Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 6, 2016 Guest: Craig Melvin, Ron Mott, Bill Karins, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Jay Gray, Mike Chitwood, Miguel Almaguer, Tammy Leitner, Kerry Sanders, Bill Nelson, Patrick Murphy, Michael Grumwald, Ed Rappaport, Dave McDermott
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: All right. Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Breaking news at this hour as Hurricane Matthew, the first major hurricane to hit Florida in 11 years, possibly the worst since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, possibly even worse than that, is on course for a potentially catastrophic collision with the Florida coast and beyond, even if it never actually makes landfall. The category 4 storm forcing the emergency evacuation of more than 2 million people and directly threatening a 300-mile (INAUDIBLE) of the Florida coastline from Palm Beach to Jacksonville, before it is expected to move further north, impacting 19 million people in all, and then potentially looping back around for a second hit. Tonight`s impact expected to bring sustained winds of up to 140 miles per hour, storm surges of up to 11 feet and rain amounts of up to 15 inches, along a path that ensures the storm`s intensity, and to repeat, risks a looping, lingering trail of destruction. We will, of course, have live coverage throughout the hour and this evening as Florida endures a blow for which officials have been preparing. Governor Rick Scott issuing an update just an hour ago.
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GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FL: Protecting lives remains our number one priority. I`ve continued to activate more troops for lifesaving missions. They are prepositioned all across the state. Men are helping people evacuate right now for safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: The sheriff said two of the counties expected to be most heavily impacted, Palm Beach and St. Lucie County, express great concern about some residents not heeding those warnings.
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WILLIAM SNYDER, SHERRIFF, MARTIN COUNTY, FL: People do not seem to get it and are not leaving. And I have already checked. I`m not saying this to be theatrical. You all know me. I don`t lean towards bravado. But I talked to my detective captain earlier today and I asked him, do you have body bags? Are you prepared for mass casualties? Because if people do not leave and we get 140 mile-an-hour wind gusts in some of our mobile home places, we are going to have fatalities.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many of us have dealt with storms in the past, we`ve dealt with Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Wilma. This is like none of those.
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HAYES: Thirty-five hundred National Guard have been activated, thousands have already taken advantage of preposition shelters. Hospitals on the east coast of Florida have been evacuated, thousands of flights have been canceled, up to 10 million people could lose power. President Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida and South Carolina, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. But with storm surges expected to be even more damaging than the devastating catastrophic winds, officials are warning that some areas may be uninhabitable for weeks or months. This after Hurricane Matthew has already ripped through Haiti and much of the Bahamas killing hundreds. Craig Melvin is in Melbourne, Florida, tonight. And, Craig, what`s it look like there?
CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC ANCHOR: Chris, over the last hour or two I can tell you that the conditions here have started to deteriorate just a bit. The winds have picked up, the rain is sporadic. Right now it`s not falling too badly, but a short time ago it was coming down in sheets. I want to show you downtown Melbourne. Melbourne is a city of about 75,000. Crickets here. It`s a ghost town. The good news, most of the folks seem to be heeding the pleas from local officials to get the heck out of here. The cars that we have seen by and large have been law enforcement vehicles, emergency vehicles. We`ve also seen the trees start to (INAUDIBLE) palm trees, some of the husks there in these trees. The major concern in this - - and you just mentioned it -- the storm surge. We are, I`d say, maybe 500 feet or so from the ocean. Three, 4 o`clock tomorrow morning when the winds have picked up at north of 100 miles per hour, they`re expecting at least ten inches, close to a foot, of water to come down this street to a certain extent, flooding a primary concern. We`re about an hour south of Orlando. We`re driving from the airport, boarded up businesses, gas stations shut down. Again, the good news, most folks seem to have gotten the heck out of here. There is a causeway that typically they shut down when winds pick up to 35, 40 miles per hour. I talked to a local official about 30 minutes ago, he said they`re not going to do that because they want the remaining folks who are here to get the heck out. This is a barrier island, so in a couple of hours when the conditions are deteriorating even more, we`re going to also be getting the heck out of here as well onto the mainland of Melbourne. They shut off the water around 6 o`clock. They do this when bad storms come. They shut off the water to protect the infrastructure so folks who are here won`t have water probably very much longer. I can also tell you that the airport, the Orlando airport, MCO, shut down at 8 o`clock. No incoming flights, no outgoing flights as well. There is no curfew. I talked to the police sergeant a short time ago. That was something that had been considered. But they said right now since folks by and large seem to be heeding local officials, they`re not going to put that -- we do have one -- sir, are you -- hang on one second. Are you --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just wanted to let you know (INAUDIBLE).
