Return to Transcripts main page


Monster Hurricane Packing Winds of 140 MPH Nearing Florida; Donald Trump Holding Town Hall in NH; Reuters: Hurricane Death Toll Climbs To 283 In Haiti. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 6, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:08] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

Millions of people right now are in the path of potentially life- threatening storm. It is just that simple. This is what Hurricane Matthew has been doing to the Caribbean and as it takes aim on eastern Florida.

Governor Rick Scott saying -- and these are his exact words -- "this storm will kill you and it's a monster."

The governor telling Wolf Blitzer that if you have not followed evacuation orders and are trying to ride this out, it is going to be -- again his words -- quote, "very hard to save your life if and when the going gets rough."

A county sheriff in one of the danger zones laying it out in no uncertain terms.


SHERIFF WILLIAM SNYDER, MARTIN COUNTY, FLORIDA: I talked to my detective captain earlier today. And I asked, do you have body bags? Are you prepared for mass casualties? Because if people do not leave and we have 140-mile-an-hour wind gusts in some of our mobile home places, we are going to have fatalities.


COOPER: Matthew right now is a category four storm, capable of causing, as the National Hurricane Center defines it, catastrophic damage. The storm has already taken at least 264 lives in Haiti which had bore the brunt of the damage from the storm.

And just look at the areas now in harm's way. This could get very bad, very quickly throughout the night tonight and into the coming days. We're talking about power outages. Tens of thousands already from the Miami area on up the coast.

We've got correspondents and meteorologists across the entire danger zone. We'll be reaching out to them as well as local officials, airborne hurricane trackers and others throughout the next two hours tonight.

Let's begin by going straight to one of the areas Florida's governor says he is worried about as the storm approaches. We're talking about the Palm Beach County area.

Our Nick Valencia joins us from West Palm Beach.

Winds look like they are starting to pick up where you are. What are the conditions like?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is an eerie feeling here in West Palm Beach. About an hour ago, that rain and that wind, Anderson, really started to whip up here. But the weather has been ebbing and flowing all night long. The problem currently right now, according to the mayor, is down trees, things like this. Debris ripped off palm trees, smaller pieces of debris that has the potential to really create devastation.

As the winds pick up, 60, 70 miles per hour wind as we expect later tonight. It was about 1:00 p.m., Anderson, that we initially got an alert here that the hurricane was fast approaching. The weather did take a brief turn for the worst and then it got better, about an hour ago, like I said, we we're really getting whipped hard by the rain.

The wind has sort of settled down sustaining about 35 miles per hour. This is something the community here in West Palm Beach has been bracing for all week. Some people though are more prepared than others -- Anderson.

COOPER: The governor has been warning residents to evacuate. I know you met several residents who decided to ride out.

VALENCIA: It is an unfortunate circumstance and unfortunate reality of the situation like this. You always have people who want to brave the elements. Whether they are testing their curiosity or testing how courageous they are, and that's the problem here.

The governor did not mince words. He was very direct in his dire warning, saying "if and when we're able to get to you", that may not happen. Earlier, I just speak to some of those residents here locally in West Palm Beach, they said they went through a hurricane ten years ago, Hurricane Wilma, and said they are not expecting this to be as bad.

That is the issue though for first responders. It really puts them in a precarious position. You are not only putting your life in danger but also the lives of those first responders -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. You can't force people to live.

Nick Valencia, thanks very much.

Meteorologist Jennifer Gray, she's in Melbourne, Florida, tonight.

What it's feeling like right now, Jennifer?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Anderson, we've had a similar situation. We'll have the very gusty rains, the rain, and then it will ease up and it will come back. The brunt of this hasn't come on shore yet. We're still getting the outer rain bands. And once it does, then conditions will deteriorate rapidly. We're talking about 140-mile-per-hour- winds just on shore here right around Melbourne.

So, we are going to see catastrophic damage, all up and down the East Coast. And just to pick up where Nick left off, talking about, comparing this to other storms, that has been a huge fear with a lot of other emergency personnel, because people will say, oh, I rode out Andrew, I rode out Wilma, I rode out Katrina.

Every storm has a different personality. Every storm is different. This one could potentially be catastrophic for not just one particular part of Florida but all up and down the east coast and even into north Florida, Anderson.

COOPER: Do we -- do you have a sense of the time when it's supposed to kind of really start to hit hard? And also, let's talk about the storm surge, because it is not just the wind and rained that people have to watch for?

