tv CNN Saturday Morning CNN June 1, 2013 5:00am-6:31am PDT
wow, that's what it looked like as these tornadoes rushed through as many as five twisters hit oklahoma. you see cars speeding down the road, the debris flying everywhere out of a total of 17 that were reported, that number from the national weather service. watch that bale of hay slam into the car. 17 is the number from the national weather service across the midwest. >> two of the towns in the path of the storm el reno and union city, five deaths blamed on the storm including a mother and small child. at least 70 others were injured but that may not be all. >> a number of casualties will probably go up, we expect that to go up in the next 24 hours, hopefully not very much, hopefully not at all but it certainly appears that it may. >> and right now, flooding is a major concern. the storms brought more than ten
inches of rain in some areas. we have team coverage across the damage zone. george howell is in union city, oklahoma, ed valencia is in el reno. george let's begin with you. it's been daylight for about an hour, set the scene for us, what are you seeing now as opposed to when you were sitting there in the dark. >> reporter: alison, okay, so union city just west of oklahoma city, this is where the storm system first started to develop, first started to drop those tornadoes, and this is where we are now seeing the result of what those twisters did here just south of union city, in this neighborhood where i can count what used to be one, two, three, perhaps maybe four homes that were standing. they're gone now and you see this debris field all over this area. i want to go back to this house though that we've been talking about all morning, chris merritt over here is being interviewed by one of our local affiliates but he tells the story his parents lived at that house.
he says that he called his parents, told them you need to get out of the way. he said he saw circulation watching one of the affiliate's coverage, saw circulation in a storm near this house. they left and went to a nearby fire station. alison, they came back to this house and when they came back to see what happened here, they looked up in the sky and they saw yet another tornado so they had to get out of the way again. people really had a matter of minutes to move and take shelter, whether you shelter in place, whether you go underground or whether you take time in advance of a warning to get on the road and go, people definitely got out of the way of this storm. what we're feeling right now is very different than what we felt just you know, 12 hours ago. the other day it was muggy. it was humid. now we're starting, it's cold this morning. the winds have picked up and you can see the clouds right now, the clouds quite a difference, what a difference a day makes.
one of our affiliates have their helicopter overhead assessing the damage here. this really is where all of this started to develop, it blossomed and when you go into the oklahoma city area, that's where the storm parked itself, and just dumped a lot of rain. flooding is an issue there. >> what about now daylight here, are officials on the scene yet to really survey the damage? do you see any efforts to restore power? >> reporter: right, well you know, just maybe 15 minutes ago i saw what seemed to be a truck, you know, someone going through this street surveying the damage. if we pan over here a power pole down, look at that. this is what you see all over the place, these downed power lines, downed power poles, trees that are down in some places so yeah we saw someone that seeme to be looking at that. also we are seeing people drive down this street to start looking at their homes, you know, so this is really a time
where people are getting to see the extent of the damage caused by these storms. >> george howell, thank you. let's go to el reno, where nick valencia is this morning. you described mangled metal there where you are. tell us what more you see. >> reporter: yes, check this out, victor, this looks like it was positioned at some point on top of the roof of the canadian valley technical center. looks like an air conditioning unit, just as the sun has come up these are some images we're starting to see. it's scary, what makes things like this all the more dangerous is flying debris like this, this is a piece of metal, very sharp piece of metal just part of the debris strewn across all around this technical valley center but check this out, victor, look in the distance there and you see it's really more of a rural
community compared to where our george howell is. in this part of town in el reno, 25 miles west of oklahoma city that's sort of the good news in here is a lot of empty fields, a lot of open space, we can count about, including the structure that we're standing in front of just two other structures that appear to have either partial or complete damage to their facilities. we actually spoke to the sheriff's office just a little while ago. they said they're going to update us on the latest information, they've now scheduled a press conference in front of the sheriff's office at 10:00 a.m. local, 11:00 a.m. eastern. no details as to what we will hear there. we haven't been able to speak to many residents around the community just yet. people just now starting to wake up, people were encouraged to get underground or get out of town in this area but at least from the sheriff's office, sheriffs that we've spoken to, they say that the more detail, more information will come in the next hour or two, but that's
really about it. that's about all we have out here. lots of debris, lots of debris around here but no real major significant structural damage. victor? >> nick valencia in el reno for us, thank you. oklahoma city, the will rogers world airport there is open but there are no flights headed in either direction and it's expected to stay that way for the rest of the morning. earlier i spoke with the airport spokesperson who told me about how they handled the storm. >> as we began watching this, we knew it was going to be difficult because again on a friday afternoon the busiest time of the week, lots of people traveling, but as it started to move, we just had to make the decision to keep people safe and while we did not get a direct hit by a tornado, certainly we had high winds of about 80 miles an hour is what i've been told and you know, we're just
grateful we were able to get everybody down there. also we had a lot of people, the airport sets on a main street, that is filled with restaurants and hotels and so we had a lot of people that, on that street that also came to the airport to shelter in place in our tunnel so we had probably about 1,500 people in our tunnel. >> and now to arkansas where crews are resuming their search for three missing people after flash flooding hit the area. raging floodwaters began rising around a home in scott county, two women inside called for help. sheriff cody carpenter and a wildlife official tried reaching them in a boat but they got swept away. sheriff carpenter's body has been found. last hour we spoke to keith stevens about the new search. >> the area saw about eight
inches of rain in a very short period of time. that area is in a valley and the water obvious ly rushing throug the state ran through the mill creek area and flooded the little community of white city. >> authorities are continuing their search for the women and the other official. thousands of people in the midwest are in the dark this morning, power is out for more than 212,000 homes and businesses. look at the breakdown, missouri, t 89,000 customers, illinois has more than 31,000. arkansas has more than 3,000 without power and there are more than 1,000 outages in kansas. indiana was also hit, it has about 500 people or households without power. so much of the great video comes from storm chasers. these are the people who drive toward the storm instead of seeking shelter and driving away from it like everybody else.
