tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN August 28, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PDT
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breaking news on hurricane ida. the storm is set to intensify soon, expected to make landfall in louisiana as a powerful category four hurricane tomorrow. national weather service is warning the storm could make some places in southeast louisiana uninhabitable for weeks or even months. look at this. any video into cnn shows backed up traffic out of the new orleans area on a major highway, talking interstate 10. folks are trying to get out as quickly as they can. people listened to urgent warnings, are rushing to get out of the storm's path. we hope they make it. the mayor of new orleans is expected to hold a briefing in just a few minutes. we will have live coverage of that briefing once it begins. our team of reporters is covering the storm from all angles. allison chinchar is standing by at the cnn weather center. begin with nadia ra mira and
jason carroll in new orleans for us. jason, first to you. are people you are talking to leaving new orleans or trying to hunker down and stay? >> reporter: well, wolf, it is a combination of both. whenever you cover hurricanes, you always hear from one person i am going to stay and ride it out. that's what we're hearing, too, in the 9th ward. want to give you perspective where i am standing, shows you what's at stake. this particular levee failed in katrina in two spots, in the specific spot we are standing here. the waterway you see is a canal that feeds into the mississippi river. during katrina, this entire area flooded and 9th ward was completely devastated during katrina. behind this levee, you can see what's at stake. these homes, this is all new construction, wolf. all these homes were basically wiped out during katrina. this go around, speaking to
folks out here in 9th ward, i wanted to find out from them whether or not they thought levees would hold. it is a mixed bag. some say look, we know what the city has done in terms of installing levees, fixing the system. they feel the best course of action is to leave. >> i was going to stay, i honestly was going to stay. my thing is there's enough money on it supposedly to keep it going, but i am ten feet up, so clearly i was going to stay. >> talking ten feet in the air, referring to your house? is that your house there? >> yes, it is. >> still, the decision, you get the kids and get out. >> if i am leaving the city, not leaving my kids, even the grown ones, i'm not leaving them. >> reporter: that woman, wolf, thought for a moment she could ride out the storm on the second story of her home but thought
better. again, we also spoke to folks in 9th ward that decided they're going to stay. they have every confidence that the levees are going to hold, wolf? >> i keep pointing out, hurricane katrina, 16 years ago exactly. almost to the day. 16 years ago. it was a category three. this will be a category four, more powerful than that. folks have to get away as quickly as they can. jason, stand by. nadia, the mayor is set to speak in a few moments, we'll get her message today. what are you hearing and seeing where you are? >> reporter: wolf, we know the mayor is urging people to get out of the city as quickly as possible, saying they've run out of time to have mandatory evacuation because the storm is moving quickly. she wants everyone to leave if they can. i am inside french quarter, we are higher elevation than where jason carroll is. this area is not prone to flooding but it can still happen here. look behind me, you can see
business owners are boarding up, working on this all morning, boarding up. this gentleman working on this shop himself, seen crews, half dozen people outboarding up buildings, getting ready for the storm. we know it is not just water but high wind speeds, up to 140 miles per hour that could impact this area. this is an iconic part of new orleans, right? you mark it on your calendar and come here. we ran into so many tourists that spent hard earned money to be in new orleans, now they're told they need to go home. some of them are hanging about. some have redirected travel plans by getting on flights, trying to get out of the area. people that live here, some are under mandatory evacuation orders. there are four parishes under mandatory evacuation orders. others told to leave voluntarily. others like hotels are saying you don't have to go home but you can't stay here, and warning
if you are evacuated, national guard rounds you up and takes you out or you risk the chance of being stuck in your home, trying to survive, ride out the storm on your own. i spoke with a shop owner says he has been in that location 20 years, never seen it this empty on a saturday morning, never seen so many people afraid of the storm because they all remember hurricane katrina. >> it is empty, the streets there. as you point out, anybody that's been to new orleans on saturday morning, your time, 11:00, noon on the east coast, it would be jam packed with tourists and others enjoying the beautiful city of new orleans, right? >> reporter: absolutely, wolf. i mean, we are a block away. i will show you, this is cafe dumond. it is like 24 hours. it is a must do on your list when you come to new orleans. we're just a block from there.