GRAY: I imagine the conditions where I am will really start to deteriorate around midnight to 1:00 and then hit even harder, the brunt of the storm possibly between 5:00 a.m. hour and the 8:00 a.m. hour.

The storm surge as you mentioned a huge concern. Look at this barrier island out there. That is Melbourne Beach. You can see some people still have power. We've seen some flashes which indicate we think people are starting to lose power out there.

[20:05:03] But the water could get 7 to 11 feet high. That is the storm surge alone. On top of that, you are talking about 20, 25 foot waves. They are urging everyone to get off the barrier island but there is no way to really know how many people are left out there until emergency calls start coming in during the height of the storm and by then it's going to be too late.

COOPER: All right. Jennifer, it's going to be a long night for you. Thank you.

CNN meteorologist Tom Sater is tracking the storm following a late bulletin. He's in the Weather Center. He joins us.

So, the National Weather Center, Tom, they just released a new weather at the top of the hour. What's the latest we learned?

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, believe it or not, it's lost a little bit of its strength and sustained winds. The pressure hasn't changed, but what does that mean really? Within 70 miles of the coastline, we believe this is going through what you call an eye wall replacement cycle. I'll explain it when I show the radar and we'll get back to the track in just a moment, which hasn't changed a whole lot, even though we have one of the models giving us a 6:00 a.m. landfall near Cape Canaveral. Take a look at the radar, an eye wall replacement cycle means this --

typically, if it loses a little energy you think it is interacting with land. Like it is here near Freeport in the Bahamas, getting it hard. The smaller eye wall, Anderson, cannot sustain this kind of strength, like spinning a top on a table. It can only handle that so long before it wobbles.

Now, what we're finding the eye wall, stronger winds are being forced outward, creating a secondary band. That is the replacement cycle. Once that happens, it slowly comes back to a core.

It typically takes 10-12 hours for this to occur to strengthen again. Unfortunately, that is exactly what we have, 10-12 hours for this replacement cycle to go through a re-strengthening right before it gets very close to a Florida land fall, if a land fall does take place.

COOPER: So, let's take a look at the next 12, 24 hours. I mean, I understand, it is going to impact Georgia and South Carolina as well.

SATER: Absolutely. Now, if it makes land fall you are talking about the six, eight hours in a confined area where you have devastation. Unfortunately, because this stays off shore, this becomes a category four hurricane as it still is for 24 to 36 hours to produce this damage. If it stays offshore and those wraparound winds continue to force the surge north of the eye, then it's followed up by the strongest winds, trees and power lines are only going to take so much, the roads are going to buckle and they're going to get washed out.

But the curvature of the coast from areas around Savannah northward, South Carolina, North Carolina, this is where 40-foot waves possible will slam in. This is where you're going to have a possible outbreak where maybe tornados will occur as well.

COOPER: I saw some saying this storm might actually come back hit Florida a second time. Is that true?

SATER: Yes, it usually takes a while for these models to get in some agreement. Let me show you 18 models. This is typically what you would see. And some of the models do put it on shore as the land fall. Some carry it just off the shore.

But again, this is typically what we see. Come 70 hours, 14 of the 18 circle it back around. Now, what we haven't talked about much because it is not a big thing. It is a fish storm. Nicole is a hurricane a thousand miles in the coast. The models went to bring Nicole and merge it back with Matthew possibly bringing back around for a second land fall and then who knows what in the gulf of Mexico.

Couple of models do continue it off shore. That would, of course, be the best scenario. If you are evacuating, which everybody should have, this is going to keep away from their homes, away from the communities, for a much longer period of time.

COOPER: All right. Tom Sater, appreciate the update.

Joining me now is the mayor of West Palm Beach of Florida, Jeri Muoio.

Mayor, thank you so much for being with us.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said your area of Palm Beach is his biggest concern. We just heard about the latest update from the Weather Service. What are you expecting in your town and are you ready?

MAYOR JERI MUOIO, WEST PALM BEACH, FL: Well, we are expecting a lot of wind this evening, hurricane force winds. We know we're going to be dealing with that and we're ready. We have our emergency operation center activated. We have crews out on and they will be out until they have to come in when the wind gets too high. And we have been out all day making sure that we have our city ready for this.

COOPER: Authorities have been warning of a potential life-threatening storm surge in the overnight hours in your area. I guess in the overnight hours, what are you biggest concern?

MUOIO: Absolutely. Well, you know, we have an area in our city that was mandatory evacuation. Some people evacuated. Some people stayed in.