brandon sullivan is one of them and this is what he and his team ran into in union city, oklahoma. >> oh my goodness. oh my goodness. oh, no. man, three tornadoes. continuous vortices, continuous vortices here. turn the car around! let's get ready! >> go! >> fast as you can! it's on the right. go! go now! hurry! 40 is not enough!
if you don't stop we're gonna die. no, frank, go! just go, just go, get around them! >> are we okay? >> yes. >> it's rfd, just go! are we okay? >> yes, just go! >> you're fine. >> that's fine, dude, just go! >> are you okay? >> yeah. [ bleep ]. >> it's amazing. >> that is amazing and it's interesting to see him put that seatbelt on at the last moment and you know, makes you wonder what was he thinking and lucky
for us we got to talk to brandon sullivan and i asked him why he put that seat belt on. >> you'll hear that in just a moment why he's a storm chaser and what he was feeling in the moment when he was screaming "just go, brett, just go!" >> you're fine. duck down, duck down! designed for women's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day 50+. see, i knew testosterone could affect sex drive, but not energy or even my mood. that's when i talked with my doctor. he gave me some blood tests... showed it was low t. that's it. it was a number. [ male announcer ] today, men with low t have androgel 1.62% testosterone gel. the #1 prescribed topical testosterone replacement therapy increases testosterone when used daily. women and children should avoid contact with application sites. discontinue androgel and call your doctor if you see unexpected signs of early puberty in a child,
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brett, turn the car around! let's get ready! large tornado, large tornado right there. oh, man, that's a good one right there. debris in the air, oh, no. >> imagine being that close to that storm. it's crazy. and that's what storm chasers do. that was brandon sullivan who you heard. he and his crew they were right on the edge of the storm. >> now by crew we mean his roommate and best friend brett who was driving and some guy who came in from out of town to watch one of these. that's the crew.
we got the chance to talk to brandon about his experience and how and why he got so close, but first what was he thinking? >> to state the obvious i guess i was thinking we were a little too close, but the tornado strengthened really rapidly and kind of took a turn right at us and i was just hoping that we could get south in time. >> at some point in time did you really feel like your life is in danger? you do this often, don't you? >> yes, i've been doing this for quite a while, and yeah i mean definitely the most scared i've ever been in the tornado situation for sure. >> we see that at some point the windshield breaks. what are you guys driving? >> we are just in, we're in my car, which is a jeep. you know, we don't have any armored vehicle or anything like that, so yeah, a piece of debris from a barn actually blows into
the car and hit the windshield. >> how do you decide what to do when you're feeling that fear the most and you're screaming at the driver about what to do. how do you decide what to do? how do you decide what the best move is when you're right in the middle of it? >> well, you know, there was a couple things going through my head at the time, you know, is it safer to be in the car, seek shelter in a ditch, seek a different direction and continue. at that time i decided that we were south of the tornado, with the flying debris that was going on, i knew that we had to stay in the car. getting out was not an option so we just continued south to try to get away from the path of the tornado and luckily there were some other storm chasers who were injured, their cars were flipped and luckily we were able to get south even though we still did get some damage. >> brandon what were you
thinking not wearing your seat belt into the final moments of that video? >> well originally in between the video i had to jump back in the car as we filmed the tornado and i guess it slipped my mind to put my seat belt on, i was so focused on getting south but as we started getting really strong winds, i got worried that the car could blow over and at that time my consciousness caught up with me and i realized i wasn't buckled so that's when i immediately buckled up. >> brandon awe peer to be a pretty young guy. how long have you been doing this? >> i've actually been doing this since i was about 14. i'm 21 right now, almost 22, so seven or eight years, so i've seen my fair share of tornadoes but today i guess just kind of snuck up on me. >> who are these other two guys in this vehicle? >> i'm sorry, i didn't hear that question? >> who were the two guys, the guy driving, the guy in the back seat. >> the guy driving, he is my, i guess my best friend and my
roommate. he's always driving for me, his name's brett. we both go to school together for meteorology. the passenger is a friend from mississippi who was actually coming out to the plains for his first storm chasing trip and trying to see his first tornado. >> that was his first, this is his first one? >> well actually we got him to a big tornado in kansas earlier this week but he tells me that he has got his money's worth. >> yeah, because he is silent, jaw-dropped in the back seat the whole time. >> yeah, he was, he handled it much better than i anticipated, i will admit. >> how does this compare to other storms you've chased? >> well, i mean, we definitely got closer than we've ever been before, something i don't want to do again, but i think what was so impressive about this storm is how rapidly it strengthened. i mean we were originally what we felt in a safe position and
it intensified so quickly, the atmosphere was very volatile and things just changed so rapidly. >> you're screaming in a lot of this video. is that out of necessity because the wind is that loud or is that all adrenalin? >> i would say it's a combination of both. the window was open for some of it. i really am trying to stress to my driver, to brett that we need to go south now and what's not shown in most of the video is there's actually a car in front of us, multiple cars. i don't know if they were locals or if they were other storm chasers but they were preventing us really from being able to go south any faster than we were. >> wow. it looked as if those cars were bouncing. were they bouncing or was that just the reflection or the way the image was kind of maneuvered through the crack in the window? >> yeah, you know, i think that was just kind of how it was portrayed there.
