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tv   CNN Newsroom Live  CNN  August 29, 2021 2:00am-3:00am PDT

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good morning. welcome so much to you on "new day". we're glad to have you here. there are two big stories we're following this morning. breaking news moments ago. hurricane "ida" strengthens into a category 4 hurricane. it's taking direct aim at louisiana. in the latest advisory, the major weather service is warning of life threatening storm surge and catastrophic damage. also, developing this morning, the u.s. embassy in kabul warning of a, quote, "specific credible threat to
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u.s. citizens near the airport." president biden warns another attack is highly likely. the special edition of "new day weekend" starts now. sunday, august 29th. thank you so much for spending some time with us this morning. good morning to you, phil. >> good morning, christine. no shortage of huge news. >> i know. starting today with the real danger that we're watching as it barrels toward communities along the gulf coast. hurricane ida has gained strength as phil said earlier. it's approaching the coast of louisiana and it's a beast. >> yeah. there's no question about it. overnight ida strengthened into a powerful category 4 storm. it will make landfall sometime today bringing as much as 20 inches of rain to some areas. the potential for storm surge
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and strong winds. fema trucks and generators are in the area. the national guard has been deployed. experts warn the pandemic could make emergency responses more difficult. yesterday bumper to bumper traffic stretched for miles as people left their homes for safety. ida will be the fourth hurricane to make landfall in louisiana since august of last year. >> also, a strike today would follow exactly 16 years after hurricane katrina ripped through the region. 1800 people died during katrina. louisiana's governor says this storm is even much more powerful. >> this will be one of the strongest hurricanes to hit anywhere in louisiana since at least the 1830s. we can also tell you that your weekend of time is closing. it's rapidly closing. and just like we said yesterday,
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by the time we go to bed tonight, you need to be where you intend to ride the storm out. >> i want to get to cnn meteorologist alisyn chin char. we've gotten an update on what is a fast moving storm. >> and rapidly intensifying. the storm the winds go up 35 miles per hour in less than 24 hours. it actually did 60 miles per hour in that same time frame. we're up to a category 4 storm. sustained winds, that means constant winds of 140 miles per hour. gusting up to 16 5. forward movement to the northwest at about 15 miles per hour. the track actually, unfortunately, calls for even further strengthening. we anticipate the sustained winds to get up to around 145 before landfall. it's expected to make landfall as a category 4 but should
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weaken relatively quickly. it's expected to slow down once it moves inland. right now the focus of the track is just to the west of the city of new orleans. that is important because that puts new orleans on the eastern side of the storm, which traditionally speaking is where you have the stronger winds. not only your stronger wind speeds to occur on the eastern half of the storm but have the highest storm surge and the greatest threat for tornados, as well. not ideal location for new orleans if the track remains the same. we're starting to see a lot of these outer bands really starting to push in along the gulf coast. not just louisiana but even other states, as well, including florida looking at lightning and thunderstorms there. closer to new orleans, it's not just outer bands but heavy rain with some of these. you can see orange and yellow colors indicating downpours at times moving through the downtown area. storm surges still going to be one of the biggest concerns
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along the coastline. this purple area here, including biloxi 7 to 11 feet there. winds will be a concern but not just on the coast. the farther you go inland, you're likely to see 60 to even 100 miles per hour winds. that's more than enough to bring down trees and power lines. we taunted the poesh for tornados and water spouts and damaging winds from mobile, biloxi, new orleans, and through jackson, mississippi. that's throughout the day today. a tornado watch is highly likely at some point later this afternoon. here is a look at the storm. the outer bands continuing to slide in. landfall at this point is expected to be early afternoon. so really just a few hours from now. the big concern, as we go after landfall, is going to start to be heavy rain, phil and christi, not just along the coast, as the stomp continues to push inland, it will take the heavy rain with it. >> my goodness.