We are concerned about the people who stayed in the evacuation area. I want to make sure that they are safe. If the wind is very high, we won't be able to send out rescue crews.

[20:10:00] So, we might not able to get to them as quickly as we would want to otherwise. So, we're just hoping that everybody is safe if you're in a mandatory evacuation area. Right now, you have to shelter in place. Find a safe room. Be careful using candles. Just be careful and be smart.

COOPER: So, at this point, if someone has not heeded that mandatory evacuation in Palm Beach County area, particular on the coast, the other flood-prone areas, you are saying shelter in place. Don't try to go somewhere else, or there's no shelter that they should go to.

MUOIO: Right, we're saying shelter in place. Most of the shelters are filled. And right now, this storm is starting to get bad enough that if it makes traveling treacherous.

COOPER: All right. Mayor Muoio, wish you the best. Thank you very much and appreciate you taking the time to speak with us. Thank you very much.

It's going to be a long night for a lot of first responders and personnel. We'll check in after the break with one of the airborne storm trackers now inside the hurricane, as well as more correspondents on the ground as Matthew approaches.

Later, we'll get to presidential politics. Donald Trump holding a town hall as we speak, kind of a dry run for his debate on Sunday with Hillary Clinton. The latest on that when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: The most powerful storm to hit Florida in a decade. That is what Hurricane Matthew could become overnight depending on whether it comes ashore.

[20:15:03] Now, as of now, it's over the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island.

Federal states of emergency are now in effect in Florida and South Carolina, 1.5 million Floridians ordered to leave home. Florida space coast directly in harm's way. And some of the worst weather is in the air, and so a government aircraft gathering data on the storm.

Joining us now from one of them is Jack Parrish, an NOAA flight director.

Jack, I understand you've been flying the storm since 2:00 p.m. today, six hours of flying through the middle of a hurricane. How does this Matthew compare to other hurricanes you have been in?

JACK PARRISH, FLIGHT DIRECTOR, NOAA (via telephone): Anderson, this one is quite unique. We've been through the center four times. This as double eye or a concentric eye hurricane, which means it is like going through two different eye walls each time you go into it. A very profound, good, storm, cat four storm. And getting ready to go on the fifth time.

COOPER: What have you been able to learn about Matthew?

PARRISH: Well, we said, the NOAA aircraft has measured a very steady state hurricane. It is not getting stronger, it's not getting weaker. It is just moving along steadily on the forecast track by the National Hurricane Center.

COOPER: And once you get the data what does NOAA do with it?

PARRISH: Anderson, NOAA immediately sends it out to all the different media and emergency manager people and they have able to give people prudent advice as far as when to evacuate, people just need to keep paying attention to the advisories from hurricane center, from the weather service and emergency managers.

COOPER: And I know you've been out there for a while, you are about to wrap up this mission lander on 10:00. When does the plane go back into the storm?

PARRISH: Anderson, we have a night crew that is coming on. They will be launching this aircraft at 2:00 in the morning. They'll be doing similar things to what we're doing and then we'll pick it up again tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m.

COOPER: Jack, I appreciate you being up there and all the folks you are flying with. Thank you very much.

CNN's Sara Sidner is in Daytona Beach. She joins us now.

What's the latest there, Sara? SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've been talking to the police chief all day really and he's told us, look, he knows the storm is getting close. He knows there are people who have still decided to stay. And he's said the same thing that the governor said.

He said, look, our people are not going to be able to save you. If you stay you are going to have to take care of yourself because they are not going to put your own officers and rescue teams in harm's way. They are ready, though, every single person in the apartment is on duty and ready after the major part of the storm hit, so that they can go out and try to help whoever is left.

We know people who are staying. We've talked to them. They are not doing it out of bravado, though, Anderson. A few of them are doing it basically out of fear. Everything they own and love is in the homes that they have. Everything they own are in the businesses they have. And they do not want to leave them. They feel better staying with their businesses and their homes.

All of the authorities are saying, look. That is a mistake. Your life is so much more important. And we are now seeing some of the bands of rain and lot of wind here on Daytona Beach. And we know that it is just going to get worse and worse and worse -- Anderson.

COOPER: The people who you have met who are staying. Are they at least boarding up? Are they at least sandbagging or anything?

SIDNER: Yes, it's a great question. Yes. They are boarding up. They are trying to be prepared. We've gone into a lot of different stores. A lot of things are sold out, things like water, things like gas canisters. People concerned there is not going to be gas once this storm comes in. a lot of gas stations have actually close down now.

