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tv   State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash  CNN  August 29, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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ed asner will be greatly missed. thank you so much for joining me this evening. it was a busy sunday night. i'm pamela brown. we are getting a new update on hurricane ida from the national hurricane center and michael holmes continues our special coverage now. have a good week. xxxx welcome to cnn newsroom. i'm michael holmes. we are following breaking news in louisiana where the damage from hurricane ida, one of the strongest storms to ever hit the state, is quickly becoming clearer. right now, all of new orleans parish is without power, in the dark. statewide almost a million customers with no electricity. there is now a flash flood emergency for new orleans. a major city now totally in the
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dark. >> the entirety of the parish went out. there's still isolated places with generators and the turbines are still operating to operate the pumps but the entire parish of orleans went out in terms of power being provided there. >> now, the first deaths from the hurricane was reported in just the last hour, a person killed by a falling tree. ida made landfall sunday as a powerful category 4 storm, slamming ashore on the 16th anniversary of hurricane katrina's landfall. it has now, as we speak, weakened to a category 2. but the winds, the flash flooding, the storm surges are all still major concerns. there are also worries for the folks in grand isle, a small barrier island which has completely lost contact with local authorities. >> we've lost contact with grand
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isle, so that is the island right on the gulf of mexico that i've been very, very concerned about. we lost contact with them. we've not been able to reach them. i don't know what they're going through. and then closer up here, still outside the hurricane protection system, an area called lafitte in lower lafitte, crown point. the water is rising. people are in their homes and we're getting reports of people with water up to their chest, asking to be rescued. >> and cnn is covering the story of course from all angles. we have brian todd in new orleans. we have ed lavandera in baton rouge and we have the extreme weather center in atlanta. brian, i want to start with you. the power is out. the waters are rising. how bad has it been where you are? >> michael, it's been pretty bad for the last several hours. the past few hours and the next several hours are very
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concerning here in new orleans because it has been pitch black. the streets are dark. no power. i can step to the side here and our photo journalist will zoom in to bourbon street here in new orleans in complete darkness. the only reason you see light on those buildings is because jake our photo journalist has been able to throw a light from an independent power source on to those buildings and illuminate part of bourbon street. it is total darkness. the good news here is at least in the french quarter the flooding has not been too bad because it is a higher level of ground than much of the city. you have flash flood emergencies in many areas of new orleans. at least 20 different neighborhoods most of them on the south shore of lake ponchartrain where these are lower lying neighborhoods. flash flood emergencies at least until midnight. there is some flooding going on. this is flooding due to basically a catastrophic rainfall event. this is not necessarily due to storm surge. as far as the storm surge is concerned according to people
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with the louisiana hurricane, there is a system that basically protects, a hurricane protection system here in louisiana. we've been talking with officials from that system and they've told us that the levees, the floodgates, the surge gates are all closed and holding very well. they've been heavily fortified since hurricane katrina in 2005. those levees and gates are holding well. they do not expect them to fail. that is the good news tonight. the bad news is the rain is still pounding and we're still getting flooding here in new orleans and there is a flash flood emergency at least until midnight local time here in new orleans. now you talk about the darkness here, and the fact that anybody who has power is going to be using a generator. that is a kind of a point of danger as well because officials told us that last year when hurricane laura came through here, when they lost 25 people, due to that hurricane, nine of those deaths were attributed to
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carbon monoxide poisoning. people not using their generators properly. and they're malfunctioning. they are warning people if you're going to use a generator you have to know how to use it. follow the manufacturer's instructions. don't bring the generators in your homes. that is part of the problem. the other part of the problem is that with the darkness people in new orleans and these areas where the flash flooding is going on of course it is so pitch black you can't see very often how much the water levels are rising in your house, in your community, so that is going to be a point of real worry in the next few hours until we see daylight. michael? >> all right. just hard to imagine how terrifying that would be for all of those people in the parish without power in the middle of all of this. brian todd in new orleans, thanks so much. let's go to baton rouge now and check in with cnn's ed lavandera. ed, what have you been seeing there? >> reporter: the strongest rain bands have now started reaching