some of those that were behind us, like i said, the tornado actually passed about a half mile behind us, but the winds were so strong around it, that's where all the debris came from, but some chasers weren't lucky enough to go south than we did and got their vehicle flipped. >> brandon, one last question, will you get out there again? >> yes, i'll be out there again. i'll get the jeep fixed up and we'll go out, but definitely a little humbled and just a good reminder that mother nature is the stronger force and she will always win. >> brendan sullivan you're quite the storm chaser. be safe out there, okay? >> all right, thank you. >> that guy in the back seat, if i -- you know, i'm surprised that he was silent the whole ride because had i been there it would have been a mix of prayers and profanity the whole ride because there's no way if you've never done anything like that, that you know. >> it's interesting to hear him say as long as he's been doing this since 14, now 21, he was
really scared with this one. it shows you, you can sort of underestimate the power of mother nature. >> clearly someone else was driving when he was 14 i assume. >> we hope. we hear so many people were on the roads when those tornadoes touched down in oklahoma. >> what is the safe escape when you've only got 13 minutes to find shelter? our dr. sanjay gupta shows us next.
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what is the best way to survive if a tornado is on its way. do you run? do you hide? our chief medical correspondent sanjay gupta breaks down your options. [ sirens ]. >> reporter: 13 minutes, that's the average lead time you'd have if a tornado was headed your way. there's obviously no completely safe option during a tornado. your best bet is to get into the basement somewhere below ground level but keep in mind that if you are there you want to see what's on the floor above you as well, a refrigerator, piece of heavy furniture could come crashing flu the floor. be wary of that. here in moore, oklahoma, there aren't a lot of basements. there is another option, an interior room or a closet like that can be the best place to be as well. the house is gone through the closet preserved, even the clothes inside of that, remember, just got 13 minutes so find that safe place, grab a
helmet, throw some mattresses or a blanket over you to protect the head. one place you can't hide from a tornado is in your car. tornado strength winds can pick up a one to two-ton vehicle like this one and toss it around like you or i would a basketball. you obviously don't want to be driving toward a tornado but it's also a bad idea to be driving away from a tornado. it's hard to gauge the distance. if you must be driving and the weather is clear, try driving at right angles to the tornado, perpendicular to get out of the path of the storm. another misconception, run underneath an overpass. what happens is the wind is actually funnels, it's more powerful than the storm and there's also a lot of debris and that debris can your you. injure you. if you are stuck outside find a ditch, anyplace far away from dangerous objects and vehicles and stay low. >> dr. sanjay gupta, thank you. and our special coverage on the tornadoes continues just
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>> horizontal. >> south of i-40 it will be right here in front, coming down right now, very, very, very low to the ground, the entire vortex coming down to the ground, mike, i've got to back out of it. >> in oklahoma five people, including a mother and her child, are dead, and at least 71 others are hurt but the city of moore where a tornado last month killed 24 people was largely spared. >> oklahoma and missouri now under states of emergency and all the way to indiana, more than 200,000 people have no power, and after all that, another weather threat, heavy rain from the same system is causing flooding, in missouri more than 200 roads are already closed. >> in missouri more than 200 roads are closed, today's forecast includes large hail and the potential for more tornadoes. officials are warning people to stay inside. back to oklahoma now where at
least five tornadoes touched down near oklahoma city. our nick valencia is in el reno. nick, what's it look like there? i think we're having a problem getting nick. we'll try to go back to him. karen maginnis, any threats of concern today? >> we have a risk in an area where we could see some thunderstorms, could produce an isolated tornado but we think the real risk today is going to be the heavy rainfall, lots of lightning and maybe some wind damage. can't rule out that possibility of an isolated tornado. we want to show you what's happening, oklahoma city you started to clear out. wish we could say the same in the northwestern regions of arkansas and into northeastern oklahoma. this is where we're seeing some pretty strong storms and heavy downpours. i'll show you some of those downpour and rainfall totals in
just a second. we move on over across northern arkansas, they're having problems here, still some cells developing along the leading edge of this frontal system as it's traveling toward the east and from springfield to raleigh to st. louis, plenty of heavy rainfall, river gauges filling up, even the mississippi you may remember last sum he were they were having trouble getting barges down the inis miss and now there is so much rainfall we have flash flood watches. we don't have any tornado watches or warnings out but you can better believe those thunderstorms are really going to be significant rain producers. where you see these red shaded areas, flash flood warnings out mostly the east central regions of oklahoma extending up just to the east and to the south of st. louis so watch out for the potential for additional heavy rainfall and june is another busy month for tornadic activity, may being the peak month, june falls right behind already in excess of 200 tornadoes for the month of may.
