right. the president seems fixated on this. he's talking about the numbers in puerto rico after hurricane maria which jumped from a few dozen to several thousand. the president tweeting last night that the numbers appeared to have risen as if by magic. well, the governor of puerto rico took him to task for that and suggested that he show a little more empathy and respect for the victims there. dan. >> thousands of people all of them americans perishing in that storm. let's not forget that. david wright, thank you very much. let's go ahead and turn to sam champion who is watching the latest on tropical storm now florence and, sam, as you've been saying, the rain the big threat with this and it continues. >> yeah, rain and flooding, rain, flooding, rain, and we'll be saying this for awhile. look at these numbers.
23.75 inches, almost 24 inches almost 2 feet of rain and we know the national weather service people are working hard trying to get the warnings out to save lives. i don't expect we'll get decent rainfall updates until maybe another 24 hours. we will have a lot more coming with those numbers. we have an additional 15 inches of rain in some locations and look at this. with those flash flood warnings estimate in place, all that rain keeps going on top of it. the areas of concern have been north carolina, primarily for some of the flooding lately, but we'll see that slip into south carolina as the storm starts to depart, and this moisture starts to trail out of north carolina into south carolina. south carolina will get its own rain, but it's really the draining into these rivers that is so important. and those rivers that we wanted to show you quickly, just to see that spiraling, look at that. look at all the rivers and that
all that weather was sponsored by edward jones and again, folks, we're going to be talking about flooding well into the middle and the end of next week for those communities. same communities. >> danger is not over by a long shot. sam, thank you very much. >> waiting for those rivers to crest and then waiting for them to subside. >> right, difficult. >> big impact. >> absolutely. again, thank you, sam. coming up on "gma," the wild story out of massachusetts. the homes that simply exploded. as many as 80 of them catching fire and how officials now tell us they prevented an additional catastrophe. and floodwater dangers, the hazards that could be lurking beneath the surface. urface. underneath the surface. [ phone rings ] hey maya. what's up? hey! so listen, i was taking another look at your overall financial strategy. you still thinking about opening your own shop? every day. i think there are some ways to help keep you on track.
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hey, welcome back to "gma." one official is describing the dozens of gas fires that ripped through three towns in massachusetts as looking like armageddon. >> this story is just staggering. homes erupting in flames from natural gas explosions killing one person and leaving many more injured. abc's erielle reshef joins us with more on what the gas company is now saying. erielle. >> reporter: good morning, guys. the governor has declared a state of emergency in the wake of those shocking explosions, thousands forced to leave their homes until they're deemed safe
and police now revealing how they thwarted what could have been another catastrophic event. overnight, crews going door to door checking homes for residual danger after that string of mysterious explosions rocked three communities north of boston. >> okay, a loud explosion in the colonial heights neighborhood. it sounded like it came from a house. >> reporter: investigators now saying a faulty high pressure gas main may have caused those 60 to 80 structures to suddenly burst into flames. >> parts of this community right now look like a war zone. homes literally exploding. >> reporter: one of the blasts sending this chimney crashing onto this white suv. inside 18-year-old leonel rondon who did not survive. his friend telling abc news rondon was celebrating after getting his driver's license earlier that day. at least 25 others injured. fire departments in the area overwhelmed.at least 12 buildin smoldering.
crews stretched too thin to respond. this resident telling us he put out the flames in his home with his sweat pants. >> i just started fanning it, fanning it and it eventually went out. >> reporter: more than 8,000 customers forced to leave their homes until they are deemed safe. >> we are sorry. we're sorry and deeply concerned about the inconvenience. this is the sort of thing that a gas distribution company hopes never happens. >> reporter: this morning these infrared images police say show another potential catastrophe averted. a gas leak under the pavement caught just in time. and the ntsb is now leading this investigation. columbia gas is warning residents in the area not to return to their homes unless they are accompanied by a gas company representative. they're also urging people not to try to turn on the gas themselves or even turn it off. not even touch it at all. >> it's alarming how widespread it is. that they couldn't just turn off a valve.
this wasn't one neighborhood. >> it's the entire infrastructure that seems to be problematic. >> many people shocked at how this could even happen. thank you, erielle. >> erielle, thank you. still ahead this morning, more on florence and the fallout and the hidden dangers it could be stirring up when "gma" comes back. back. ♪ as moms, we send our kids out into the world, full of hope. and we don't want something like meningitis b getting in their way. meningococcal group b disease, or meningitis b, is real. bexsero is a vaccine to help prevent meningitis b
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♪ ♪ they're the moderne stone age family. ♪ ♪ from the town of bedrock. ♪ meet george jetson. ♪ ♪ his boy elroy. with instant acceleration, electric cars are more fun to drive and more affordable than ever. electric cars are here. plug into the present. welcome welcome back. it's been 24 hours of nonstop rain, and as we've been sharing with you this morning, the floodwaters are inundating north and south carolina, and it's only going to get worse. >> and those swirling waters present many dangers hidden below the surface. let's go back to abc's eva pilgrim in fayetteville, north carolina. eva, good morning, once again. >> r yeah, the real concern with storms like this is the floodin
water, while it's in its banks is fine for people to swim and walk through. as it starts to move through neighborhoods and other places, then it becomes a real health hazard. overnight tropical storm florence lashing the carolinas bringing high winds and heavy rain. now questions about what else the massive storm could bring. >> once the storm does move inland, the inland flooding threat is extreme. >> reporter: florence is expected to dump 10 trillion gallons of rain flooding roads and creating a travel nightmare for anyone who waited to get out. >> don't try to drive on flooded roads. those floodwaters can be deadly. >> reporter: just a few inches of standing water can stall an engine in low clearance cars and officials warn if the water is moving, your vehicle could be swept away. last year a texas family drowned while inside their van after to hid electrical wires which
claimed the life of a 25-year-old houston man who was trying to wade through dark waters. and what lies beneath is also cause for concern. just days after harvey hit, "gma" asked dr. terry gentry from texas a&m to collect samples of the floodwater. >> so we're going to collect the water sample to test for e. coli and coliform bacteria. >> reporter: in a small sampling the floodwaters' e. coli and coliform levels were alarming. >> we saw elevated levels of coliform and this represents the presence of organisms that could cause disease in some individuals. >> reporter: the e. coli numbers, more than 125 times higher than the epa recommended exposure for swimming. and 15 higher than the standard set for wading. now as another massive storm batters the east coast, residents preparing for dangers they can and can't see. and, guys, i've spent quite a bit of time in flood zones and can tell you that rescuers and
sick, violently ill being in the waters. you have to be careful. just because you don't see anything in the water doesn't mean that it won't make you feel bad later. guys. >> it's a really good point and a really good reason for you to be careful, eva. thank you very much for your coverage and, again, you and your team please stay safe. and we're going to be right back with much more on florence.