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alisyn, we're great ateful to h you on this, thank you. people on the gulf coast are not strangers to hurricanes. they're making sure they're ready when ida makes rainfall. >> a resilient community. michael holmes has more. >> reporter: filling up and getting out. many people in new orleans are leaving town. >> i'm not going to do that again. >> reporter: the lines of heavy traffic leading out of the city show how many people are taking their chances with the storm named ida. many residents have been through major hurricanes before but officials say this one could be a monster. there are warnings in new orleans and surrounding coastal regions to evacuate, if at all possible, by morning. one man said his neighborhood on barrier island is emptying out. >> everybody packing up and getting out. i hear it's going to be a dozen people trying to ride it out.
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>> reporter: louisiana has taken the punches of many of these storms before. it's recovering from hurricane laura which made landfall last year causing nearly $20 billion in damage. and 16 years ago, on this very day, hurricane katrina unleashed its furry on new orleans and other gulf coast cities. more than 1800 people were killed in the storm and its harrowing aftermath. the city taking early action based on the mistakes made during that disaster. they spent billions of dollars reconstructing the levy system. u.s. president joe biden approved an emergency declaration to free up federal assistance. fema is moving tracks and generators to the area. and more than 200 national guard members are already on the grounds in new orleans. rescue teams across the southeast gearing up to help. some getting coronavirus tests before they deploy.
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officials and experts said the pandemic will make emergency responses more difficult and with low vaccination rates in places in the storm's path, ida could bring a surge not only of flood waters but of covid-19 cases. michael holmes, cnn. >> thank you for the reporting. as hurricane ida closes in on louisiana, many local leaders are warning people in their communities to get out as fast as they can. one of the leaders the president of jefferson paris joining me now. thank you for your time. it's a critical moment for you. i want to start with something you talked about last night. you told residents they should evacuate immediately. even though parts of your parish are under mandatory evacuation order, you heard from some people, a few dozen, that hadn't left yet. any updates on the people? are they planning to move? >> in the parish i'm talking
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about is grand isle. it's the first land mass this storm will hit. it's about two hours away from where i am now. it's a very narrow island with one road down the middle. houses on both sides. i'm estimating -- and i spoke to the mayor earlier, we think there are about 40 people on the island. i'm concerned for them. you know, it's our main concern for what their night is going to be like. >> in a situation like that you know what is your capacity to get emergency assistance to those people in the middle of something like we think is coming over the course of the next several hours or day? >> right now, they have to stay there. they didn't leave in time. and we will have search and rescue immediately. the problem is one road in and the road often will get flooded over. it's impassable. it's a difficult search and rescue mission for us. it takes us some time to get there.
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it's not really close to where i am, so it's very difficult situation. now here where i am is hurricane protection system is a little bit different. we have different threats. but certainly our concern is grand isle. i liken it to take the first punch for us. the storm probably weakens by the time it gets to where i am because it goes through them. they take the first punch for us for these storms. >> are if people who are watching now and paying attention to updates and the window has closed for evacuation, what should they be doing to stay safe? what should they be doing to hunker down? >> they need to just stay home and be safe and make sure their homes are secure. then, you know, wait until the storm passes. then, you know, really if they're safe in their home, to stay in their home and, you know, let our first responders have use of the roads. have exclusive use of the roads. we have to clear trees and make sure that -- [ inaudible ]
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so we're prepared to do search and rescue. our firefighters are equipped with both. they know where people are. you know, we're people that know where each other live in many of our neighborhoods. they know where to go. we estimate there's about 400 people in the low lying areas of our parish. we're prepared to get out as soon as possible and do search and rescue. >> close knit communities know each other well and no shortage of experience in moments like this. do you have everything you need, you know, obviously, your governor is explicit about what is available and what is going on now. from the federal level, as well. do you feel like you have the resources? do you feel like you're getting the adequate amount of supplies and resources you need for what is coming? >> our state prepositioned buss
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in our parish for post storm evacuations. we have 200 national guard troops in our parish to help our firefighters and our law enforcement officers in security measures and also in search and rescue. so, you know, we're just hoping that we get the response that we need, obviously, we're going need help when this thing comes through. and i have the governor's phone number. i have the congressman's phone number. we have the people and we know the people. i'm sure everybody is going to help. i've received a lot of texts. in the surrounding parishes we help one another. i'm sure if i need help, we'll have plenty of people willing to do so. >> yeah. no question. please keep us posted, as well, as you move through this. our thoughts are with you guys as the storm comes in. thank you so much for taking the time with us. and we should point out ida's path is on a crash course with more than city. we're talking with the mayor
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again, if you're just join us, this category is now -- this hurricane is now a category 4. it's expected to make landfall later today. >> okay. christi, over the last 24 hours, all you had to do is look at the highways and airports. thousands have been seen leaving new orleans ahead of the storms which could bring winds of 140 miles per hour. dangerous flash flooding and heavy rains lasting into tomorrow. now officials have urged residents to make final preparations now before the storm hits. for those who have not departed in time to prepare for power outages in the coming days. >> forecasters are projecting the cat 4 will make landfall west of new orleans now. that's the red zone, as you see it there. coastal communities are getting ready for life threatening storm surges. up to 15 feet, in fact. that kind of a storm surge could top levies and leave a lot of critical roads submerged.