yesterday 23 reports, those were unfiltered reports of tornadoes. get around st. louis, very heavy rainfall and the mississippi river is filling up as we speak. oklahoma city over six inches of rain. back to you. >> karen maginnis hopefully june will be kind to oklahoma. five tornadoes touched down here oklahoma city. nick valencia is in el reno. what does it look like now that daylight is there? >> reporter: yeah, alison, sorry our shot technology but this is what it looks like around us, a bunch of wrenches were just tossed around by this tornado making just a debris pile all around us. the tornado swept through here. the good thing about it is this is more of a rural area, more of a rural community, lots of open space, open fields. we are standing in front of the canadian valley technical center. we've been showing this live all morning this what appears to be
an air conditioning unit that was perhaps positioned on top of the roof torn off by the strong winds but that's really the extent and the worst of the damage that we're seeing. it's really a lot of superficial structural damage. of course just beyond me in those fields through here i'm not sure howl you'll be able to make it out, but there are structures maybe a little over a mile down there that suffered some partial, if not entire structural damage, there are some overturned cars but for the most part what we're seeing in el reno is downed trees and downed power lines. when we approached this city off of i-40, we saw some semis overturned. we saw first responders helping out, the overturned semis, we saw a lot of debris scattered up and down the roads and when the lights were out it was pitch black dark there was no power on it was ominous and eerie. now that the sun has come up we get a sense this was a powerful
tornado that swept through here. the good thing i mentioned it's a wide open field, a lot of wide open space, not that many structures and one would think people to hit here. alison? >> okay, nick valencia, thank you. karen mentioned just a few moments ago the storm system that spawned these tornadoes in oklahoma also is now hitting other states. >> we're getting new information from missouri where heavy rains and high winds have damaged homes and hurt schools and damaged businesses. [ female announcer ] what makes you walk a little taller? it begins with your skin. venus & olay -- gently exfoliates with 5 blades. plus olay moisture bars help renew goddess skin. only from venus & olay.
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midwest, that means we're getting our first good look at the damage brought on by the tornadoes friday. this video in from st. charles, missouri, homes here destroyed. look at that, the roof just ripped off there, you can look right into what looks to be their dining room. trees broken in half. the county declared a state of emergency and we also want to mention that graduation ceremonies for the francis howell school district there have been canceled for today. the arena they would have been held in was damaged in the storm. that's according to our affiliate ksdk. >> staying in missouri there were a lot of close calls last night although hundreds of roads were closed and thousands of homes were damaged, thankfully no one was killed. look at this tour of some damaged homes with our affiliate ksdk. >> reporter: as the sun comes up in the greater st. louis area, the people are coming out to assess the damage in this community for the storm that rolled through area about 8:00 last night. it rolled through this way but let me show you where we can see
that it had the biggest impact as it came through. this is a maintenance shed for the golf course, this is a golf course community, this is hole number two right here, just demolished by this right here. let's follow the storm's path and go over to this house, the wall sheared off, you can see that bedroom, you can even see right next door the bathtub to the bathroom, that's right next door. let's go to the house next door to them, from this particular angle, it may not look so bad but there is extensive damage, the homeowners let us walk through and the roof is blown out in certain areas just really bad condition and on top of that it's raining so anything that was salvageable is getting soaked right now, so i did speak with somebody who was in that particular house at the time, she had two dogs she crowded into a closet near the front door. she could hear the storm blowing through, the front door blew off and the grandfather clock blew past the closet she was in.