MELVIN: Yes, OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
MELVIN: Thank you. You are with the fire department?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MELVIN: Can you tell me how things are going so far?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, it`s not that bad. You know, it`s coming in in the middle of the night. Just waiting for (INAUDIBLE).
MELVIN: It seems to me at least that folks have listened to you guys?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They actually have. It`s a ghost town. Not very many cars right now going around. They have listened to the warnings and it looks like they`ve evacuated.
MELVIN: What`s the primary concern, what`s the main concern for you guys?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wind damage, flooding, and then people getting stuck (INAUDIBLE) in their homes.
MELVIN: The fire department, of course, all (INAUDIBLE) place over here (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
MELVIN: (INAUDIBLE) after the fact you guys can deploy a response to do what you guys do so well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, basically, in the morning when it`s calmed down a little bit, you can go out in the (INAUDIBLE).
MELVIN: In 2004, 2005, I mean, this is a community that was rocked by at least (INAUDIBLE) storms, Ivan being among the worst. Are we expecting it to be that bad this time around?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve been listening to the weather reports and they`re saying yes, we are.
MELVIN: Thank you. What`s your name again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeff.
MELVIN: Jeff, be safe out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
MELVIN: And thank you again for the geographic correction. You guys are just outside of Melbourne. So thank you, Jeff. Chris, that`s the latest from here.
HAYES: All right, Craig, in Melbourne, Florida. Please, don`t stay out there too long, OK, Craig. Get safe. Joining me now, NBC News`s Ron Mott who is in Daytona Beach. And Ron, you`re driving around Daytona Beach, which is also, as I understand it, an area under mandatory evacuation. What are you seeing?
RON MOTT, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Well, we decided to take a quick ride while we can still do this, Chris. So we`re on the main north-south drag here, for all the folks who know Daytona Beach, this is the beach that`s just to our east by a half a block or so. This is what officials -- if you take a look outside -- this is what they want to see is very little to no traffic at this moment. We have seen a sporadic car or two pass us, and we do know that further down the road there is a police officer stopping vehicles, making sure that they know to get inside and that they`re not out here joyriding trying to be a part of this storm. We can tell you that a lot of the businesses along Atlantic Avenue here have not boarded up. And maybe they`re taking a chance thinking that if the eye of the storm stays to our east and over the water that we would have pretty much straight line winds to the north, maybe northeast to the north, and then at some point they will switch around after the eye passes through this area and start coming from the south and southwest. But a lot of businesses have boarded up. We can tell you that a lot of the shelters here filled up pretty quickly. We met with a woman who is fairly new to Florida, she`s been here three years or so. She`s very nervous. This is her first hurricane. She lives in a mobile park. She did leave and evacuate. She left her pet with a neighbor there who, she says, has a little more substantial mobile home and that she thinks that her pet and her neighbors will be OK. But this is going to be a long-lasting weather event, Chris. You know, hurricanes typically will pass through eight, ten, 12 hours and then it`s sort of safe to come back outside. We`re looking at late tomorrow afternoon, maybe in tomorrow night or even further into early Saturday morning before it`s safe for people to get back out here and start assessing the damage. So we probably have a couple two, three hours before we`re going to start to see the real business end of this thing passing over Daytona Beach, Chris.
HAYES: All right. Ron Mott in Daytona Beach, thank you for that. Joining me now, MSNBC meteorologist Bill Karins. And, Bill, there`s a lot about this storm that`s really quite distinct. It is sort of an idiosyncratic storm, and that`s the reason that so many people are so freaked out about it. It`s doing a lot of things that are not normal for even a very strong hurricane.
BILL KARINS, METEOROLOGIST, MSNBC: The potential and the forecast of a category 4 raking the coast from West Palm Beach all the way to Jacksonville, Florida, is unheard of. We`d never had a forecast like that. That`s why we had such dire forecasts all day long today. Now that we`re getting closer to the event, we actually think the hurricane force winds will begin onshore here in the next three to four hours, this is when the slightest little shifts make a huge difference. And let me try to point that out to you because we have had some of those shifts.