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not just for a little while, but for days. the mayor lee dragnet is in the path of this storm. his whole community is. mayor, can you hear me? >> caller: yes. >> thank you so much for taking the time to be with us. i can imagine how you're feeling this morning with the ways things progressed. i understand you issued voluntary evacuations on friday. what do you know about the number of people in your area who left and those who stayed? >> caller: well -- about 35 up to 40% of people of louisiana left. it's quite a bit. there's a lot of people that left, you know, a lot of houses without cars, let's put it that way. and nobody on streets.
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it means they left. >> okay. so what do you know about the people who have stayed? i talked to one city leader yesterday who said, you know, there are people who stayed because they can't afford to leave. are there people in your community in the same predicament? >> caller: oh, yeah. most definitely. there's people that stayed. they couldn't afford to leave. there's a lot of self-sufficient people around here and don't want to leave. it's the way it is. >> as a mayor, what do you say to those people? did you ever have mandatory evacuation order announced? was it all voluntary? >> caller: it was all voluntary. the parishes made their -- the parish made their evacuation shelter available to us. it was just too late for them to get on the road with traffic. >> have you been able to get
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people to shelters? >> caller: we offered that shelter to people and i believe quite a few people went to it at the last minute. >> okay. so you believe there are people at your shelters. >> caller: yes. >> i know covid -- the numbers in louisiana for covid have been skyrocketing. how has that complicated your efforts to keep these people safe? particularly those going to shelters? >> caller: that caused the parish not to give us access to a shelter last minute because they were super worried about it thinking a super spreader situation in the shelter. >> but the shelter is available for you now. i know that you have a pretty sophisticated flood wall and levy system but, again, the news coming out of this latest report on ida puts you straight in the
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path for this 10 to 15 foot storm surge, which would, as i understand it, topple your levy. talk about the confidence or lack thereof you're feeling this morning. >> caller: no, no, our levy is 20 feet and it's strong. we don't have that issue. some surrounding areas do but we don't have that issue. we're not worried about the storm surge. >> okay. >> caller: it's more the rain that goes inside that we are -- we have to keep it to a manageable level. >> okay. and what resources do you have available right now as probably just 10 hours away from this thing hitting to help people once the storm hits. when you say 40% people left, it means 60% are still in your
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area. i'm wondering how confident you are in the resources you have available. do you have resources not just in the city but state and federal? >> caller: well, most definitely. the state has helped us a lot. they gave us five huge -- so the city is installed them. also, they have generators -- they have given us generators. we have our ow n generators we also have multiple crews and standby to help us with debris and, you know, helping people. also the hospital system has a high water rescue truck, in case we need it. they have big military trucks. the governor's officer has
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offered us help as soon as it passes. >> what is your biggest concern, mayor? >> caller: the wind and loss of electricity. >> okay. >> caller: yes. >> mayor, we're wishing you the best for safety and all the resources you need to take care of your people there. thank you so much. >> caller: thank you. bye. coming up next president biden says another attack in kabul is highly likely. now he's warning the strike against isis won't be the last. plus, a soon-to-be father, a long time boy scout, and brother. more about the u.s. service-members killed in the airport attack.