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"good morning america" is sponsored by blue buffalo. you love your pets like family, so feed them like family with blue. this is a big story, florence, and we want to leave you with the very latest on the storm, so let's start by going back to ginger zee who is in wilmington, north carolina. ginger. >> yeah, dan, we just wanted to make this point, that, you know, we didn't just find the one tree that's down. i want to show you what's happening. on this re a
thinking at least 50 plus years old that have made it through several other tropical storms and hurricanes here in wilmington. but in this one they fell and they fell for a reason, because they came into this storm 20 inches above where they should be to date. that means they could end up with their full year of rainfall after this storm is done here in willis, and i know, sam, you've been such a help coming in and relieving us here. you've been through a lot of these storms as have i. this one is different in that it's just not going anywhere. >> absolutely. ginger, you're right. so saturated ground before a storm gets there so not only are we talking about the coastal flooding, the tidal flooding, the wind damage, the fresh water flooding. we've got the trees down. the power down. and it's going to be difficult for people to get in here and help. so look at that rain staying in exactly the same position, and believe ginger when she says to you that this is going to go on for days. we're going to have teams in place watching the recovery of this area well into next week watching rescues well into next week.
it just isn't going to stop. >> we appreciate your and all of our team's decades of experience covering these storms. >> yes, absolutely. we'll be covering the storm for days. you can watch 24/7 coverage of hurricane florence on abc news live on our website. live on our website. >> announcer: all news zblb all morning. >> good morning, everyone i'm chris nguyen. tens of thousands of volunteers across the state will be taking part in the annual coastal cleanup day. today 60,000 people will clean up 1,000 sites including beaches, lakes streams and other waterways. you can volunteer at dozens of locations here in bay area. just sign uplaces still
looking for help and most of the clean up starts at 9:00 this morning you still have time. also happening today, the northern california dragon boat festival kicks off in oakland. teams from around the world will compete this week. in the largest dragon boat race in the country. there will also also be food shopping life permanent residences kids games and arts and crafts. opening ceremonies include a blessing of the boats. the event runs today and tomorrow from 10:00 to 5:00 at lake merit. turning to weather in the bay area forecast with meteorologists franceens dinglasan. >> hi, chris. the area of lop brought in clouds and breezier conditions. the life doppler 7. we have particle cloudy skies clearing quickly because of the strong sea breeze. right now gusting up to 23-mile-per-hour in concord, 21 miles in san francisco. temperatures right now as you should enjoy this live view from mount tam in the 50s. oakland 57.
san jose 57 but morgan hill still cool at 49 degrees. we are seeing some clearing skies through parts of the bay area. some cool temperatures still through parts of the north bay like santa rosa, 52. but fairfield and conkorld warming up to the upper 50s. chris. >> frances. thanks. up next on abc 7 news at 8:00. commuter confusion. what drivers and cyclists in this community need to know about the new markings. >> overnight rescues, disastrous flooding appear almost a million people out of power. i'm natalie brunnell in i'm natalie brunnell in wilmington ( ♪ ) face the world as a face to be reckoned with. only botox® cosmetic is fda approved to temporarily make moderate to severe frown lines, crow's feet and forehead lines look better. it's a quick 10 minute cosmetic treatment given by a doctor to reduce those lines. there is only one botox® cosmetic, ask for it by name. the effects of botox® cosmetic, may spread hours to weeks after injection, causing serious symptoms.
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>> announcer: goercke, bay area. let's get up and get going. >> announcer: this is abc 7 mornings. it's saturday september 15th. good morning and thanks for joining us clips nguyen. let's look at ac weather forecast. with meteorologist frances dinglasan tracking difficult doppler 7 for us. >> good morning, everyone if you are weigh up you see particle cloudy right now. we have low clouds even high clouds out there. but seeing some clearing around parts of the bay area. and here a live view from emeryville. you see the patchy clouds. those will break up. most temperatures in the 50s right now. some cool spots in the 40s and inland areas. and by noon the sea breeze will push the clouds away. we see mostly sunny conditions. temperatures mostly in the 60s.
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