KARINS: So the latest forecast path from the hurricane center is shown here on this map. That`s the red line. Little earlier today, it was a little bit closer to the Melbourne area and now it has shifted a little bit further off the coast. You`d think, big deal, what, ten, 15 miles? It makes a huge difference to the amount of damage that we`re going to get in those areas. If we still take a little path a little more off the coast, this goes from the historic, cross that off, bring it down to major, maybe moderate type damage from a hurricane. If it goes a little further inland, then we`re still talking historic. And this is what really -- you know, the forecasters that are watching this, including myself -- this is the eye of the hurricane right here. Notice this little black squiggly line, that`s the path of the storm, that`s where it has traveled, the eye. We`re tracking it every hour now, putting a little pin in a map, and then we kind of draw the line and connect it.
And look at these wobbles. It took a wobble to the northeast, wobble to the west, it just took a wobble to the north. And all of these little wobbles, you try to figure is that a motion that`s going to affect where the landfall`s going to be, or is this greater, outer cone here, this greater outer wall, is that what we`re tracking? The highest winds we know for sure from the Hurricane Hunters are in this. That`s the eyewall right there. If you go through that, that`s where you could get category 4 winds. So where we bring that on shore is going to be very key to the forecast. But all these little wobbles make a huge difference between a landfall in Fort Pierce or a landfall in Cape Canaveral. And if the landfall`s to your north, the forecast is better for you in Fort Lauderdale. This storm is not half as bad as what you were possibly looking at early this morning, so that`s great news for you. In West Palm Beach, when you see these little jogs like that to the north, you`re cheering and you`re saying that`s fantastic for us, all the people that evacuated, the hundreds of thousands of people from this area, you like to see these little jogs away from you.
Obviously, we still have a lot of concerns up the coast. But if we can clear more of our highly populated cities to the south, that`s billions of dollars in damage that will not occur. So let`s take a look at where we`re dealing with over here. This is the current wind field. This will be key as we go throughout the overnight hours. This orange is the tropical storm force winds. That is now on shore. We saw that when the Indialantic Beach, the Melbourne area, right up through about Fort Pierce. This is where the damage will occur. When this orange, the hurricane force winds, move on shore, that is the key to the forecast. So let`s track that. This is one of our latest computer models. And this comes out every three hours. That`s the eye. This is 10:00 pm this evening. So white is the hurricane force winds. When you get into that, that`s when you start getting a lot of significant damage, widespread power outages, stuff like that. So we track that at 10:00 pm this evening, and then we move it up the coast, close to a landfall about 1:00 am in the morning. So about four to five hours from now, right over the top.
This model says between Jupiter and Palm City. That would have the worst of the high winds up around the Fort Pierce area heading toward Sebastian up 95 here. Then as we go through the overnight hours, we track the eye potentially right up the coast, the Melbourne area where we just saw Craig, right in the Indialantic area, right here towards the Melbourne area, Cocoa Beach. 5:00 am in the morning is when the winds will be howling the worst for you. Up the coast we track it, again, 11:00 am tomorrow morning, that`s Daytona Beach time. You see, it just makes such a fine difference. Because that computer model I just showed you may be right.
KARINS: It may shift a little bit between now and then.
HAYES: So give me best-case, worst-case, in terms of what that trajectory is or where it hits at what strength.
KARINS: Right now, if that model came true, we would get the historic to catastrophic wind damage and storm surge from about Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, northwards.
KARINS: And that`s if that comes true. Now, these models are updating every three hours, and I`ll get another update of that coming in. And that could be a little further off the coast. That`s taking into account all these little jogs that we`re getting. As Hurricane Hunters are flying through it, they give us that position, they tell us right where it is, the lat and lon, that information gets fed into the weather computers. And if it changes there, then it will spit out a different solution there. So it`s such a fine line between historic or --
HAYES: Let me ask you this. Part of what I think makes this strange, right --
HAYES: -- if you`ve covered hurricanes and watched hurricanes is this sort of the brushing the coast trajectory. I think the thing we all learn is they gather their energy over the water, they hit land, it dissipates it. What does it do, how long can a hurricane sustain at the category that it`s at, at 4, at 3, if it`s moving up that coast like that?
KARINS: As long as the water is very warm and the winds up high where the jets fly aren`t shearing off the tops of the thunderstorms, it can survive infinitely. But the water will get cooler and those winds are supposed to increase and shear off the tops of this hurricane a little bit by the time it gets towards Jacksonville. That`s why the hurricane center weakens it down to a category 3. It is so much easier to forecast a hurricane that`s hitting a coast like a T.