Most things are closed. There is one place we know staying open. He's boarded up. He's done this before. And I kept saying. This has never happened before. This kind of storm hasn't hit this part of the coast ever. This big of a storm.

And so, he realizes that. But he's saying, look, I am still saying. I stay for every hurricane and this is my life and I've been here 25 years and I'm just not going to leave. I will stay with it no matter what -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Sara, be careful out there. Thank you.

Just ahead, much more ahead on Hurricane Matthew. The storm now threatening millions along the southeastern coast of the United States. We're going to check in with more of our reporters on the ground, across the danger zone tonight.

Plus, Donald Trump holding a town hall in New Hampshire, which may seem like a dry run for Sunday's debate. Trump says it is not. We'll get the latest from CNN's Sara Murray who's there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:23:21] COOPER: Well, as a monster hurricane takes aim at Florida, Donald Trump's Palm Beach resort Mar-A-Lago is certainly in the danger zone. Trump is holding a town hall right now in New Hampshire. It's being seen as the dry run for the second presidential debate on Sunday, though Trump says it is not. It is still going on. Take a look.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- it's where I really couldn't believe it. But I said if I win and I become president -- first get the nomination. That happened -- become president, I promise the people of New Hampshire that we are going to stop this crap from coming into your state, 100 percent, 100 percent.

COOPER: New Hampshire is, of course, a swing state and tonight a new Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll shows Hillary Clinton and Trump locked in a statistical dead heat in the Granite State, 44 percent to 42 percent. Clinton's two-point lead is well within the margin of error.

Sara Murray joins us now from the event off camera in Sandown, where Trump is holding the town hall.

So, the event is still going on. We're showing it live. What's Trump said so far? And how has he been in this more sort of town hall format?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Anderson, it is a very small room, as you can see. And that is why I'm still sitting down for this. But he's also getting some friendlier questions. You know, the people in this audience have been hand selected and Donald keeps insisting he's not doing debate prep.

And one thing is certain, the questions he's getting are certainly probably friendlier than what he's going to get when he's on the debate stage and the first was whether he actually held back again Hillary Clinton when the two were on stage together. Take a listen to what me said.


TRUMP: Yes, I did hold back. I thought it was just inappropriate to say what I was really thinking I would say. And I held back, I think for -- I think for good reason.

[20:25:02] I think for good reason. I'd much rather have it be on policy. And I didn't like getting into -- into the gutter.

But I had a problem with the mic. We had a guy inside the room oscillating my mic. It wasn't that the mic didn't work.

You know, it was interesting. I went there a little bit before. And I said, boy, the mic is so great. Unfortunately, when I went to talk, they turned the mic up and down. And you saw it. Everybody in the room saw it. So, we had a real problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: It's interesting, Sara. I mean, one of the things Trump's supporters will always say is that he's very personable and in a setting like this where he is -- you know, he often feeds off the crowd. Are you seeing that tonight?

MURRAY: Well, he is certainly feeding off the crowd and they are cheering for him. They are clearly Trump supporters. But he doesn't have as much one-on-one interaction with people him asking the questions. Now people in the room are star starting to questions but for the most part these are questions that have been submitted ahead of time. They've been written on a note card. And it's Howie Carr, a conservative radio host, who's putting them to Trump.

So, he doesn't have the same one-on-one interaction that we might potentially be seeing from him when he does get on that debate stage on Sunday -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Sara Murray -- Sara, thanks very much.

A lot to discuss with the panel. Joining me is CNN political commentators Angela Rye and Paul Begala. She's the former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus. He's an adviser for a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC.

Also with us, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, "USA Today" columnist and political analyst Kirsten Powers, CNN political commentator and Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord. And Matt Schlapp, a Trump supporter and former political director for President George W. Bush.

Gloria, I mean, Trump is saying this isn't a dry run for Sunday night. It does seem to be at the very at least a coincidence that he's doing a town hall, you know, two days before the debate. Do you think it is going to help?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it is going to hurt him. There is a clock there. He's supposed to keep his answers to two minutes. He hasn't exactly been doing that.

He did go out of his way to say it is not debate prep and to point out that Hillary Clinton is resting. She's not preparing he said. She's actually just resting and I'm sure that is something we're going to be hearing over and over again.

And what he did this evening, he tried to connect I think with some of the people. They had them stand in the audience. Even though the moderator did ask the questions, he tried to kind of connect with the audience more than we've seen one on one.

But when they asked him questions, and they are friendly question, he seemed to kind of restate the problem rather than answering the question directly. And this is a problem he has, because he kind of wanders. It's stream of consciousness and they are not fully formed answers in two minute bites to questions. And I think that could really be an issue for him.