she's okay and everybody else in the st. louis area is okay as well, no reports of fatalities or injuries. there is one big piece of a problem here is that there is an arena where a lot of graduations are taking place, scheduled to take place today. now they're trying to figure out alternate plans. >> looks like one of the worst hit places in missouri is st. charles county north of st. louis. we've got video taken just this morning. look at this. >> oh my gosh. >> look at this. this was of course caused by last night's tornadoes and you see as typical of tornadoes some houses look as if they're untouched on the right side of your screen and down the left those houses destroyed and now the violent storms are spawning flash floods. >> with us now by phone from st. charles county is government spokeswoman colin mcintee, tell me what the conditions are. >> right now we have a little bit of rain and seems cloudy
right now. our mobile incident command post is going to be open at 8:00 a.m. to do damage assessment from last night's storm. overnight the dispatchers in the area reported a quiet overnight. we've seen power outages go down from about 15,000 to 9,500, and we're expecting with daylight and our mobile incident command post opens that there will be more damage reports. >> some of this is incredible to look at. your town was one of the hardest hit. >> yes, st. charles county, the executives declared a state of emergency for the county. the damage as of last night seemed to be confined to a ten square mile area some of the subdivision and communities that received damage cambridge crossing, habersham seemed to
have received the worst damage as of last night, homes on crowley road were missing roofs and elementary school had roof damage and damage to our local family arena but again there were no fatetalities, fire and s responded between 7:00 and 11:00 p.m. but they weren't necessarily storm related. >> colleen mcentee of st. charles county in missouri, thank you for giving us an update on what's happened in missouri because we've talked a lot about oklahoma. colleen, thanks. >> thank you. we have new information about the ricin laced letters sent to president obama and new york mayor michael bloomberg. plus the sun is coming up in oklahoma. people are beginning to see the damage left behind by more than a dozen tornadoes. we've got crews scouring the area to bring you the latest information. can acne cleansers be tough on breakouts
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all morning we're keeping you up to date on the damage in the midwest. 17 tornadoes were reported across several states including oklahoma where five people were killed, 71 others injured but now the biggest concern is flooding. the storm dumped 11 inches of rain in some places and more than 200,000 people are without power. we've got crews on the scene and we'll be giving you the latest information as it comes. ten minutes before the top of the hour and we have an update on the threatening letters sent to president obama and mayor michael bloomberg of new york. conclusive tests are in and confirm that the letters did contain the poison ricin. i want to bring in national correspondent susan candiotti in new york. susan you've obtained a copy of one of the letters involved in the investigation. how does this compare to the letters sent to the president, to the mayor.
are they the same letter? >> victor, the wording is exactly the same in at least two of the liters. in this one copy we received it was the letter that was sent to mark glaze. now mark glaze is the director of mayor bloomberg's group called mayors against illegal guns, and again the wording word for word, same letter that mayor bloomberg received, we hain thi it says "will you have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. anyone who wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. the right to bear arms is my constitutional god given right and i will exercise that right 'til the day i die. what's in this letter is nothing compared to what i've got planned for you." now victor, let's point out that mark glaze is the only one of the recipients who actually opened the letter. he received it. the other two letters were sent and intercepted at different facilities, but mark glaze is said to be okay, according to a
message that he sent out via social media earlier in the week. >> susan i want to go back to the picture of that letter. i noticed that there are some markings, some stains there. what are those? >> those stains according to our sources are the marks that the investigators would have made when they began testing the letter and the letters and the envelopes for any traces of ricin and evidence of chemicals, this kind of thing. as you indicated those conclusive tests are in. we got word of that last night saying that definitely these are positive for ricin in low concentrated levels. >> wow, all right, susan candiotti in new york for us, thanks. and while much of our coverage is on tornadoes, today would you believe it's also the beginning of hurricane season. >> after sandy slammed into the northeast, forecasters are making some changes and remind you to have a disaster plan.
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power crews are working this morning to try to get power back on to more than 200,000 people without power across several states in the midwest, 17 tornadoes touched down between 1:00 and about 10:00, 11:00 eastern time yesterday. we have already heard reports of five deaths, more than 70 injuries but police say they expect those numbers to rise as they get a chance to see the real scope of the damage, now that the sun is up. we'll have a lot more on the storms in a few minutes. and as if these deadly tornadoes were not enough, the
atlantic hurricane season starts today. >> and forecasters are predicting a busy and active season, which usually peaks around mid-august to late october. so what lessons did forecasters learn from sandy last year? our john zarrella has been looking into that. good morning, john. >> reporter: alison, victor, with the start of hurricane season, forecasters are warning people from texas all the way to maine to be prepared. last season's hurricane sandy certainly reinforced that point. from florida to maine, superstorm sandy's long reach touched every state along the eastern seaboard. hardest hit, new jersey and new york, cities and towns swallowed up as sandy's catastrophic storm surge swept ashore. many of the 117 people who didn't survive drowned. in the aftermath, federal and local emergency managers are trying to understand why some people simply didn't get the message, get out.
>> of all the disasters we deal with, hurricanes are the one that we map and spend a lot of time trying to figure out who's at risk and then get the messaging out there for them to evacuate, with time to leave, and then there are still people that remain behind, for all kinds of reasons, and that's where we see unfortunately the greatest loss of life. >> reporter: one reason may have been because of what sandy wasn't. rick nabb is director of the national hurricane center. >> there's no doubt the warning is attention getting. >> reporter: there wasn't a hurricane warning because sandy while a superstorm with hurricane force winds wasn't a hurricane technically when it made landfall october 29. >> we had a difficult dilemma on our hands. >> reporter: to avoid confusion and misrepresenting the storm the national weather service decided to go with high wind and flood warnings. it's impossible to say whether some lives would have been saved if the attention getting hurricane warning was in place but if and when there's a next
time, forecasters say there won't be an issue. policy has been changed. >> the weather service can issue or keep up hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings even if something isn't technically a hurricane or tropical storm anymore. >> reporter: but hurricane forecasters and emergency managers argue no matter what you call it, people aren't necessarily prepared for the storm's threat. >> some places are vulnerable to storm surge, some aren't. some places are vulnerable to river flooding, some aren't. >> don't focus on the skinny black line, don't focus on the number. focus on the impacts of what you need to do to protect your family. >> reporter: and do it now. it's too late to figure out a plan when the storm is at your doorstep. this is expected to be an active hurricane season which doesn't necessarily mean a hurricane will hit the united states, but it certainly does increase the odds. alison, victor? >> john zarrella, thank you. >> even after superstorm sandy and 165 died, there will be some people who will never leave.