you can see people, but not like it is supposed to be on a warm saturday morning on a sunny day like today. you expect streets to be packed with people. unfortunately that's not happening. many of them are leaving the city. we have seen taxicabs lined up, lifts and ubers picking up people and taking them to hotels because they don't want to ride out the storm. there's a hurricane, category four, on the way. wolf? >> awful situation indeed. nadia, stand by. allison chinchar is at the cnn weather center. we recently got a new update. what are you hearing? >> the latest with this particular storm, we're starting to see the storm strengthen. you can see the beginning there of a little eyewall. it is strengthening, trying to get itself together here and intensify as it moves to the warm gulf of mexico waters. sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, gusting up to 105. you can see some outer bands
beginning to impact the gulf coast. landfall is not until tomorrow, but impacts begin today. we can't emphasize that enough. category one for now, but expected to rapidly intensify as it moves through very warm waters of the gulf. likely a category two in a few hours, category three by tonight and four by tomorrow. likely to stay category four at landfall. storm surge is the biggest concern in pink, including grand isle, 10 to 15 feet. when we talk about storm surge, it is a concept that you have to explain. this is what it would look like at storm surge at four feet. you already have inundation of water flowing inside the home. we are not talking about four feet, we're talking ten feet in some areas. when you talk 9 to 12 feet, that goes over the roof of some homes. that will completely make it impossible for you to stay in your home at levels like that. that's why the national weather
service keeps telling people to get out if you can. it is not a safe place to be if you're in those zones, and not just storm surge, it is combination of storm surge, but also wind. this is what makes the storm different from katrina. katrina, flooding was terrible. but katrina was cat three at landfall. this is anticipated to be category four at landfall. winds are expected to be stronger than hurricane katrina. 110 or higher gusts in the purple area you see here. even further inland, 60 to 80 miles per hour wind gusts. that's plenty to bring down trees and power lines through the areas. outer bands will continue to push inland as we go through the day today. they'll become more frequent and stronger going through the overnight hours, and especially into early hours tomorrow. that's why you have high risk of flash flooding. not using that term in a general sense, that's the category, referred to as high. top level of flood risk that
noaa issues. potential for flash flooding in areas like baton rouge and new orleans is extremely high. again, we talked about, wolf, difference between the categories and the distance. ida is expected to have landfall west of new orleans, different than katrina but that's worse. typically in a storm, worst part is the northeast quadrant. if it makes landfall west, puts new orleans in less area than katrina was. you would rather be on the west side of the storm than the east side of the storm. >> allison, we're going to get back to you. thank you very much. nadia, jason, be very careful. you're both in new orleans for us. this will be a devastating hurricane. we'll stay in close touch with you as well. we'll update viewers what's going on. next few minutes, we'll hear from the mayor of new orleans, la toya cantrell to brief us.
we'll have live coverage of that. meantime, covering other breaking news out of afghanistan. we just learned two, not one, but two isis-k members were killed in the u.s. drone strike. the pentagon says the threat from the terror group is far from over. you're looking at brand new video we got, exclusive video obtained by cnn taken after the drone strike, showing damage left behind. pretty significant video. let's bring in democratic congressman that's a member of the house armed services committee. thank you for joining us. the pentagon says the u.s. drone strike killed two isis-k what they call planners and facilitators, and wounded one other isis-k member. how far do you think it goes degrading the threat from the terror group? >> i applaud the president for taking firm, decisive action to take out those members that
killed our troops. it is a first step. we need to see what more needs to be done. anyone contemplating arming our troops, harming this country should be very clear that congress will overwhelmingly support this president in taking retaliatory action that's just. i'm glad the president has done this. >> the pentagon says threats at the kabul airport are active. should the biden administration, congressman, speed up withdrawal? it is supposed to be completed by tuesday to avoid further casualties. in other words, just get out of there as quickly as possible? >> wolf, i think this is why he is sticking to the august 31st deadline. takes a few days to remove troops swiftly. my understanding is the focus is on getting out troops safely. i am confident they'll do that by august 31st with every safety protection, but it is a dangerous mission as the