COOPER: Paul, I'm wondering -- have you been watching this? And do you think he's taking this next debate, the prep, in a different way?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I'm taking him more seriously, it's a smart thing to do these kind of warm ups. But perfect practice makes perfect. Not just practice.

In other words, OK, tomorrow night, the San Francisco Giants play the Chicago Cubs in the baseball playoffs. The Cubs have a relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman. He throws the ball 105 miles an hour. It's the fastest anybody has ever thrown in baseball.

If you are going to prepare to go against him, you better get the ball coming in fast. Instead, they prepare with tee ball.

The most important thing in the town hall, Donald, I hate to give you a free advice, I'll charge you for this later, is you've got to connect with the audience. You have to walk over there and say, Gloria, tell me more about that. Did you lose your job or a friend of yours --

COOPER: You know, the engagement, the human interaction with other carbon based life forms, that's what Trump needs practice --


BORGER: But they have the moderator asking the question, which is a bit of a problem.

COOPER: Jeffrey, do you see this as helpful? Or do you see this as not helpful enough?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I do see it helpful on a couple of levels. One his comfort level in doing this because you never know who the moderator of the next debate is or what they will say, but I think it's also in a sense it's designed to perhaps draw a contrast because he says various things about other debates he's been in. If he's going to wind up saying things about the next debate, he can say, well, you know, when I was in New Hampshire it worked such and such a way. So I think in that fashion it helps him.

COOPER: It looks like he's wrapping it up already.

Matt, do you expect it is going to be different for Donald Trump. Donald Trump said he didn't take the bait from Hillary Clinton in the last debate. A lot of people who watched the debate thought he absolutely took the bait.



CUOMO: But do you think it is going to be difficult for him this time around? Do you think she's going try the exact same strategy?


COOPER: You think she is? SCHLAPP: Yes, I think so. Why not? You know, keep talking about Donald Trump versus an American. That is what she turns to and I really think it is smart for her to do because if we're talking about the economy and Islamic terrorism and how broken Washington is and how the American people wanted to have change, this is the problem she's in. Not of her own doing, the country believes the country is on the wrong track.

And that's where voters are. This has been ten years of large majority saying the country is on the wrong track. In the minds of most voters, she represents Washington, D.C., Trump for all the good and all the bad, represents change to people. It's actually an easier case for him to make. He doesn't have to have the perfect two minute answers and everything else because they just want him to disrupt and change things.

COOPER: So Kirsten it does Hillary Clinton continue to try to prosecute a case against Donald Trump?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, I kind of just disagree a little bit. It's true on the right track -- wrong track numbers but that doesn't necessarily mean that people are unhappy with what President Obama is doing.

SCHLAPP: I agree.

POWERS: He's at highest approval rating 55 percent. She's actually saying, she's going to continue what President Obama is doing and he's very a populist. So she actually has a very good substantive case to make. And the problem is the little bit of while I watch tonight is he's doing the same thing he always does. Does he kind of meanders and he doesn't get really into substance and doesn't really answer the question.

And I think when somebody is asking the question, it's one thing frankly to be -- to be sort of dismissive to a moderator. It's another thing to be dismissive to a voter who may be standing or telling you very personal story.

LORD: One other thing. Every time we have a presidential election. The American people are among other things deciding on somebody's style and one person's style is always different than another. So what's really going on here is people are saying is this the style that I want to see for the next four years?

COOPER: Angela, what are you expecting from Clinton on Sunday?

ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: So, a couple things, one, is I do think she'll very much go down the same path. I am hoping that she will be able to connect with the audience the same way that she did at the first debate. I thought she was phenomenon at it better than she is most time.

The one thing I do want to just add to, Kirsten you mentioned, that she wants to continue what President Obama's done. She actually continues to say that she wants to build upon what he's done and I think that's an important distinction. The other thing is if Donald Trump really represents change why is his message so hopeless? I think that's going to be a real struggle for him as well on Sunday, because folks want to hear something is going to get better, he's having a hard time listening.

SCHLAPP: Let me start answering that. First on the Obama numbers. This is the big problem for Hillary Clinton which is Obama has been over 50 for a long period of time. And it doesn't get transferred to her. Whether it's fair or not fair it just doesn't. And the thing is this when you had, this higher percentage of the American people saying the country is on the wrong track, they want you do connect ...

RYE: Thank you Congress.

SCHLAPP: ... it's all of it.