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a live look for you of new orleans this hour. you see the rain on the lens there. those are the outer bands of hurricane ida. already kind of giving us a glimpse of a little bit behalf is to come here. we'll follow the track. the latest on hurricane ida for you, of course, all day long. we'll take you back live to new orleans in just a few minutes. yeah. at the same time we're also learning more about the 13 u.s. service-members killed thursday in the attack at the kabul airport. cnn's natasha chen with the details. >> reporter: they were young, they were passionate, they believed in their mission. >> ladies and gentlemen, as we all know, the freedom we enjoy as americans isn't free. >> reporter: across the u.s., the families and hometown communities of these 13 u.s.
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service-members are grappling with loss after a suicide bomb attack killed them and more than 170 others on thursday. a moment of silence was held for 20-year-old marine corporal jared schmitz of saint charles, missouri. >> we're graitful. >> reporter: and a gathering of friends remembered 23-year-old degree daegan page. he was a long time boy scout and loved hockey and the hunting and the outdoors. >> he was one of the nicest persons we've met. i mean, he was there for you when you needed him. he was there for you when you didn't want it, but he was the definition of a best friend i've ever had. >> reporter: the father of 31-year-old marine staff sergeant taylor hoover was
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called to action. >> he was 11 years old at 9/11. at that time, he decided that that's what i want to do. best kid in the world. couldn't ask for any better. loved his family. his sisters absolutely adored him. >> reporter: the sister of 20-year-old riley mccullom said he was on his first deployment and expecting a baby due in three weeks. another marine 23-year-old sergeant nico agree of sacramento, california posted a week ago on instagram. a photo of her holding an afghan infant. her friend said she cared about people. she loved fiercely. she was a light in the dark world. she was one of two female u.s. service-members among those killed. the other was 25-year-old marine sergeant rosario from massachusetts. >> in a conversation with her mother yesterday, she spoke of
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her daughter as a vibrant young person who wanted to give bang to the community. as a result of that, it's her mother's desire that she'll be brought back to the city of lawrence as the hero she is. >> reporter: in addition to the 11 marines killed, one army staff sergeant ryan knauss and one navy hospitalman 22-year-old maxton soviak were killed. last time soviak spoke to his mother, she told him to be safe. the family said soviak's last words to her over fame time were "don't worry, mom, my guys got me." her mother realized they all went together. >> natasha chen, devastating stories that need to be told over and over again. thank you, again. >> you have to remember those people and their families now. president biden is actually doubling down on his promise to hunt down anyone involved in that terrorist attack in kabul
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and, quote, he says, make them pay. he's vowing the target strike targeting isis-k will not be the last. i want to bring in my colleague cnn white house reporter jasmine wright. i haven't seen an administration this explicit about incoming threats as they've been over the last couple of days. even more explicit yesterday saying highly likely an attack will come. what is the president doing in response to the threat? >> reporter: well, the president vowing that saturday's strike won't be the last. it's part of those steps. remember, it represents kind of a two-part strategy. yes, he said that the u.s. will defend itself. he's sending a message with that retaliation with troops on the ground, but, also, it represents
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a prevention strategy. trying to prevent any potential attacks coming against the troops on the -- in afghanistan as we lead up to that drawdown on august 31st. remember, those two isis targets killed, the pentagon identified them as planners and facilitators. saying that one, quote, "they believed was associated with potential future attacks at the airport." take a listen to pentagon spokesperson john kirby kind of assess the threat as it still stands. >> make no mistake, nobody's writing this off and saying we got them. we don't have to worry about isis-k anymore. not the case. as i said earlier, the threat stream is still active. still dynamic. we're still laser focussed on that and forced protection. we're thinking for a minute that what happened yesterday gets us in the clear. not a minute. but do we believe that we hit valid targets?
