Texas Residents Trapped by Catastrophic Flooding

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Texas Residents Trapped by Catastrophic Flooding
  9/21/2017 CNN.com - Transcriptshttp://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1708/27/rs.01.html 1/13 Transcript Providers   Return to Transcripts main page CNN RELIABLE SOURCES Texas Residents Trapped by Catastrophic Flooding; Trump Tweeting on Book, NAFTA, Border Wall & Flood. Aired 11a-12n ET Aired August 27, 2017 - 11:00 ETTHIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, HOUSTON: -- until this storm has clearly passed, please, do not get on the road. [11:00:07] Do not get on the road. Even if there's a lull today, don't assume that the storm is over. And the lesson we should have learned from yesterday, rain thatmorning, it stopped for several hours, it started again just before evening time. We had more rain last night from 7:30 all the way up than we had during first part of the day. It became very difficult to get out there to try to rescue people. So a lot of  people were calling because they got stranded. The best way to keep from being stranded is to stay off the streets. Stay home. I'm going to encourage people, unless water is just coming into your home and it's justtotally unsafe, I'm going to encourage you to stay at home.  Now, if you are getting water but it's not life-threatening, I know no one wants water in their home. If you are getting water and it's not life-threatening, I'm going to ask you simply stay put. Do not get on the roadway. Do not try to go someplace if you don't know how to get there. Just stay put. OK? That's what I would ask you to do. We need you to help us. Because what is happening now is that there are a lot of calls coming in to 911, and many of them are not life- threatening. They are callingwhere -- I understand the inconvenience. But they're not life-threatening. At the same time, there are many calls that are coming in that are life-threatening. And our first responders need to attend to them. BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: I'm Brian Stelter and you are watching special CNN live coverage of Tropical Storm Harvey. We have been listening to a press conference from the mayor of Houston. This is one of the biggest rain makers Texas has seen. This is just the second day essentially of a multi-day crisis. Houston is the fourth biggest city in the United States.Right now, it's under a flash flood emergency. The National Weather Service in south Texas is using unprecedented language, saying here that catastrophic flooding in the Houston metro area is expected to worsen ancould become historic. Millions of people throughout south Texas from Houston down to Galveston and many points in between are being urged to shelter in place, because the folks who arenot doing that, you can see here, are stuck in some of the flash floodwaters. We are getting pictures in. We're getting statements from local authorities, bringing all of thatto you in the next few minutes here. People are trapped in some places in and around Houston, rivers are still on the rise. We heard the mayor just now say flooding has occurred all over. He says moreresources are coming in to try to deal with this. Home  9/21/2017 CNN.com - Transcriptshttp://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1708/27/rs.01.html 2/13 But keep in mind, it's still raining, in some cases, still raining heavily. And this will continue for many hours and days to come. So, the mayor saying, 40 more boats arecoming in to assist. We know the U.S. coast guard has at least five helicopters up in the air. They are asking for more resources. And media note here, one of the television stations in Houston, the CBS affiliate KHOU, has had to evacuate. You can see this video from a little earlier this morning atKHOU. Floodwaters from the nearby bayou have come over into the station.  Now, KHOU has dealt with floodwaters before, but not to this extent. The station had to evacuate. We will try to show you live pictures from KHOU as we get them in.Essentially what's happened is one reporter in the field has taken over while the rest of the staff actually evacuates this building and moved to higher ground. We are seeing other evacuations in Houston as well. In many parts of the city, many parts of the metro area. Keep in mind, many millions of people live in and around Houston. We are seeing flooding to the north and especially to the south. Neighborhoods like Pasadena, Deer Park, out to the gulf, farther south to League City, to Dickinson. Reports of people trapped in their homes in all of the parts of south Texas. We are also seeing that in southwest pars of the Houston metro area, neighborhoods that arealso inundated. There are reports of people moving to their attics. Local officials have said, don't do that unless you have an ax. Better to go on the roof and wait for helpthere. We're getting more pictures in, more video in. Let's begin with Rosa Flores, CNN's correspondent, in Houston right now, who has had to move to higher ground. Rosa, where are you? What are you seeing now? ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, we're in the historic part of downtown Houston. And, Brian, earlier today, we were doing our live shots fromthat intersection where you see the red traffic light. Right now, you can see it's completely submerged in water. We were actually standing in part next to the railing nextto this  building that has the Spaghetti Warehouse. And as you can see, now, it's a raging river, moving towards the Gulf of Mexico at a good clip. [11:05:05] Now, I want to pan the camera over a little bit so you can see how this water is testing the infrastructure. Take a look at the cracks that are on the side of this building. It appears to be buckling. We've been monitoring this for the past hour or so. It hasn't opened much wider than it is right now, as you see it. But initially, wecould definitely see those gaps widening.  Now, what you are looking at right now is actually a parking lot underneath all of this water. Then, it's a hill that rolls down to the banks of Buffalo Bayou. Right now, allyou see is a raging river. Yesterday, Brian, we were actually doing live shots at the bottom of those trees. Now, I can only show you the treetops. That's how much water has inundated here.  Now, normally, you would see Buffalo Bayou rolling through, meandering downtown Houston. There's a running path. People are usually running, walking their dogs. Not the case right now. There's just so much water. And it's still raining, it's still pounding. You were mentioning KHOU. I worked for that station before joining CNN. It's just by Allen Parkway. Buffalo Bayou which is this bayou that you see behind me, exceptit's completely overflowed now, flows through that area, through Allen Parkway, where that station is. And, you know, I'm glad that our colleagues there are taking shelter, going to higher ground. You can see, Brian, how this water has turned into raging rivers. The streetsin downtown Houston have turned into raging rivers in these particular areas. If you look closely, you can see the street signs are submerged in water. That's how much water has accumulated. And, of course, the concern is that there's still more raincoming -- Brian. STELTER: Possibly more feet of rain. Rosa, what is the beeping sounds in the background? Are those car alarms or something? FLORES: You now, we have been -- I believe it's an alarm for a building that's over here to my right.  9/21/2017 CNN.com - Transcriptshttp://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1708/27/rs.01.html 3/13 STELTER: A flooded building. FLORES: I wish I could walk over and show you. We have been hearing these alarms as these buildings are being submerged by water, because like I was mentioning,this is literally probably about I would say maybe 25, 30 feet below -- or deep, I should say. It's a parking lot that kind of rolls down and there's a hill that rolls down intothe banks of Buffalo Bayou that right now, of course, you can't see because of just the monumental amount of water that has accumulated here. It's rushing towards it appears -- towards the Gulf of Mexico, which is what it's supposed to do, Brian. But, of course, right now the infrastructure here is being tested.There are bayous that meander through the city that serve as a drainage for the city. And normally, it does work. But when you have a combination of continuous rain and this water not stopping from all over the city coming through these bayous thatmeander through downtown Houston, you can see that the infrastructure is being tested. And right now, tested -- it's a difficult test to pass, because there's just so muchwater accumulated already. The ground is saturated. And we're getting more water right now -- Brian. STELTER: Rosa, thank you very much. We'll try to stay with your pictures, but we bring in the managing editor for The Houston Chronicle , Vernon Loeb. Vernon, I've been by your newsroom before. Are you on high enough ground there at The Chronicle ? And how are you all trying to cover the storm? VERNON LOEB, MANAGING EDITOR, THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE (via telephone): Yes, we're on the fourth floor. So, we got a ways to go before we're in jeopardy. But I'm looking out of our window and I can see the highway access roads are rapidly disappearing under water. There's almost nobody on the highway. Our  parking lot is pretty much gone. It's raining really hard. STELTER: We were showing the cover of this morning's chronicle, basically chronicling the destruction on the coast. This cover focusing on Rockport and other communities that were mostly affected by the winds when Hurricane Harvey came ashore Friday night.  Now, the big story is flooding. This was forecast. You have had days to prepare. So, I wonder what you are doing in the newsroom to prepare. Do you have staffers spending the next few days there? LOEB: Yes, we have the entire editorial staff activated. Most people cannot get into the newsroom. We've got a skeleton crew in the newsroom. Most everybody else isediting from home or from wherever they are, directing their teams. I've got one editor in Taos, New Mexico, in a Starbucks directing her team. I told her, you can do as much from Taos as you can from Houston right now. [11:10:00] So, you know, open up your laptop and get going. STELTER: And, Vernon, how does this compare to other floods? The Tax Day flood there, other recent floods in Houston? LOEB: This has gone way beyond the two, one in 100-year floods we've had in last four years. As I say, this is nowhere near completed. It's raining really hard. The skiesare really dark. And, you know, they're forecasting for four more days of rain. So, where this goes, I have no idea. STELTER: Vernon, thank you very much for calling in. Let's check on the radar. Let's go to Allison Chinchar in the CNN Weather Center, who can show us why this is happening. Allison, are these heaviest bands of rain just still sitting on Houston right now? ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, yes and no, Brian. So, the first round is starting to exit out. You can see that here. Follow the purple color. Yosee it around Houston. It begins to push to the east.  9/21/2017 CNN.com - Transcriptshttp://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1708/27/rs.01.html 4/13 But then you notice, it's starting to what we call backfill, meaning more rain and it's coming back into those areas where the srcinal cluster of rain has begun to exit. Andthat's where the problem lies, because some of these areas just keep getting rain over the same spots over and over again. In addition to the flooding threat, we also stillhave tornado warnings active at this very moment, and a tornado watch that's in effect for regions of both Louisiana and Texas through the afternoon hours today. That'sgoing to be something people are still going to have to deal with. So, keep that in mind. If you get a break in the rain, you want to go outside or maybe the rain starts to lighten up per se, please still be careful if you go outside, becausethere could be other severe storms in the general vicinity. Looking at some of the rainfall totals that have occurred, Dayton, Texas, over 27 inches of rain. We're looking at Dixie Farm area, 26 inches of rain. This is just a few of the areas that have already picked up over 20 inches of rain. The one sort of good news is that we are going to finally start to see this thing move. Not so much in the short-term, but in the long-term. This is where we expect it to be by Friday. Technically, that's still in Texas. But at least you are going to start to see movement. The concerning part is what it does in the short-term, because as of now, it actually looks like it's going to go back out over open water before making another landfall back over areas of Houston. The question is, when it goes back out over open water, does it have the ability to re-intensify before coming back? That is the big questionthat we have right now. In the short-term, here is what we expect the radar to look like as we go through the day. So, again, notice, more yellows, oranges and reds indicating those torrentialdownpours over the same spots. Namely, Houston, Lake Charles, Galveston, even Alexandria, Louisiana, looking at incredibly heavy rain to come down. Some areasfurther west, we have been talking about Corpus Christi and Victoria that it had a slight lull. Today, the rain is going to come back in your area. And, overall, Brian, the key thing to note is we talked about the areas that have had already 20 inches of rain. We are still forecasting an additional up to 20 inches of rainthat has yet to fall. So, that's going to be the big concern going forward for a lot of these folks. Brian, we have been talking about this, other people, you hear the wording. This is potentially a historic storm, things like that. You have to keep in mind, this is not over.We're not near over for at least the next three to five days. STELTER: We have to be sensitive about comparison to Katrina, because most of the deaths in Katrina were due to the manmade disaster of the levees being topped and being broken into the pieces. But the similarity that I see so far, Allison, are the number of people that are having to leave their homes, and that one TV station beingevacuated. Last time I saw that happen in an emergency was during Hurricane Katrina. Do you think there are any other similarities, anything else we should be aware, or any big differences? CHINCHAR: Yes, the first thing that comes to mind that people on their roofs. People where their homes are so flooded, the only place they can go is the roof of their home. I remember seeing helicopter video of Katrina, you see house after house of people sitting there waving, hoping to be rescued. You are starting to see stuff like that out of similar areas around Houston. Again, the big difference with this, surge posts a huge factor with Katrina. I think the bigger concern for Houston is the marathon, if you will call it that, where this storm is literally going to sit for seven days and dump rain. That's going to be a big concern for Houston. STELTER: And we don't have the pictures right now because there's not choppers up in the air, news choppers. But there are people on their roofs right now in southTexas trying to be rescued. Allison, thank you very much for the update. We have heard from the Houston mayor just a few minutes ago, Sylvester Turner, saying there's more than 2,000 calls for rescues but there's actually a lot more than that.It's just that 911 has been overloaded. The mayor of Houston say only call 911 if your life is in immediate danger. There's also a civil emergency warning from the National Weather Service saying people escaping floodwaters do not go to the attic. [07:15:03] As Allison was saying, you are supposed to go to your roof, because you might not be able to escape the attic if the attic begins to flood.
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