RYE: Yeah.

SCHLAPP: I'm not blaming Obama for it. It's a lot of things. But, you -- they want you to connect with the fact they have these fears and concerns. His tone in many ways matches. They want him to understand how serious it is. And I think that's why he's connecting.

COOPER: Well Matt makes a good point though, which is -- I mean it is a -- it is rare for, you know, if you look at past elections for a Democrat after having two terms of a Democratic president to get elected.

BEGALA: It hadn't happened in our lifetime.

RYE: Right.

BEGALA: It was of course Roosevelt to Truman was the last time a Democratic won three in a row. And that's a terrific head win that she faces. I think Angela is got a good point. And Kirsten does about the president's popularity. I've been vexed about this all year, you know Anderson I talk you about. When the president's approval is high usually the country is moving in the right direction. Those two lines usually track. And they have divert so radically now. And I don't have real answer, by some theories. One theory is and you hear this a lot, if you got to focus groups talk to people, a lot progressives think we're on the wrong track, because of the rise of Donald Trump.

And so there could be a good 10 or 20 points of the 65 who think we're on the wrong track which is terrible for the Democrats. I think there's a big chunk of them who are actually progressives who say, yeah it's because of Trump we're on the wrong track, I'm scared on this guy ...


BORGER: Yeah, I totally agree with you, because I think you have a lot of liberals in that number. But -- on the town hall thing tonight? One this that interested me was at one point Donald Trump was asked a question by a woman who had graduated college, magna cum laude and said I can't find it, you know, I can't find a job. And she didn't speak to him directly. Her question was read although she stood. And his answer to that was -- wasn't this is what I'm going to do to help you get a job. It was I want to see the day when we can have those jobs back.

It wasn't here is -- here is how I'm going to personally help you or tell me more about what you're interested in or what would you -- you know, it was just sort of the standard stump speech reduced to a chunky 2 minute ...

COOPER: That was something Bill Clinton use to do very, very well, which was always like. It wasn't necessarily -- I forgot what question he and Bush were asked. But ...


COOPER: ... how national debt effects you and I think he didn't even answer it. He said just said to the person well tell me about yourself. How do you feel it effects you.

LORD: I think in fairness to Paul and to President Clinton, President Clinton made such a mark with that, then it's unfair in sense to think that every successive candidate is going to have that ability. I mean Donald Trump is not Bill Clinton.

RYE: At all.

LORD: And so he's going to ...


LORD: ... and neither is Hillary Clinton for that matter ...

BORGER: And neither Barack Obama.

[20:35:04] LORD: And so he's going to answer these in a fashion that suits him and his style.

COOPER: Right, I want to thank everybody. A quick programming note. Our special coverage of the second presidential debate from St. Louis kicks off Sunday at 4:00 eastern time. I'll moderate the debate along with ABC's Martha Raddatz.

Up next, the latest on Hurricane Matthew, a powerful storm closing in on the southeastern coast of the United States. Just speak with several Florida mayors, check back with our reporters all throughout the region.


COOPER: Well breaking news. Millions of people along the southeastern coast of the United States have been told to evacuate as Hurricane Matthew gets closer and closer. The high winds have started as the category 4 hurricane. The damage could be devastating.

Joining me now on the phone, is the city manager of Melbourne, Florida Mike McNees. Mike, thanks so much for being with us. I know that Melbourne especially is waiting to see the brunt of the storm. Have you begun to see any effects yet and winds start to pick up?

MIKE MCNEES, CITY MANAGER MELBOURNE FLORIDA: Barely. We're getting some outer squalls. Maybe a little gusts but so far nothing that looks like tropical storm force we're certainly expecting that within the next hour or so.

COOPER: What do you want residence at this point to know those who haven't evacuated? What are your biggest concerns for them?

[20:40:03] MCNEES: Well, I think at this point to the haze and the barn pretty much, its probably too late to do much except shelter in place as best you can. If people have, you know, some sort of emergency at this point in time they can give 911 a call. And if we can still serve we will, but the time for that window is getting very, very short. So, people are where they are and for the most part if they are still in place they will need to shelter and ride things out as best they can.

COOPER: From what I understand a local hospital in your area preemptively moving patients ahead of the storm. A lot of preventive measures being put in place ahead of this by officials. Like is the hospital going to remain open during the storm? Or do you know?

MCNEES: My understanding is that some of the barrier island facilities closed earlier. But I'm not aware of such things on the mainland. That would be a good question for the Brevard County EOC people. Here in Melbourne, we haven't any issue of the closure and I know there was a rumor to that affect about one of the mainland hospitals but I don't believe that was true.