>> they think they can still ride it out. >> they'll just hunker down as they say and stay in. thanks for starting your morning with us. >> we have much more ahead on "cnn saturday morning" which starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com good morning, i'malson kosik. >> i'm victor black kl. it is 8:00 a.m. in oklahoma, people are assessing the damage caused by five destructive tornadoes. this is what people in union city saw as the tornadoes rushed through. five deaths are being blamed on the storm, including a mother and a small child. at least 70 were injured, but it wasn't just oklahoma.
there are reports of at least 17 tornadoes hitting the region. the governor of missouri declared a state of emergency because of the damage to homes and businesses there. >> one of the trailers blew over kind of rolled over his car, we've got about four or five trucks that are damaged, most of our dock doors are blown in, got some furniture that was stacked up in there for sale that blew over, dividing wall between the two buildings, chunks of it are just gone. i think the roof must have lifted up and then the wall itself just collapsed and the roof probably sat back down. >> right now flooding is the major concern. you see these huge flashes of power outages, the storms brought more than ten inches of rain in some areas. we've got team coverage across oklahoma this morning as we get our first look at the damage from the storm. george howell is in union city, standing alongside a string of destroyed homes.
nick valencia is in el reno i believe with the twisters, where they first touched down. george i want to start with you. we've been talking about flood danger from the storm, but you're actually seeing there's a lot of danger from the power lines. tell us about that. >> reporter: absolutely. yeah, you know, first of all 200,000 people to the latest figure that i understand out of power at this point and you know, a lot of power lines are down. take a look at this. i mean this is what you see around here, like this line, and dave, pan over there to that power pole, just snapped in two like a toothpick. you really get to see exactly how strong this storm was, this tornado was that came through this area. again we've been talking about this home here it's really the last home standing on this street because as we pan down the way you can see that the homes that once stood are now
piles of rubble and i count you know at least three or four homes from what i can tell that were destroyed by this twister that came through. our own meteorologist chad myers spotted this twister when it came through this area just before it crossed over interstate 40 and victor, i can tell you, as we drove back into oklahoma city and here into union city, we saw that debris field where the tornado crossed over the highway. we also saw those semis that were just knocked right over. you really do get to see exactly how strong those winds were and exactly why people had to get out of the way of the storm system. >> i guess, george, the good thing is i'm looking behind you and it doesn't seem like it's heavily populated so one saving grace i guess. >> reporter: you know, let's talk about the differences. so two weeks ago we saw these very powerful tornadoes, an ef4 tornado that went through shawnee, the next day that monday an ef5 tornado that tore
through moore, a very heavily populated area. so when you look at this storm, the tornadoes were not as strong but there were so many and this was a storm that just kept growing. i think about what it was like for us. we had a plan to get out of the way, thank goodness we had that plan because this was a storm that just kept growing and seemed to follow us. as we got out of the cones of concern, the tornado warnings, the severe thunderstorm warnings, the storm seemed to have a mind of its own and just follow us, even chad myers told us, told viewers yesterday he felt like the storm was chasing him as well, and he was with a storm chaser, he was out of the way of the storm but it seemed to just go after him, too, so it was a very volatile situation. and then it just parked itself over oklahoma city and dropped a lot of rain so now we're starting to see exactly what's left over. seems to be a lot of water on the ground, a lot of standing
water, a lot of power lines down, and certainly storm damage from where these tornadoes came through. >> george howell, thank you. now let's move down the road to el reno. nick valencia is there this morning. nick the sun is up. what kind of damage are you seeing there? >> reporter: we're in front of an oil field repair shop that took a direct hit from that tornado last night that came through el reno, oklahoma. you look mind me there, alison and you think that structure all toppled upon itself, the twisted metal, if anyone was inside there it's unlikely they would have survived but that's exactly what happened to david stott stottlemeyer. you were inside when that came on top of you? >> that's correct, we were just inside a building. >> so what happened? take me through when you saw the tornado to taking cover. >> they told the tornado was south of i-40 so we didn't worry about it too much and the wind
picked up and the rain and we had debris coming at us. we turned the corner and there was the tornado looking us dead in the eye. >> reporter: about how much time, we hear the average time people have to take cover for a tornado is 13 minutes. how much time would you guess you had? >> we couldn't hear the sirens, it was loud and we couldn't hear them at all. >> reporter: you were inside with two other co-workers and that roof just completely collapsed on top of you. >> that's correct, yeah. that was it. >> reporter: you were showing me some pictures a little while ago, you had time snaps of the tornado as it came toward you? >> i don't think we had in time, we just did it. we're in oklahoma, man, that's what we do. >> how long have you lived here? >> all my life. >> reporter: with the spate of tornadoes, the fresh tornadoes coming through here, are you anxious about anything at all? how do you feel about all this news and all this stuff, all this attention you're getting here. >> pretty insane.