president has said. these people who are serving our troops are heroes. they're risking their own lives to save other americans and afghans. our entire country owes them a huge debt of gratitude. >> let's not forget in the past ten days since august 14, 117,000 people, american citizens, green card holders, afghan allies, third country residents have been evacuated, of that 117,000, 5400 americans were flown out. the pentagon says some flights are now carrying military equipment, meaning they're packing up, getting out. have you been briefed how much could potentially be abandoned that could ultimately end up in taliban hands or worse terrorist hands? >> our understanding is they're taking out as much equipment as possible without putting troops in harm's way. that's a judgment the president
has to make. even after we leave, wolf, we're going to have over the horizon capabilities, going to have the ability to strike and still have as prime minister johnson has said tremendous political, economic, diplomatic pressure on the taliban. even though troops will be out, that doesn't mean that america's vigilance against terrorism will stop, nor is the effort to re rescue afghans and vulnerable people going to stop. >> once the u.s. pulls out of that air space, leaves kabul airport, how will the u.s. help the remaining several hundred citizens who worked at the embassy and helped america the past 20 years, how will they manage to help get them out? >> well, it has to be a multi facetted effort. has to be our highest priority. the president said anyone american that wants to leave will be able to leave. as you know, there are special
operations that can go in there, we can have coordination with allies, put tremendous pressure on the taliban to make sure they're being released. some folks are not there in kabul. the current mission won't be able to help them. we need to first convince the taliban, pressure the taliban to open borders so some of them may be able to go to other countries and then fly to the united states. i represent the largest afghan community in the country. there are people in congress that will make sure those americans and green card holders and families that want to get out will be able to get out. that we're not going to forget them. >> all of the specific afghans still in afghanistan who have connection with the afghan americans in your district, have the afghan americans told you that their relatives, their friends have been able to get out or are still stuck behind? >> some are still stuck behind,
wolf, in honest y, i heard stories of them beaten by the taliban, having to go two or three times, being harassed at the check points, fearful for their lives. there are people, interpreters, allies that are still there. we're going to have to continue the mission to rescue them. putting our troops there in harm's way where we saw we lost 13 service members, i have been reading about the family, incredible grief, we can't do that. we can't have more of our service members in that kind of harm's way. we need to withdraw our troops but continue through other means the operation of rescuing. certainly all americans and their families, vulnerable afghans and afghan allies. >> deepest condolences to families of the 13 service members that were killed. may they rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing. congressman, thanks for all you're doing. thanks for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. coming up, the mayor of new orleans is expected to speak any
moment now. live pictures coming in from new orleans as this major hurricane is bearing down on the gulf coast. we'll have live coverage when we come back. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." . it's a simple fact: it even kills the covid-19 virus. science supports these simple facts. there's only one true lysol. lysol. what it takes to protect. boost is the only mobile carrier to give you the power of free 24/7 access to live doctors from your phone. get a free samsung galaxy a32 5g when you switch to america's largest & fastest 5g network. more power to stay healthy. boost mobile riders, the lone wolves of the great highway. all they need is a bike and a full tank of gas. their only friend? the open road. i have friends. [ chuckles ] well, he may have friends, but he rides alone. that's jeremy, right there! we're literally riding together. he gets touchy when you talk about his lack of friends.
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a suicide bombing at kabul airport. the pentagon wrapped up a briefing a few moments ago. watch this. >> i can confirm as more information has come in that two high profile isis targets were killed and one was wounded, and we know of zero civilian casualties. without specifying any future plans, i will say that we will continue to have the ability to defend ourselves and leverage o over the horizon capability to conduct counterterrorism operations as needed. >> cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr joins us now, sam kylie also joining us from doha, qatar. barbara, what more did we learn in the latest update from the pentagon? >> reporter: wolf, they refused to identify much about the operatives killed other than to say they were planners, facilitators.