KARINS: The ones that are coming up along the coast, this is like -- it`s the hardest forecast, you have to prepare for the worst, which we have done. And this is a category 4.
KARINS: I mean, you know, this is as bad as it gets. And if it happens to go a little more off the coast all night tonight and we don`t get that historic or catastrophic damage, I`ll be more than happy to take people`s calls and say it wasn`t that bad.
HAYES: Fingers crossed. Bill Karins, thank you for that. Joining me now by phone from Weston, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale, is Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz representing parts of Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach. And, Congresswoman, how are folks in your area doing?
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FL: Well, we`re in the midst of the tropical storm force winds that you guys were just talking about. We have pretty heavy gusts here. Weston, which is my hometown, is inland from the coast about 20 miles, just along the Everglades. And, you know, it is pretty significant wind, but not nearly as bad a hurricane force. And so our area is not, it looks like, going to be hit directly by the hurricane force winds. But it is and has been and continues to be an important preparation event because we simply have not had a hurricane hit Florida in over 10 years, Chris.
We have millions of people who live here now, plus the tourists that visit here who have not experienced a hurricane force and certainly not a hurricane of this magnitude. And so making sure that people prepared and are ready -- I mean, I`m sitting in my hurricane shuttered home. You know, we have our 72 hours of supplies because that`s critical to the aftermath of the storm. And the other thing that we`re all worrying about is right now the forecast track potentially could have it circle back around and hit us again. And so making sure that we are keeping our eye in this is really, really critical.
HAYES: Since I have you on the phone, Congresswoman -- and I know that politics are not front of mind for anyone on that coast at this moment --
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, right.
HAYES: -- because of the catastrophe. But there is, of course, the election, there are questions about voter registration. If you have massive -- millions of people moving around, possibly areas that they can`t get back to. There was a request put in from the Clinton campaign for the voter registration deadline to be extended. My understanding is that Governor Rick Scott has said he will not be extending that deadline, and I wondered if you had a response to that?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I`ll be sending a letter signed by many members of the delegation whose districts have been experiencing and will have felt the full force of the magnitude of Hurricane Matthew tomorrow morning, formally asking him to extend that voter registration deadline. The deadline is this Tuesday, October 11th. Clearly, the responsible and essential thing to do is we have people who have been expecting to have a few extra days before that deadline to register to vote.
That`s the most fundamental right we have is to be able to register and cast our ballots to select our leaders. And I certainly hope Governor Scott will when he gets a formal request from representatives from the State of Florida representing these areas that he`ll reconsider. Because there`s certainly precedent for it and it`s absolutely critical that people have the ability to register to vote and make sure they can cast their ballot. This is an extremely consequential election. All we`re asking -- and my letter will ask him to extend the deadline to next Friday. That is certainly doable and won`t provide any additional --
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- hardship for our supervisors of elections. And I will be following up with Governor Scott after that letter goes out to him.
HAYES: All right. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, thank you so much for your time tonight. I appreciate it. Stay with us as we continue to monitor Hurricane Matthew`s path. We`ll be checking on the ground in Florida throughout the hour. I`ll speak with Daytona Police Chief Michael Chitwood next about the importance of evacuating residents in those mandatory areas. Do not go anywhere.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re going to stay. We`re going to stay. I think we`ll be fine.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, I`m not going nowhere. Where am I going to go? I mean, I should because I`m close to the water, but nah.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We stayed during the flood, so we didn`t get hurt during the flood, so...
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it`s 50/50. If, like, Friday morning it`s going to really be a bad one, I`ll go ahead and get out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mm-hmm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But as of right now, I`m going to stick it out.
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HAYES: Despite evacuation orders across dozens of counties in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, many of them mandatory, some people have not left. This afternoon, The Weather Channel took the extraordinary step of broadcasting a special message to Floridians, over a million and a half of whom live in evacuation zones. Take a listen to Senior Hurricane Specialist Bryan Norcross.
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BRYAN NORCROSS, SENIOR HURRICANE SPECIALIST, THE WEATHER CHANNEL: This is like no storm in the record books. We are concerned about reports of people deciding to stay in areas under mandatory evacuation orders. This is a mistake. This is not hype. This is not hyperbole, and I am not kidding. I cannot overstate the danger of this storm.
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HAYES: Let`s go now to NBC News channel`s Jay Gray in Daytona Beach. Jay, what are you seeing there?