we're all shook up the guys that were in there with me. it's surreal really. i have no other way to explain it. >> reporter: you've had time to process it here. you said you're maybe more emotional about it last night. >> oh, yeah, last night definitely but today it's just another day. >> all right so apparently we've lost nick's shot but the gentleman there saying this is oklahoma, this is what we do. >> used to it. i don't know how you get used to it but all the power to you. >> he survived, fortunately, and this is what we're seeing, a chilling scene in oklahoma, this is with the main highways, let's look at that video, guys, of drivers trying to get away from the storm, but that left them right in danger's way and it led to some scary moments. dave holder, he's a storm chaser who got a good look at what was going on, he spoke with cnn a little earlier. >> there was mass panic and that is something, it scares me, something i haven't seen before.
we were south a little ways and people were actually driving southbound in the northbound lanes to try and get out of the way, even though in fact there was no eminent tornado threat people were really, really panicked. you could tell by their erratic driving. we almost got into a head-on collision trying to go north and having cars come at us the opposite way. it was almost like, i thought about people evacuating from a hurricane or something where they open up the other side of the lanes to let people go through such a dynamic changing evolving situation with tornadoes forming and these storms coming in, it was really just asking for catastrophe. i'm really surprised there wasn't more problems or more, i'm not hearing reports of injuries from car crashes. >> parts of oklahoma hit twice in about two weeks, with devastating storms, and we want to find out why and what's
causing these tornado spawning storms. with us to explain it is is jay marshall shepherd, president of the american meteorological society and director of atmospheric sciences at the university of georgia. tell us, was there anything unique about the storms that we saw yesterday? >> yes, well climatologically this is actually where we would expect tornadoes this time of year. if you go back and look at the last 30 years or so, central oklahoma unfortunately is right in the sweet spot for tornadoes around may 20th through the end of may, and i know it's tempting to say, is there something particularly unusual, but this is exactly where we would expect, we're in the heart of the severe weather season there. the fuel supply for these storms, something in meteorology we use called cate was through the roof. we knew well in advance these storms would be quite dangerous. >> you say there are mistakes people have made in these storms. what are those mistakes?
>> i was astounded by some of the things. this was actually a storm that was very well warned for, the national weather service did an excellent job with the storm. the weather service was crystal clear to stay off the roads after 4:00 p.m. yesterday and yet there were some misinformation being put out there, bad decisions being made so i think we're in an era where we have to not only look at our meteorological and technological advances which we will continue to do but we have to improve upon our understanding of consuming, warning information as a public and this is where a more social science per communications type research is needed. >> being in a car is the last place you want to be when a tornado passes through. our meteorologist karen maginnis showed us a bar graph may has 200 or so on average tornadoes. how long are we expecting this height of the season to go on or should we expect it to go on into june and july? >> yeah, i think we'll see a
continuing of this pattern through the next couple of weeks and then it tends to ramp down although tornadoes are possible at any time of the year but we are certainly in the peak of the season particularly for this region as we are in april and may and into early june, so we kind of ramped down out of this tornado threat and as you mentioned in the previous story ramping into our hurricane season throughout as well but the good news i got some amazing news last night, i understand that employees of the national weather service and noaa will not be furloughed due to sequester issues and that's a no brainer in my opinion, it's one of those duh moments. we shouldn't be furloughing our weather employees during the peak of severe weather and hurricane season. >> yeah we still need those very clear and really life-saving forecasts that we've seen over the past couple of weeks. j. marshall shepherd thank you so much. >> thank you. more on the storm is ahead. >> we'll hear from another storm chaser who think nothing of getting right into the center of
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block the acid with prilosec otc and don't get heartburn in the first place! [ male announcer ] one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. we're beginning to get a better look at the damage left behind by the tornadoes in the midwest but some of the best material still comes from storm chasers as they track the tornadoes. reed timer is one of them and we got a chance to talk with him and got his impressions of what he saw. >> those multiple vortex tornadoes that you see there can be very intense on a small scale, just the violent motion in there and we saw some severe damages to homes from south of el reno east, i think union city was hit really hard and i'm hearing reports there were a few fatalities and it's a very rural area west of oklahoma city as well but we were tracking the storm for a while and you could tell it was going to put down a
monster tornado, it just kept spinning this wall cloud and the suction vortices would come straight down to the ground. you could also see the upward motion, too, so it's not just the really violent horizontally rotating motion but also the updraft that caused some of that damage and thankfully at that time when the video was shot there was open farmland that went further east and caused damage. we saw some storm chasers and motorists that were thrown off the road. we pulled them out of their vehicles and it was just a disaster, very violent tornado and today was one of those days where you knew there was going to be strong tornadoes and they seemed to keep hitting oklahoma, and a really eerie part o today, when we were chasing that weak rain-wrapped tornado it thankfully weakened moving through south oklahoma city and we dropped south and went to the damage path of the ef5 tornado just, what seven to ten days ago and i live actually two to three
miles south of that damage path so our thoughts and prayers definitely go out to the people out here in oklahoma city and south of oklahoma city in moore, because it is going to take years to rebuild. it looks like a war zone out there. this tornado took a hard turn and tornadoes that are this strong, you can see how volatile those vortices can be and scientifically in terms of tornadoes it's right near the ground, the suction vortices, it's a big mystery how fast the wind speeds can get in the suction vortices. some theories show on small scales the wind gusts could be 400 or 500 miles per hour so suction vortices are the reason why you have one house that will sustain complete damage and the one next door will be left untouched and if we can better understand the wind speeds in those suction vortices we can better build structures to withstand them, that's how we build ourored vehicles with the spikes and hydraulics and
windows so we can get up close and personal and use our instrumentation to measure the pressure and wind speeds. that's an obsession of mine as a scientist and storm chaser to get close to the suction vortices and try to better understand them. >> up next, when nature is threatened, she heeds the call. meet this week's cnn hero who is rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing thousands of birds back into their natural habitats for free.