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baton rouge. michael, it has taken most of the day for this hurricane to reach this far inland. as it has slowed down, that is also making it a much more treacherous situation because now you have a hurricane that is still very strong doing its worst damage in some areas here in all darkness. and so that is terrifying u this storm and the brunt of this storm is essentially passing between new orleans where brian todd is reporting from and where we are here in baton rouge and it is an area that is filled with dozens of small communities, low lying, officials here have been saying this is one of the areas they are most concerned about and, michael, this is a situation that it is not just a matter for these residents just to get through tonight and the worst of the initial brunt of the impact of this storm. this is an impact they are concerned about over the course of the next several days. and that is because as this storm continues to push essentially straight north, it
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is dumping lots of rain on the area and just north of it. and all of that flood water and rain water has to rush back down toward the gulf of mexico and residents here are nervous about the flood waters that will be coming in the next day or two. so in the areas being hardest hit at this hour between baton rouge and new orleans we spent the day there driving, talking to people, visiting several different communities, and they said one of the things they're also most nervous about is most storms usually weakened considerably by the time they get this far inland but this storm remains relatively strong. not a category 4 as it was when it made landfall but still stronger than many of these people are used to experiencing. and they also live in areas and communities with massive trees. as you alluded to there off the top the first death has been reported. the victim had a tree fall on their home. that is very close to the area we were driving through earlier today and the area where the
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brunt of the storm is pounding right now. that is what many residents told us they were very worried about. you know, we spoke with one family that had four or five different trees that were 75 to 100 feet tall. you can imagine the nervousness they're experiencing here this evening as the strong winds continue to push forward. a tree collapsing on homes can be deadly as we've already seen unfold here tonight. >> all right, ed. thanks so much. ed lavandera in baton rouge for us. let's go across to our meteorologist joining us with the latest. give us a sense of how this unfolded as it barreled in, where it is heading. it was smaller than katrina but strong and crucially slow moving wasn't it? >> very concerning. the progression, the forward speed, the lack of movement after landfall, all of those going to play a significant role in how this particular storm plays out. the damage that is going to be
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left behind. if it made landfall right now at 100 miles per hour it would be six miles shy of a major hurricane. it has been on land for upwards of ten hours. that is remarkable. you don't see that often. this landscape very conducive to allowing systems to maintain intensity because of the southern tier. just essentially a continuation of the gulf of mexico. very warm waters that are going to energize and continue fueling the storm system. it left some of the warmest water on our planet. water temperatures along the gulf coast the northern tier closing in on 90 degrees here. an incredible amount of warmth to fuel a storm system tied with the state's strongest storms. 150-mile-per-hour winds at landfall. the storm prediction center for sunday into monday morning giving it a high risk, 4 out of 4 for excessive rainfall risk and flooding including new orleans, baton rouge and the
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system making its closest approach at this hour. keep in mind when it comes to this landscape this is called the brown ocean effect. when you look at an area that has saturated waterways and soil as well that fuels storms, allows them to maintain the intensity. that is what is concerning in this particular area of the u.s. with land falling storms. peak winds upwards of 150 miles per hour. with saturated soil 60 to 70 miles an hour enough to bring trees down. upwards after million customers now without power across the state of louisiana. you can thank the tremendous amount of winds and moisture already on the ground responsible for this. flood warnings still in place. meaning flooding is imminent or occurring. continue marching northward into the overnight hours and becomes that much more dangerous when people go to bed and the waters continue to rise across the region. >> i think already the second wettest year on record for much of that area. pedram javaheri thanks for the update there.
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extraordinary stuff. we'll take a break and when we come back after katrina louisiana poured billions of dollars into flood control. we'll see how well the defenses are holding up as they face their toughest test yet. and in afghanistan the u.s. targets an imminent threat to kabul's airport as it rushes evacuations ahead of this week's withdrawal deadline.