doesn't indicate if they were senior operatives or in command of anything. we are told here at cnn that at least one of them was involved in planning potential future attacks against the airport, so the threat there is very concerning. one of the big questions, of course, did the strike have permanent impact on the isis organization in afghanistan. hears what the press secretary, john kirby, had to say. >> one planner, one facilitator no longer on the muster roll. so they've lost some capability to plan and to conduct missions. but barbara, make no mistake, nobody is writing this off, saying well, we dgot them, don' have to worry about isis-k any more. not the case. as i said earlier, the threat stream is still active, still dynamic. we're still laser focused on that. >> the threat stream from isis-k
in afghanistan now being watched in real time, minute by minute by the biden administration as they start the count down of operations at the kabul airport. they're now getting into being hours away from the tuesday deadline for which all u.s. forces are to be gone from afghanistan. isis-k, a threat. a lot of concern as dangerous hours tick down, wolf. >> yes, indeed. stand by, barbara. sam, you're there in doha, qatar, in the region. as you heard, the pentagon says it is still processing americans with passports, also processing afghans with special immigrant visa applications, other vulnerable afghans who worked with the u.s. they're processing these people for flights out of kabul. what do the operations look like today? what's going on? >> reporter: well, they're way down is the short answer to
that, wolf. the overnight numbers in the last 24 hours, 3:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., 2600, down from peak of over 12,000, just on the u.s. side. numbers of civilians are going down rapidly, not surprisingly. not only the taliban have a ring of steel around the airport as public policy, not allowing afghans through it. on top of that, gates are all closed for security reasons. those getting into the airport, coming in by covert means with prearrangement with now predominantly almost entirely the united states. united kingdom is in the process of drawing down entirely their operation after ending the british evacuation process. that's a thousand troops pulling out. this will not mean the basis more vulnerable because they were outside the main airfield running their own perimeter security, so the u.s. perimeter security remains intact for now,
but there is substantial amount of men and material will be starting to move as the americans draw down their operations with ever dwindling number of evacuees going out. surprise any of getting to the airport, let alone getting off. soon that will be almost impossible when the covert operators able to get out in kabul are no longer able to do it, and because of safety and no overwatch, they're not going to be able to go into towns even with cooperation of the taliban, wolf. >> sam kylie, barbara starr. both of you please stand by. up next, there are growing tributes to the 13 u.s. service members who died in the airport attack. we have that and much bhomore w we come back. with barely a bobble. with usaa safepilot, when you drive safe... ...you can save up to 30%
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right now, we are tracking two stories. people in the southeast racing to protect their homes, trying to get to safety as hurricane ida begins to intensify over warm waters of the gulf. ida taking a similar track as katrina did exactly 16 years ago. threatening not as a hurricane category three, but as a category four. more powerful. president biden is set to receive an update from fema in the next hour. we'll have live coverage of that once it begins. stay with us for the briefing.
including water. none perishable items, flashlight, battery powered radio for 72 hours. food and water 72 hours, three days. we say the first 72 is on you. you need to have your supplies prepared. prepare your property by securing outdoor furniture, decor, trash bins. charge electric devices, lower temperature of the refrigerator, and of course today, you can move neutral ground, vehicles to neutral ground after 12:00 p.m. i want to be clear we are facing a dangerous storm that needs to be taken seriously. damaging winds of 74 to 110
miles per hour can cause downed trees, structure damage, prolonged power outages. heavy rain in excess of 10 to 15 inches in isolated areas that could be higher can cause flooding. dangerous storm surge can cause flooding outside the levee system and cause overtopping potentially on the west wing. hurricane effect for all areas outside the levee system and parts of the west bank. flash flood watch is in effect. understand if you're staying for the storm, you need to expect significant impacts. extended power loss is almost certain as is street flooding and flooding from rain. depending on strength of winds, significant damage is possible. please be ready to stay in place in a secure structure until the
storm passed. be in your home by midnight. stay connected by texting noaa ready. follow us and nola ready and we're always ready. >> we're going to continue to more tore this briefing. you heard the mayor make it abun danltly clear to residents of new orleans area, said if you want to leave, you need to leave now. this storm will not weaken. we just heard, she said time is not on your side, time is not on our side. this is it. this is a category four hurricane that potentially tomorrow afternoon could hit new orleans area.