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bad guys who can do bad things and plan bad missions? absolutely. >> reporter: so the pentagon maintains they will have the ability to defend itself on the ground as well as leverage those over the horizon capabilities, which is what we saw within the strike on saturday. and president biden says he has instructed his commanders to take every possible measure to prioritize forced protection as this mission enters a retro grade period which the president has warned will be the most dangerous part of the mission. >> jasmine wright, thank you. 48 hours and counting. that's roughly about how much time the u.s. has to complete the evacuations from afghanistan. >> yeah. the threat of another terrorist attack is adding to this complicated drawdown, obviously, as american troops are preparing to leave. afghan citizens who were able to get out of the country are now
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arriving here in the u.s. they're undergoing screening and vetting before and after they are admitted to the country. cnn international security editor nick paton walsh is live with us. we want to get updates on the evacuation. the u.s., as i understand it, the embassy warned that u.s. -- or americans trying to evacuate to avoid the kabul airport because of the terror threats. where are they supposed to go? what do we know about the tactic? >> reporter: obviously it's increasingly fraught and difficult to get people on to the airport. the warning was specific about certain gates on the airport, as well. so it is hard to see in that current security environment with that kind of warning how the pace of evacuation can be maintained. we're seeing it dropping off substantially. the last numbers for the there's a 12 hour period with 1400
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evacuees with 600 allies. it's dropping off dramatically and did so over friday night. yes, i think there may be individuals brought in possibly, if they are american citizens trying to get out. i heard from a source familiar with the situation miraculously people were being brought through the gates, even though they're closed in that single numbers or small families yesterday. but we're seeing the numbers tail off enormously at this stage. and, obviously, security is a paramount. obviously, the military presence there is into the most difficult phase. they are withdrawing. that's always the most dangerous moment. they're withdrawing under the threats. as president joe biden said in the next 24 to 36 hours, there could be another isis-k attack. they have to put their safety first. i'm sure we'll have relatively limited information moving forward as to quite how the withdrawal happens. the pentagon did say yesterday they had begun putting equipment
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on planes, but very fraught closing window here and, of course, that deadline of the 31st of august. a lot of activity, i'm sure, in the hours ahead. >> nick paton walsh, please stay safe. thank you so much. coming up, courageous female activists who refuse to quit fighting for women's rights in afghanistan. cnn speaks with them about what is at stake as the taliban returns to power. and we're staying laser focussed on hurricane ida. the storm strengthening to a powerful category 4 overnight. the national weather service warns of catastrophic winds and flooding rains. the latest on the track and impacts coming up. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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when it comes to the taliban's lightning fast return to power in afghanistan. i mean, they're facing uncertain futures and possibilities that the gains they've made over the last 20 years, that all of it will be erased. >> yeah. and the remarkable thing? some activists have chosen to risk everything and stay in the country to continue their work. cnn's anna koran talks about their stake. >> reporter: i'm in my house waiting for help and support from the protection. due to the dangerous situation, my family has stopped me coming on the media. i think we will be left here in the hell under the dark shadow of the tyranny. testimonies from women inside afghanistan. all across the country, they are dreading the taliban's return to power. wondering what it will mean for
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them. many are decorately -- desperately trying to escape. entire lives and dreams shattered. their fears are not unfounded. under taliban rule in the '90s and early 2000s, witthe group denied women basic rights. banning them from the workplace, and prohibiting most education for girls. driving many schools like this one underground. the taliban's long time spokesman said women's rights will be protected within islamic sharia law. >> and violence against women -- within the framework of the islamic law. >> reporter: but already signs of things have not changed that much. just days ago, field commanders told women they had to be covered up. and the spokesman instructed women to stay home temporarily because the soldiers are, quote,
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not trained to respect them. and yet despite the impending nightmare scenario, some women activists are choosing to risk it all and stay in afghanistan for now to continue their work. >> reporter: this is one of them. she's a prominent activist and head of the afghan women's network. >> i am planning to stay here. i'm going to for as long as i'm needed in afghanistan. for as long as there's something i can do, which is useful and hopefully capable of going outside. i'm not afraid about that. >> reporter: this courageous woman in her 70s is waiting to find out what life will be like after the august 31st deadline, but says the taliban cannot afford to count women out this time. >> afghanistan has 35 million people and there are 18 million women and there's a lot of people they are educating here. we need to work together and
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that's what i'm hoping that happens and it better happen sooner because the more time we spent in this kind of quagmire of not knowing what is going to be happening, afghanistan will be in deep danger. >> reporter: and then there's a generation of afghan women who can't even remember living under the taliban. like this 23-year-old. the executive director of "learn" a nonprofit working to expand access to girls' education in the country. she's in hiding. >> it's important to live and fight for their rights and ask for their rights. because it's time that we fight back. not every person can leave. not every person has the privilege to leave. >> reporter: she's trying to enroll as many girls as possible on digital learning programs before things get worse but she's not giving up.