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♪ ♪ we are staring down the eye of a monster category 4 hurricane and it is unleashing its fury on houma, louisiana as
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we speak. >> now, one big question most coastal communities are facing right now is how well the state's network of levees and flood walls will hold up against this storm. the government invested billions of dollars in shoring up louisiana's flood protection systems after they failed of course during hurricane katrina leading to the devastation we all witnessed. so far the levees appear to be holding but we are seeing dangerous flooding in st. bernard parish southeast of new orleans. the national weather service reporting water has over topped at least one levee in plaquemines parish to the south. now for more i'm joined by the regional director for the southeast louisiana flood protection authority. thanks for being with us. as we said a lot of money was spent on katrina after katrina disaster on these defenses. briefly what were they designed to do and how well are they
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holding up? >> the federal government invested 4. #$4.7 billion in th flood protection system in louisiana for just this reason. so far they are performing as designed. they are being tested and we are being pushed. this is a monster storm. i credit the national weather service because they were right the whole time they told us what would happen so we were able to prepare for it the right way. and the levees are doing the flood walls, pump stations, all of these components, this complex system that new orleans is doing exactly what it was supposed to do. >> right. i think this has been a record wet year for louisiana, new orleans, second wettest on record. now this massive amount of rain, the storm surge on top of that. just how much water can the pumping system handle? >> what we do is the perimeter defense. one of our components is the west closure complex. the largest pump station in the world.
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we don't use it very often but it has a peak capacity of 19,140 cubic feet per second. you are talking about roughly 8.5 million gallons per minute. what that does is allow us to rapidly remove water from inside the system so that the municipal drainage can keep up with the street drainage. it is a complicated system of checks and balances so to speak. what it does when we have to run it and this is only the second time the flood authority has ever had to run this thing for a storm event, it allows us to get the level of protection that the federal government designed and provided us. >> it is a stunning amount of water to be able to pump. absolutely extraordinary. i did read the authority manages i think 80 miles of levees, the flood walls, the structures, i think 70 or 68 gates, three pumping stations. just how expensive and complicated is this system?
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>> the system was very complicated. the west closure alone was 1.1 billion. like i said, the entire system of greater new orleans was 14.7. with the authority on the west bank managers about $3.5 billion worth of infrastructure. so we -- it is a lot to manage. 80 miles of levees and flood walls, the hurricane protection levees, the mississippi river, so a full-time job. we start preparing for hurricane season on the last day of hurricane season, start preparing for the next one. we do that every year. my team performed flawlessly. the levees have done their job albeit they are pushed to their limit because this is a record-setting storm in every aspect imaginable. but we have a great support network, partners at the federal level, with the corps of engineers, the state level with governor edwards, and everybody down has been nothing but
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supportive. so we are doing our job to keep the citizens safe. >> it was an extraordinary amount of money after katrina but it has been really tested. good news to hear that things are working as they were designed. got to leave it there in new orleans. stay safe. appreciate your time. >> thank you so much. y'all stay safe. bye. the u.s. says an air strike in the afghan capital has taken out what they call an imminent threat to the kabul airport. as the clock winds down on tuesday's deadline for all u.s. troops to withdraw. no more boots on the ground. we'll show you some video from social media showing people gathered at the aftermath of sunday's air strike. a u.s. official says the vehicle targeted contained they say a suicide bomber. the u.s. military says secondary explosions from the vehicle may have caused civilian casualties. that has been reported. now, this action comes just days after 13 u.s. service members
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were killed out in the attack outside kabul's airport. more than 170 afghans killed as well. the u.s. president joe biden traveling to dover airforce base in delaware where the bodies of those service members were returned to the u.s. we're following developments from hong kong and white house reporter jasmine wright joining us now from washington. we begin with you though anna. another u.s. strike in kabul. what more do we know about it, the casualties, and at this late point how many more americans and afghans will be able to get out as part of the evacuation before it is over? >> michael, we have breaking news. explosions were heard in kabul in the last hour. we don't know if this was a rocket attack from a vehicle aimed at the airport, repelled by the airport's defense system, or if this was another drone strike by the u.s. military. we are still waiting for those