COOPER: All right, we'll check on that. Mike McNees. Good luck to you tonight and to all the folks there. Appreciate it.

Just to underscore the danger of the storm it's already killed at least 283 people now in Haiti, according to Reuters, nearly 300 people in death toll has been rising all night, as for this -- this country it's unclear if Matthew will make land fall. But if it does as a category 4, officials are warning that the damage could be devastating. So what exactly does that mean? Tom Foreman joins us try to answer that, Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, as you know every hurricane is danger. Even the smaller ones the category one and category two. But let's give a sense of scale here, they produce sort of limited winds under 100 miles an hour. Limited flooding, not extraordinary catastrophic damage generally. You go up to category three and now you're talking about going over 100 miles an hour with winds. You start seeing big trees being toppled. Mobile homes being wiped out, smaller buildings pushed away and importantly that storm surge, 9 to 12 feet, something like that.

That's the reason people have to evacuate early because that starts cutting off roads and makes it impossible for help to get into anyone. Then when you get to where this storm is, where you're talking about a category 4 storm. Now look what's happening. You are seeing major damage to major buildings. Roofs peeling back, maybe doors and windows starting to give way.

In fact you have a storm surge that so pronounced here that anything that's within 500 yards of the beach is in real danger. And in fact even six miles in, if you have any structure under 10 feet above sea level, that has a real danger of being flooded as the storm surge pushes in. And then of course as you get up to a category five if it hits like that, now it's over 155 miles an hour, look your going to have absolute destruction.

By the winds alone, you actually have within 500 yards of the shore things may be completely wiped out. And then as the storm surge comes scouring in, not only you lose everything very close to the shore, but in fact you may have structures that are 10 miles or more inland that feel the combined effects of that. So that's a right -- right here Anderson, category 4, that's what we're talking about right now. And you can get a sense of the extensive damage that can follow this.

COOPER: And the graphic can tell, it was scary. Tom, thanks very much. Our coverage continues in a moment as Matthew gets closer to Florida. We'll take a live update from Jacksonville, I'll speak with the mayor there as well, next.


[20:47:25] COOPER: Well there are parts of Florida that are bracing for Hurricane Matthew, it simply do not have a whole lot experience with storms this big. Not for decades at least. One of those areas is Jacksonville. Our Rosa Flores is there, she joins us now. So what are the officials in Jacksonville worried about the most?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Anderson, storm surge. And I want to show you some of these dangers. So I want you to take a look around me. You see a bridge in the background you see a boat because there is a tributary just a few feet from me and there are homes now I'm going to hop into our roving vehicle because we have the capability to actually show you a 360 view of these neighborhoods.

But here is the worry, Jacksonville is literally split in half by the St. John's River. Now they are expecting the storm surge to be between 6 to 9 feet. Now, take a look around me, because these are all of the homes that are literally on tributaries that almost like finger out through the city. And that is the big worry that the surge is going to rise and that all of these homes and a lot of the people in these home, because authorities tell us a lot of people are not evacuating. And that is one of the big, big concerns, Anderson.

And as you kind of take a look around you see people will still with their lights on. And another big concern is that you still see boats out here that are not, you know, secured. You'll see patio furniture. You know, it really send out to me Anderson, because in covering other hurricanes another storm, you see people boardinghouse, leaving. You don't get that feeling and a lot of parts of Jacksonville.

COOPER: And what's interesting -- I mean a major hurricane hasn't impacted this area I understand for I think more than a hundred years. I know the mayor obviously ordered evacuations in the beach areas near in the afternoon. But if people have experienced major hurricanes like this in their lifetimes they're less likely to heed the warning.

FLORES: No, you're absolutely right. And from talking to some officials here, you know, they're very worried about people along in the beach area, because all of that area is expected to have a storm surge of up to 11 feet. And there are people who had decided to hunker down and not leave. Earlier today, the percentage of people evacuated in those areas was 30 percent.

Now, first responders are very worried about that, of course, because they are stationed and on the ready to respond for search and rescues. But at the height of the storm, you and I know that these first responders are not sent out, because they can't. They would be putting their lives in danger. Especially if some of those winds and some of that wind surge happens at night.

[20:50:12] These first responders or literally responding into a black hole and that makes it very, very dangerous.

COOPER: So, Rosa, that area you're driving through, I mean those homes, are they basically at the same level as the water?