we heard the director of the office of homeland security saying leave now. if you don't leave now, by tonight, you have to shelter in place and that potentially could be very, very dangerous. i want to bring in allison chinchar from cnn weather center now. you have been tracking the storm, moving through warm waters, the gulf, building up from a hurricane one to two and eventually three and four. give us the latest we've got on the track. >> right. the track has been consistent of knowing where it is going to move through the gulf of mexico. one thing that's started to notice in the last hour or so is defined eyewall. that's a true sign that the storm is continuing to strengthen. sustained winds, 85 miles per hour, gusting up to 105. you're seeing that storm going through the strengthening process and intensifying. you have outer bands impacting areas of the gulf coast.
yes, it is not making landfall until tomorrow, but impacts are beginning today. it is a category one as of now. expect it to be a category two in a few hours, category three by tonight, category four by tomorrow morning. unfortunately it is likely to make landfall as a category four tomorrow afternoon, late afternoon, perhaps early evening. again, the reason it is intensifying, it is moving into much warmer water. not talking bath water, talking jacuzzi warm water. fuel for this storm. storm surge is one thing we hammer home. this is the biggest impact. 10 to 15 feet of storm surge, including grand isle. 7 to 11 feet north and east of that, including biloxi. you talk about storm surge, it is the amount of water that's there. as water pushes in, even four feet storm surge, you get in
undeleg undel water topping the home. you have a two story, fine, go to the second level, if you don't, your home is now unlivable. that's why hurricane center, national weather service has been saying get out. some of the areas will be uninhabitable for as much as weeks after the storm makes landfall, not only from the water but the wind. this purple area, including new orleans and baton rouge, this is a concern for widespread power outages. overnight hours and especially in the early morning hours tomorrow, we are anticipating a very high risk of flash flooding, not only in new orleans but also baton rouge and along the coastline. again, wolf, this is a combination. it is storm surge, it is the
heavy rainfall, and also the very strong damaging winds, all encompassing for this particular storm. >> hits on the 16th anniversary of hurricane katrina, a category three. this is a category four. stand by. nadia ramirez on the ground for us in new orleans. very serious warnings from the mayor, from homeland security specialist. be prepared, be prepared to be without power. significant flooding. are people prepared? what are you seeing. you're there in the french quarter. >> reporter: wolf, you can hear behind me, a man came out to play his trumpet and to do what you would normally have happen in french quarter, enjoy that jazz music. we have that outer band make its way through, and because of that, so many people scattered, especially tourists realizing that the hurricane is a real threat. when it was nice and sunny, people weren't taking it
seriously. now people are starting to leave the area because we had the first outer band make its way. behind me, business owners have been through this before, boarded up here, ready for the storm. sand bags here as well. there are sandbagging stations all throughout, not just new orleans but throughout louisiana. we heard from the mayor of new orleans saying now is the time to leave. leave if you can, but if you don't, don't expect emergency responders to risk their life to get you. you made that decision to hunker down and stay in your home, you have to ride out the storm if that's what you choose to do. you can see behind me, streets are emptying in the french quarter as people decide if they're staying in homes or get on the road. gas stations are running low on fuel. people are trying to figure out which way will they go. will they stay and hunker down? many of them remember what happened in katrina. others say they're from new orleans. this is what they do during a hurricane. they're going to take that
chance. wolf? >> wish them good luck. that will be a dangerous situation, the mayor saying time is not on our side. the president, by the way, will again have a briefing from fema next hour. we'll have live coverage from the white house. lots of news going on, we'll be right back. lysol. what it takes to protect. people everywhere living with type 2 diabetes are waking up to what's possible with rybelsus®. ♪ you are my sunshine ♪ ♪ my only sunshine... ♪ rybelsus® works differently than any other diabetes pill to lower blood sugar in all 3 of these ways... increases insulin when you need it... decreases sugar... and slows food. the majority of people taking
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ask your healthcare provider about rybelsus® today. welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i am wolf blitzer. this is a special edition of "the situation room." the u.s. coast guard and state agencies -- they were telling residents that now is the time to leave. roadways are congested and people trying to get out of the storm's path. president biden is set to get an update from official