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details. certainly explosions heard in kabul about an hour ago. in relation to the drone strike that took place yesterday in kabul that we just saw the images on the pentagon is saying it took out an isis threat, that this was a vehicle containing one to three people with suicide vests that were going to go to the airport and create more blood shed, more karcarnage. it wasn't just one vehicle but another vehicle affected as well and nine civilians have been killed we believe up to six children involved. so once again still working on those details but as far as the pentagon is concerned, they took out what was a very specified threat. this obviously in relation to the suicide bombing at the airport last thursday which claimed more than 180 lives. the u.s. then responded the
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following day during an attack in jalalabad, once again taking out isis targets. as we get closer, we are now hours away from u.s. troops pulling out. so the threat level, you know, at an extreme high. >> and at their most vulnerable as they evacuate as well. jasmine wright in d.c., let's turn to you. it was as we said a somber day for the u.s. as the return of the bodies of the service members killed were returned at what is called a dignified transfer. tell us how that happened. >> reporter: michael, it was a sad day today. president biden watched on from the dover air base in anguish on his face even though he was wearing a mask and his movements as he stood for this dignified transfer. we saw him at times put his hand over his heart and close his eyes as those transfer cases were carried off the c-17 military airplane on to those
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mortuary vehicles really acknowledging the sadness of this day, bowing his head. sometimes looking like he was in prayer. we know he is a deeply religious man. we know that this moment is significant because this is his first time as commander-in-chief standing for this solemn movement. really that has happened on his watch. and we know that that moment, that feeling of anguish as we watched the video and you could hear in the silence is something that has perpetuated over the last few days since thursday when we first heard of that suicide blast that left 13 u.s. service members dead. it has really permeated the air at the white house and it is one of the reasons why president biden is really sticking closely to the august 3 19 deadline because he does not want to see more u.s. service members return to this country in these transfer cases. this was a significant day and a very sad day for the president and for the country really. michael? >> all right. our thanks there to jasmine
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wright, also in hong kong. thanks so much. still to come on the program we'll speak to an extreme storm chaser about the devastation he has witnessed so far from hurricane ida. you are watching cnn newsroom. we'll be right back. i brought in ensure max protein, with thirty grams of protein. those who tried me felt more energy in just two weeks! [sighs wearily] here, i'll take that! woo-hoo! ensure max protein. with thirty grams of protein, one gram of sugar, and now with two new flavors! the tempur-pedic breeze makes sleep feel cool.
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well, the power is out and the water rising in much of southern louisiana as hurricane ida churns deeper into the state. this time as a category 2 storm. it slammed ashore sunday as a
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cat 4 and is proving to be every bit as devastating as first feared. the first storm related death has been reported. this was near baton rouge amid hurricane force winds, heavy rain, and flash flooding. nearly a million customers are without power at the moment. and people in jefferson parish say water in their homes is coming up to their chests. here is what the sheriff of the parish told cnn. >> we're still getting a lot of wind gusts and still are not able to be able to respond to any calls for service. even if we had, would want to, every road is impassable. during the brief reprieve of the eye i was able to travel a couple miles. i had to zigzag through downed power lines and trees and debris and roofs and at night with the parish completely dark there was no way we could get on the highway and safely respond. >> just south of new orleans the
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situation in jefferson parish is apparently deteriorating rapidly. the parish president spoke to cnn's pamela brown earlier and gave a pretty disturbing update about the rising waters there. >> right now my concern is we've lost contact with grand isle. that is the island right on the gulf of mexico that i've been very, very concerned about. we lost contact with them. we've not been able to reach them. i don't know what they're going through. and then closer up here, still outside the hurricane protection system, an area called lafitte and lower lafitte, the water is rising. people are in their homes and we're getting reports of people with water up to their chest, asking to be rescued. very dark situation and we just can't get out yet. >> that is dire. what else are you hearing from people calling in? that is horrific. >> it is horrific. we're almost, the electrical grid is almost out.