JAY GRAY, REPORTER, NBC NEWS: Hey, Chris. We`re on the edge of this storm. The outer bands, really, are what we`re feeling. The wind`s picked up, the rain is continuing to fall. The surf`s been heavy all day. You talk about people leaving and not being out -- I want to give you an idea of what`s going on here in Daytona Beach. And this is not beautiful TV, but it gives you a good descriptive idea. And, Ryan, if you can show him - - we`ve got the camera under a tunnel here to kind of protect the gear. But if you can see, it`s an empty area down there. The streets have been empty for quite some time. So if you`re going to evacuate, the time`s run out. If you`re still here, you`re inside your home, you`re boarded up, you`ve moved whatever you can, and that`s how you`re dealing with it. There have been a lot of people, unfortunately, Chris, that we`ve talked to here in Daytona Beach who tell me, yes, we`re going to ride this thing out. We`ve been through them before. And the problem with that is each hurricane`s different, and we`ve been in quite a few. This is a major hurricane, a category 4. We haven`t seen that in this area in over a decade. And there are a lot of transplants here. I`ve talked to a lot of people who`ve never been in a hurricane. They`re staying for their first one that`s a cat 4. I talked to emergency officials here. What they tell me is we can`t make anyone leave. If they decide to stay, they do that at their own risk, their own peril. We`re not sending out our teams at the height of the storm when conditions are their worst because we can`t put our people in harm`s way. Now, they`ll get in as soon as they can and help those that need it, but at the height of this storm, those who decided to ride this thing out are doing it on their own.
HAYES: All right. Jay Gray in Daytona Beach. Appreciate that. Thank you. Joining me now by phone is Mike Chitwood. He`s a police chief for the city of Daytona Beach. And, Chief Chitwood, let me ask you this: I know there`re some folks who are probably opting to stay because they don`t believe the storm will be that bad, they think they`ll be fine. There`s some category of folks in any storm that may be staying because they don`t have the economic wherewithal, they don`t have family nearby, they can`t afford a place to go, they may not have mobility, they may be infirmed. Are there resources, are there ways to get those folks out?
MIKE CHITWOOD, POLICE CHIEF, CITY OF DAYTONA BEACH: There are absolutely resources to get out. You can call us. We have an emergency number set up. We will provide transportation. In the city of Daytona Beach alone we have over four shelters that approximately a thousand people have taken advantage of that. I think countywide, maybe 3,500 have. So there are still shelters that have room. There`s still time to call us. For those who think this is a joke or that this is -- I`ve ridden them out before, that`s pure idiocy. This is a storm through the likes of what we have never seen before. We are projecting there is going to be devastation. There`s going to be loss of power, loss of cell phone usage, loss of the Internet, tornadoes. And if you think you`re going to make a phone call later on this evening or early tomorrow morning and say, you know what, I can`t ride it out anymore, come and get me, it`s not going to happen. Once the wind speeds reach over 50 miles an hour sustained, first responders can`t get out to help you. We can`t get across the bridges to get to the peninsula to help you. Now`s the time to go. The window of opportunity is there. Get out. I don`t know what you`re trying to prove, because you`re risking your life and that of your family`s.
HAYES: Chief, there has not been a hurricane to hit Florida in a fairly long period of time, and nothing, as far as I can tell in the history books, since 1851 that`s hit at this wind speed that far north. Are you folks prepared there?
CHITWOOD: As much as you can be. We have all the manpower we could possibly have in place, and we`re dealing with mother nature. I mean, I try to tell everybody, think Katrina. Think Katrina. And people, like you had in your interview there, I mean -- we had a mother today when I was up on the beachside going through neighborhoods, she had her two kids outside riding bikes. And I must`ve spent 20 minutes talking to her. She refused adamantly, said there`s no reason for me and my children to leave. I even offered to come bring her to the police station where we have our family shelter and there would be plenty of kids, and she said, no, I`m not leaving. And I can`t find the logic behind that.
HAYES: All right. Well, fingers crossed that everyone is getting out, heeding your words. Chief Mike Chitwood of Daytona Beach, I appreciate you taking a little time tonight. Thank you very much.
CHITWOOD: Thank you.
HAYES: We`ll, of course, continue to track the path of Hurricane Matthew as the outer bands start to hit the Florida coast. The latest, ahead.