FLORES: You know, a lot of them are. There's a slight slope, and that's what is keeping a lot of these people in their homes, because they've said in the past, their homes have not flooded. But they know that at least this woman that I talked to, you know, within the last hour, she said, a few houses down from my house, it has flooded in the past. And that is what officials are talking about. They say, even if you feel inland, you're not inland, because of those fingers that I was telling you about. That's how officials describe it. There are tributaries that run like fingers through these neighborhoods. They're expecting those fingers to swell, that water to rise, and, of course, put people in danger inside their homes.

COOPER: Yeah. All right, Rosa, be careful. Thanks for the reporting. Fascinating to see it from the advantage point.

Joining us now on the phone is the mayor of Jacksonville, Lenny Curry. Mayor, thank you so much for being with us. The weather service today saying they haven't seen anything like this in modern times. For those watching, particularly in your community, what's your message?

LENNY CURRY, MAYOR JACKSONVILLE: Well, Anderson, thanks for the opportunity to share what we're dealing with here over the next few days. I've been in Florida my entire life, I've not seen anything like this. This is a storm of the century.

We have here in Jacksonville, you know, we're the largest geographic city in the continental United States, the most populous city. Now we're facing the largest storm this state has faced in a very long time. We are prepared, as a city. We have been communicating with the people of Jacksonville for days now. I ordered in evacuation early yesterday of the beaches, cities, and other low-lying areas. Added an additional zone of evacuation have been today. And my biggest concern is people that decided not to evacuate. We are prepared to respond, but this is a storm unlike we've seen.

COOPER: Yeah, I mean, it hasn't been like this for more than a hundred years, I understand, for Jacksonville. Do you think the folks who didn't leave just didn't believe that it was going to be as bad as it seems like it may be? Or just since they haven't had the experience of going through something of this size, they thought they could just ride it out?

CURRY: Here's what I can tell you. Myself, my team, the governor of the state of Florida has been here with me numerous times. We've been monitoring this for all over the week. We've been communicating for days the seriousness of this. And what I said to the people of Jacksonville, is your city is ready, your police, your fire, your public works on the front end and we'll be there for you on the back end. But we need you to do your part.

So we've sent an incredibly strong message. I said to people today, as recently as a couple of hours ago, there's still time to evacuate if you're in an evacuation zone. And if you choose not to evacuate, you've made a really bad decision, a really, really bad decision. So if you stay, please let someone -- a family member or friend know, so when we get on the back end of this and we have to send in search and rescue, we know who decided to stay. My hope, my prayer, my continued messaging over the next hour plus will be for people, there still time to get out, even if you get inland, and went outside of the zone that evacuated, get in to a shelter, get in with someone that you know. It could be a life difference between life and death.

COOPER: And things like medical facilities in Jacksonville, are they remain open or?

CURRY: Yeah, we -- so, yes. We are prepared to deal with medical emergencies. There will be moments in time in this storm that could have 140-mile-per-hour winds, where everything will be shut down. You, frankly, cannot get around, because of the safety issues of those responding. But on the front end, and as soon as the wind speeds and everything are down to with it, you could be -- we can respond to people accordingly. But the most important thing, if anybody is watching your show, and there are a number of folks watching tonight in our area, if you are in zone A, B, or C, if your in the B just (inaudible), if your not have a, you have not evacuated, you have to leave now. There's still time. You can get somewhere before midnight and get in a safe place. We don't want people moving around after midnight.

Get into a shelter, get into a place, do not take this for granted. You've seen nothing like this before. This is a deadly, life- threatening event that is approaching our city. We're ready for it. And the police, fire, public works, utility perspective, but we need you to do your part as citizens, and that is to take this seriously and get out of the evacuation zones now.

[20:55:19] COOPER: Mayor Curry, I wish you the best in the coming hours and days. Thank you so much and to all the people in Jacksonville and elsewhere all along the coastal areas. Coming up, another hour of "360." We're following the progress, the tracking of this storm, late updates from the hurricane center, where it is now, where it's expected to go, and make landfall if in fact it's going to make landfall or just kind of stay off the coast, either. Very difficult options. How people are getting ready for the worst more on that, ahead.


COOPER: 9:00 p.m. here on the east coast. Hurricane Matthew already destructive, increasing deadly, still packing devastating category 4 winds. Approaching Florida's Atlantic coast tonight.

[21:00:02] Getting closer, apparently reconsolidating after a rampage through the Caribbean, especially Haiti, it's now taken nearly 300 lives least 283 dead in Haiti, according to Reuters.