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we are probably at #95% out of electricity. we were a very large transmission tower came down. that fed a lot of our community. so we're getting reports of roof damage, trees down, tree roots pulling up, damaging water mains so now our water pressure is going down. so, you know, we are also responding to an assisted, actually a condominium where there are elderly people living there and ther roof partially collapsed and we're trying to get them out to a church across the street. it is very, very busy here and we just can't respond yet. >> so what are you doing in these cases? when you get a call like that with these senior citizens or the person who has water up to their chest, what can you do? >> well, people just -- i got a text from a friend of mine and she said a tree fell on her neighbor's house. she wants the neighbors to come
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to her house but she said she can't walk outside right now. so the winds are so heavy, so high right now. we just can't get out. we were able to get one of the fire chiefs over to the assisted living center to see what it is like. it's not a dire situation. but they do have water in the building on the first floor. there is some type of collapse, having water intrusion. so the real situation i think is very dire. the water that is rising in the areas of lower lafitte. >> now, fears grow for the many afghan allies that will likely be left behind when the u.s. completes its withdrawal this week. i'll speak with a retired colonel about that after the break.
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now a quick update on some breaking news. we're getting reports of unidentified explosions that have happened in kabul, afghanistan. we don't know yet what might have caused the blast but cnn is working to get more information. now all of this comes just two days out from the deadline for the u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan. no more boots on the ground. and there is an urgent push of course to get as many people evacuated as possible before that deadline hits. on sunday the white house said nearly 3,000 people were flown out of kabul during a 12-hour period but there are concerns u.s. citizens as well as afghan allies will be left behind as criticism persists over how the withdrawal has been handled.
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>> joebld biden put our forces risk by having no plan to evacuate. we are at risk because the president has been so unbelievably weak. abandoning bagram base will be read in military books for decades as one of the stupidest mistakes ever. >> a retired colonel and former aid to general david petraeus joins me now from columbus, ohio. we saw another counterterrorist strike on sunday. but how much more difficult will that sort of counterterror operation be with no boots on the ground after this coming week? >> i would say darned near, i wouldn't say impossible but you have to launch from far away bases, refueled multiple times to get over afghan air space. you have to clear the air space through pakistan to get there.
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so this is going to be a really hard lift. i think those strikes will be reserved for only the highest value of targets. probably isis-k targets but we'll see going forward. >> as we said in the intro, you are a key figure in iraq during the surge. i was there during that period, too. i wanted your thoughts on the reality of thousands, tens of thousands perhaps of afghan war time allies, translators and so on, who will not be evacuated. they'll be at the mercy of the taliban who are not known for mercy. what are your thoughts on so many not getting out given what they did for the u.s.? >> it is really heart breaking. you harken back to the end of the vietnam war where we were able to get some of our people out but a lot didn't get out and ended up in re-education camps and some were killed. hopefully things will be better here. taliban is making good noises
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but you have to worry for them. a number of them will not be treated well. i think it is inevitable some of them will be killed for their role in the war. >> we are leaving those people behind going back to intel capabilities, will it impact the u.s. ability to recruit human intelligence sources on the ground who are so vital? will there be a trust deficit going forward? >> a trust deficit for sure as there was after vietnam. in the long run the united states will recover but central asia will become somewhat of a black hole for us. we lack bases now in afghanistan, the neighboring countries are not exactly allies. you're looking at pakistan and iran and tajikistan. so this is going to be a really hard issue going forward how to conduct counterterror operations in that region. we may lose visibility on what isis-k is actually up to and might have to rely on the
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taliban to battle them. >> and al qaeda for that matter. as things stand right now, in that io you have the taliban, al qaeda, the haqqani network war lords, tribal and ethnic rivalries. what might afghanistan look like in i say two years potentially? >> it is a real danger stew. for the regional powers there, congratulations. you forced the united states out of the region. but be careful what you wish for because now you've inherited a region that has a failing state right in the center of it and there could be refugee flows, could be terrorist attacks emanating from afghanistan although i think the taliban will probably try to tamp those down. it is going to be a very unsettled area of the world for squiet sometime to come. >> thank you so much.