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>> right now we fight back. we ask for our rights. >> reporter: only time will tell what the future looks like, but the well being of afghan women will be the surest shign whethe the taliban have changed their ways. the stakes could not be higher. >> thanks to anna for that report. coming up, as the gulf coast braces for hurricane ida, we'll speak with the storm chaser as he prepares to ride out the storm. men put their skin through a lot. day-in, day-out. that's why dove men body wash is new and improved with skin-strengthening nutrients and moisturizers... ...that help rebuild your skin with every shower. before treating your chronic migraine, 15 or more headache days a month each lasting 4 hours or more, you're not the only one with questions about botox®.
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right this moment, the outer bounds of ida are reaching the louisiana coast line. >> yeah. the storms -- if you're just joining us, the storm has escalated to a category 4. forecasters said it could strengthen before making landfall. that's expected west of new orleans a little bit later today. erin jayjack is in louisiana. she's an extreme weather chaser. aaron, good to see you. first of all, i know there was -- we talked to the mayor of morgan city who said he believes maybe 35 to 40% of the people left, which means there are still 60% of the population there. what -- help give us a sense of
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what it's like there. what are people doing? >> yeah. so it's very early in the morning now and, you know, we have the big hurricane approaching. there are still cars driving around now. there's definitely people still here. it intensified rapidly to a category 4, people are deciding they're going to evacuate. there's plenty of time to evacuate. things will start rapidly deteriorating here at sunrise and as we get closer to the expected landfall which is probably late afternoon or early afternoon, potentially. it's a dynamic changing, evolving situation. i actually fell asleep for a little bit and woke up and we're category 4. when i fell asleep, it was a cat 2. it's a developing situation here. >> you mentioned how dynamic the situation is. i've been struck by how stark the warnings have been from publish officials. i understand there's reason to
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be cautious before any storm. these have been ominous. you've been through so many of these. what is your read right now about ida's strength and the potential impact here? >> well, i think, you know, usually when you're watching hurricanes approach there's flux and variability. the storm has drifted a little bit to the east of the original path. the models and forecasting has been showing the path here through anywhere from morgan city, louisiana eastward toward new orleans and in between there's the whole path in that cone of certainty. the entire time it's been a rather the variability and models have been tight through this area. it's been not very much time, you know, there's a couple of days ago there wasn't a clone yet. so it's a rapid, you know, rapidly evolving situation. not much time left to go. hasn't been that much time anyway and we've got a few more hours left before the storm will be pushing ashore. >> so, aaron, here is my question. you are described as an extreme
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storm chaser. i'm assuming that means that you're staying and, if that's the case, what is your plan to stay there? compare this storm coming to anything you've stayed through in the past. >> i'm trying to get in the eye and the eye wall and the most intense part of the storm. so my plan is to shift myself east. as soon as we're done here with the interview, i'll be moving myself to the east and try to get into the eye. as compared to other storms, you know, it's a very powerful storm. it's a category 4, and it's still increasing its strength. it has a chance to make a run at cat 5. it's a relatively small cat 5 compared to katrina. it was a large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending 100 miles out from the center. it caused a large amount of surge. it was initially a cat 5 storm and it weakened a little bit, but that caused more impact
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because of that. so this storm is a little bit more -- it's a little smaller. more consolidated. the effects will be tighter. kind of like hurricane laura last year when it came ashore and it was a stark line of major damages and you get out from the damage things quickly reduce in the amount of damage you see out there. >> yeah. we should point out reme remember katrina was category 3 when it hits. the experts seem to be concerned there. take care ever yourself. we appreciate it. thank you. >> thank you. up next, hospitals in the pandemic hot spot of mississippi, they're seeing nurses. we'll get the story of why so many have just reached their breaking point.