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to repair the damage playing mother nature to thousands of animals who were born to be wild. >> in this fast-paced world, we do forget that we are animals, and part of the natural world. this is a beautiful female bald eagle. humans, we are wildlife's worst enemy in many, many ways. she had been clipped by a small jet. we don't want her to live in a cage. we want to get her back out there in the wild. i'm mona rutger, a rescue, rehabilitate and release injured wildlife back into their natural habitat. i think we can get her fixed up and get her back out there. when i started this center i thought i'd get 25, 30 animals a year. once people found out, the phone never stopped ringing. this coopers hawk is ready to go. it's all consuming but i'm doing something i love.
one -- >> two, three, be free! >> with an injured animal, everyone says let nature take its course but 90% of these animals' injuries are human related. that's not nature. it's us. we need to become more responsible caretakers of the earth. each animal has a role to play in the food chain. if just one link breaks, the whole chain falls apart. this is a big day for these baby ducks. we successfully released thousands of animals back to the wild, it's the same thrill every single time. whoa. we're counting on the children to do a better job than we have in the past. where do wild animals really belong? >> no the wild. >> in the wild. >> i desperately want them to feel the excitement that i find in nature. we can make a difference. we're going to be bringing you much more of the wreckage
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check of top stories, five people are dead, 71 at least are hurt after tornadoes ripped through oklahoma last night. the violent storm system spawned 17 tornadoes across five states. more than 200,000 people are still without power, and in missouri flash floods have shut down sections of 200 roads, from texas to indiana more flooding,
large hail, possibly more tornadoes are expected today. now to arkansas where crews are resuming their search for three missing people after flash flooding hit the area. raging floodwaters began rising around a home in scott county. two women called for help. sheriff cody carpenter and a wildlife official tried reaching them in a poet but got swept away. sheriff carpenter's body has been found. last hour we spoke to keith she have stephens from the arkansas game commission about the search. >> it is right on the oklahoma/arkansas border, how about eight inches of rain in a very short period of time. that area is in a valley and the water obviously rushing off of the ridges through that part of the state went into the mill creek area and flooded the little community of white city.
>> authorities are continuing to search for the women and other official. houston is mourning the deaths of four of its firefighters, killed as they battled a blaze that engulfed a houston hotel and restaurant yesterday. they went inside the hotel to look for anyone who might be trapped and a wall collapsed on them. more than a dozen other firefighters are being treated at local hospitals. their colleagues combed through the rubble to pull them out. the fbi is trying to figure out who sent threatening letters to president obama and new york city michael bloomberg and head of a gun control group. the fbi found low amounts of the poison ricin in those letters. they're also looking into a ricin laced letter that was sent to fairchild air force base near spokane, washington. 17 reported tornadoes tear through the midwest and this morning we're getting a look at the damage and the new risk of flooding. we're going to continue our storm coverage next hour. thanks for watching today. i'll see you back here at the top of the hour. >> our crews are still working
in oklahoma, we've got george howell there also, chad myers has been there for days and nick valencia in the town of el reno, where two tornadoes touched down yesterday. we'll get you the latest at the top of the hour. "your money" starts now. in 2012 republicans attacked the so-called obama economy, but now the economy is rewriting that script. i'm christine romans. this is "your money." ap phone records, irs targeting conservative groups, talking points on benghazi, that's the conversation in washington but the economy is stronger than the d.c. talk is letting on. >> there's a lot of reasons for to us feel optimistic about where we're headed as a country. >> obama's economy, the sequel. today, stocks are soaring to record highs, home prices are rising, the unemployment rate is falling, and your confidence in this economy is the highest it's been in five years, but none of that was in the