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really appreciate your expertise on this. >> my pleasure. and back to the breaking news out of kabul where a u.s. official is telling cnn those explosions were actually as many as five rockets fired at the airport. you have the reporting, alex. what have you heard? >> good evening, michael. that's right. a u.s. official is telling cnn that just recently as many as five rockets were fired at hamid karzai international airport. >> we seem to have lost alex there. details are scarce but reporting is as many as five of these rockets were fired at the hamid karzai airport in kabul, kabul international airport. and were engaged by u.s. defense systems there at the airport.
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still very light on the details as they say. a fluid situation. we'll bring you more details as we get them. all right. quick break when we come back hurricane ida may be losing steam. the damage though far from over. more on the storm's movement and what is in store when we come back. aare packed with air but not planters nuts. our dry roasted peanuts have an incredible ratio of size to substance a delicious, salty, crunchy ratio. planters. a nut above. ♪ ♪ life can be a lot to handle. ♪this magic moment,♪ but there's plenty of magic in all that chaos. ♪so different and so new.♪ ♪was like any other...♪
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oh no... i thought i just ordered tacos. nope!... ramen... burgers... milk from the store, and... ...cookies? wha, me hungry! here, i'll call some friends to help us eat. yeah, that good idea. get more from your neighborhood. hey yo, grover! doordash. hurricane ida thankfully is weakening. now a category 2 storm. but the first death from the storm has been reported the result of a fallen tree on a home in louisiana. the entire city of new orleans is in darkness. imagine that. the entire city. a flash flood emergency has been
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declared for the south shore area of the city. nearly a million customers in louisiana or mississippi now without power. along with the high winds are the torrential rains and pounding surf in coastal areas. ida has forced the shutdown of more than 95% of the gulf of mexico's oil production as well. i want to bring in the mayor of jean lafitte, louisiana near the coast. just harrowing stories coming from where you are. what is the town and surrounding area experiencing? >> i'm so sorry. i had an emergency alert happening on the phone when you were asking the question >> i was saying there have been harrowing stories coming from where you are. what has been the situation in the town and surrounding areas right now? >> yes. the effects on the water and
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wind have been totally devastating. it's been catastrophic to the people of jean lafitte, crown point, all of southeast louisiana. we have a bunch of people trapped it would be life-threatening for the person operating the boat at this time. we try to do high water trucks. we can't get through the water. we had -- our main bridge going to a big portion of our community of 1,500 people, most of them evacuated. we have about 300 people, 200 people still there. took out that bridge. we can't get to them by vehicle. >> the whole bridge was taken out? >> the whole bridge was taken out. our levees were topped -- surge levees were topped. that was within -- they had the
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school system, the government buggs and hundreds of homes. this never happened before. all the outside areas were just hit so hard. >> has there ever been a storm there that has overtopped a levee? >> yeah, it overtopped the levee. it overtopped all the levees. but this one's our highest one. we've suffered flooding before. we suffered storms before. but i've never seen water like this in my life. it just hit us in the worst way possible and it was such a massive storm that it just totally devastated us. >> and these reports of people on their roofs, you're hearing them? >> yes. no, we have -- everybody is -- we have numbers out there that people are contacting. we have people directly messaging me. we're collecting a data base right now. we keep trying to find ways, the
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ones close to us. we have two boats trying right now to get through it. through neighborhoods. trying to slip it over. and we are collecting as many boats as possible and have.them on standby. as soon as this weather breaks we're sending them out and we're going to make sure we get as many boats as possible. >> are you worried about what tomorrow will bring when the sun comes up? >> you know, one thing and the possible positive thing today is that the water seemed to stop and there's no indication it's going to go up anymore. it will drop. so you know, at first when we started getting calls of people in their at sxikz that water was still pumping up, you know, that really breaks your heart when you know there's people and you can't get to those people. but then you think luckily, 30
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minutes later right after i heard a bunch of those people having to do that water had stopped and i talked to agencies throughout the state, cpra and other experts and they all had indications that without a doubt it's going to start to drop now. >> just terrifying. just terrifying. an entire bridge taken out by i think it was a runway ship. we've goot to leave it there. mayor tim kerner. i really appreciate your time there in jean laffite. we'll stay in touch. >> all right. thank you. >> incredible stories there. and there will be many more of those in the hours ahead. now, tracking the dangerous hurricane for us, meteorologist pedram javaheri. what a day it's been. >> my goodness. going on 11 hours, michael, since the landfall of this storm system and still at this hour on satellite imagery all quadrants of this storm as impressive as it gets, as organized and as symmetrical as it gets.