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it's a pretty dire situation in a lot of states, particularly mississippi. a category 4 hurricane is approaching amid this surge in covid cases. we know hospitals are already running low on beds, and when you look at what is happening in the next 24 hours, i mean, there could be some deadly consequences here. >> yeah. no question. that's not the only problem. there's also a shortage of nurses. cnn went inside one mississippi hospital to see how staff are battling burnout. cnn's erika hill has more. >> reporter: in ocean springs, mississippi, the icu is full. >> i need another pump, please. >> reporter: every patient here battling covid.
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every one of them on a ventilator. 15 miles east it's the same story. the nursing staff at a breaking point. >> i come in here and it's war. it's sometimes chaos. >> reporter: just 38% of mississippi's population is fully vaccinated. along the gulf coast, it's even worse. hovering around 30%. pushing new cases and hospitalizations higher. officials warn there aren't enough beds but on the front lines, the focus isn't space. it's staff. >> there's not a bed shortage. there's a nursing shortage. we have had situations in here with covid, with people this critical, where two people start to go bad at once. you have to decide which room you went to. it's a hard decision to make. >> reporter: the stress of those decisions and the growing number
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of young covid patients and preventable death brought nicole to a breaking point earlier this month. >> reporter: you made the decision to resign. why? >> sometimes it feels like we're fighting a losing battle. >> reporter: in a week after that conversation, nicole was still in the icu. >> i realized as i was saying goodbye to these nurses here, that i couldn't leave them in the middle of this. >> reporter: nicole is putting back her hours. for now her resignation is on hold. >> that's where a nurse's heart comes in, you know, you don't want to see your coworkers suffer as much as you don't want to see a patient suffer. >> reporter: while it helps, one nurse choosing to stay isn't enough. mississippi has at least 2,000 fewer nurses than it did at the beginning of the year. >> it looks heroic and it looks -- but that's not what it is. it's sweaty and hard and chaotic
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and bloody. >> i don't know what burnout meant as a nurse until i hit covid. >> reporter: melissa davis has worked in the icu for 17 years. it's never been this bad. >> i've seen a turnover in nurses i never would have thought turned over because they can't take it no more. >> reporter: do you feel you're close to a breaking point? >> i think we already broke. >> reporter: burnout, stress, grueling hours. there are multiple reasons career nurses are choosing to leave. >> we've been seeing it probably hit a peak recently. we have over 120 nursing vacancies open now. >> reporter: when they do, that experience is also lost. >> it takes years of training to get to the point where you can take care of a covid patient. this is nothing like we've seen before. >> reporter: the head of the hospital system is urging the state to use some of i $1.8 billion in covid relief
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funding for retention bonuses. >> we need to give them an incentive to stay and continue to be a nurse. >> a lot of nurses told me it's not about the money at this point. it's i need to recharge my battery. >> reporter: yet with fewer staff and surge in patients, that chance to recharge increasingly difficult to find. >> it's hard to see a >> you can't describe that. to have friends, colleagues who understand that, it's the only way we're all getting through this, is because we have each other. >> that one nurse said it's not heroic, but it really is. it's heroic to us. thank you to cnn's erica can hill. next hour of "new day" starts right now. gum. welcome to your "new day." i'm phil mattingly. >>

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