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really impressive for any storm even once it moves out of the ocean and makes landfall within that initial hour. but for 11-plus hours this is as incredible as a storm gets here with the organization moving just about 40 or so miles east of baton rouge in the past hour. we know wind gusts between 70 to 90 miles per hour are already being felt inland between 30 and 40 miles away from the center of the storm. near center winds 105 miles per hour. that is six miles per hour shy of a major hurricane. again, more than 11 hours over land here. and you'll notice the organization, i wouldn't be surprised, michael, that this storm system maintains hurricane intensity into the early morning hours, maybe until say, 2:00, 3:00 in the morning. an incredible storm system still causing plenty of damage en route. >> absolutely extraordinary. pedram, thanks so much for your work there keeping us updated. appreciate that. going back to this breaking news out of kabul where we've heard about rockets being fired at the airport, cnn's alex marquardt has the reporting. we got him back on the line now. what do you know, alex?
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>> reporter: good to be back with you, michael. what appears to be happening is things getting more dangerous in kabul in these final hours of the u.s. drawdown. that deadline of course is on tuesday august 31st. what we know is that as many as five rockets have been fired in the last few hours at hamid karzai international airport. that would be monday local time in kabul. and just before midnight here on the east coast of the united states. that's according to a u.s. official. now, the u.s. official also says that what's known as the c-ram defense system which has been installed at the airport engaged with those rockets. now, what that system is designed to do is essentially to shoot down incoming rocket artillery or mortar fire. that's what the ram in fact stands for. so that engaged with those rockets, presumably taking them out, because this same source is telling us there are no reports of casualties at this time. the source, michael, did not say who they believe to be behind
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these rockets being fired at the airport. but of course all eyes are going to be on the terrorist group isis-k. they're the ones who carried out that horrific attack on thursday at the abbey gate of the airport that left scores of afghans dead as well as 13 american service plebz. a members. and since then we have seen two retaliatory attacks, air strikes by american drones against isis-k both in nangahar province just to the southeast of kabul as well as in kabul itself today. that strike today hit a vehicle that cent com, central command, says belongs to isis-k and was carrying explosives. now, cnn has also reported via a journalist on the ground that at least nine civilians were also killed in that strike by the american drone. now, centcom says it is looking into those reports of civilian
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casualties and said that perhaps it was because of all the explosives in the vehicle that that civilian death toll rose so quickly. michael, these are going to be, u.s. officials say, the most dangerous hours of this evacuation, of this drawdown. u.s. officials all the way up to president biden have said that they do expect attacks by isis-k in these final days, even if this was a successful drone strike against the group today, by nothing means do u.s. officials believe that the threat from the group has been eliminated and if they are indeed behind these five rockets tonight that would just go to show that they are still a very prominent force in kabul in these final hours before the u.s. fully pulls out, michael. >> yeah. exactly. if they want to attack americans, they have a limited time frame. alex marquardt, appreciate the reporting. thanks so much. >> thank you. >> and thanks for spending part of your day with me. i'm michael holmes.
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