HAYES: All right. We are monitoring Hurricane Matthew as it threatens the Florida coast this hour, its precise will make the difference between a historic catastrophic impact and a moderate one. More than 2 million people have been ordered to evacuate. Up to 19 people expected to be affected across that huge swath of coast going up into South Carolina and even North Carolina.
Joining me now on the phone from Orlando, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat from Florida. And senator, have you been in touch with federal authorities And what, how does the response look to you at this moment as you await landfall?
SEN. BILL NELSON, (D) FLORIDA: I`ve been in touch with everybody, including the top man at FEMA who, by the way, is a Floridian, and who had helped us get through that massive number of hurricanes in the 1990s and then in 2004 and 2005. And by the way, just another historical reference point, the fellow that you had on, Bryan Norcross, he was the hero of the worst storm that this one is being compared to, Hurricane Andrew. It was a monster: 1992. And Bryan Norcross kept people on the air, stayed on the air and talked people through that storm that flattened South Dade County and Homestead, Florida.
So when we compare this as a monster to Andrew, we`re talking serious business.
HAYES: You`ve been representing Florida for over a decade in the United States senate. And you`ve been there for a very long time. What have you learned over your time as a U.S. Senator about what makes for effective preparation and response from the perspective of the government?
NELSON: We`ve seen the good times and the bad. Andrew was a time that neither the federal government nor Florida was prepared. That has changed.
What I saw visiting six emergency operation centers over the last couple of days is professionalism. They`re ready. And the cooperation between the federal level and the president has declared the pre-event emergency as of earlier this afternoon between state, federal and local governments, it has been a seamless preparation.
Now is going to come the tough part, enduring the storm, cleaning up afterwards, and hopefully not dealing with a lot of fatalities, but those people, as people have been talking, as the chief of police just told you, you stay on that barrier island where you got a wall of 9 to 11 feet of water and a surge combined with the high tide tomorrow, combined with 140 miles an hour winds, and you`re going to have some fatalities.
HAYES: All right. Senator Bill Nelson, thank you so much for taking some time tonight. I really appreciate it, Senator.
NELSON: OK, Chris.
HAYES: All right, let`s bring in Michael GRUMWALD, senior writer for Politico magazine, author of "The Swamp: the Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise." And Michael, I wanted to talk to you because that book that you wrote is a classic, is an incredible book about the kind of architecture that makes Florida work and you`ve been reporting on the fact that Florida is uniquely exposed both in its interior and on the coast. We`re seeing the possibility of 11 foot storm surges and we know that storm surges tend to be the most deadly part of a hurricane.
What are the possible effects for Florida?
MICHAEL GRUMWALD, POLITICO: That`s right, Chris. Well, water kills. And, you know, you can see a sort of perfect storm coming where you have Florida which is so low lying 00 you know, I just moved from seven feet elevation to 18 feet and part of the reason was because we`re also getting these rising seas where you`re having about an inch of sea level rise every year which doesn`t sound like much, but it`s the difference between wet and dry in some of these cases.
Plus you add in that as you`ve been talking about, we haven`t had a really monster hurricane in at least a decade. It`s sort of like I`ve been on your show talking about financial crises and this is a little bit like that. When you don`t have one for a while, you start to think it can`t happen, and it can happen.
HAYES: You`ve got a governor there, of course, I mean, we`ve seen sea level rise due to climate change, human-caused climate change. You have got a governor there who continues to deny the existence of that but you also got insurance companies, developers and all sorts of folks, billions, if not trillions of dollars of value along that coast. Is Florida adapting to what its present reality now is going to be?
GRUMWALD: Well, in some areas we are like in Miami Beach, you know, we`re spending $400 million on pumps to, you know, because we were getting, you know -- it would be sunny, it would be beautiful and at high tide, you know, Biscayne Bay would be in the middle of our streets.
So we`re starting to deal with that. We`re adapting.
What we really need to do is restore the Everglades. By restoring that flow, you would really -- that would be the best way to kind of hold back the everyday sea level rise. But when you`ve got ten feet of water coming at you, there isn`t much you can do to adapt and that`s why some people think that in the long run, South Florida just might not be sustainable.
HAYES: Very ominous thought as we prepare to watch Matthew make landfall. Michael Grunwald, thanks for making time tonight. Stay safe down there. Thank you.
GRUMWALD: Thanks for your kind words, Chris.
HAYES: All right, still to come thousands are already without power from Hurricane Matthew. But Florida Power and Light estimates that number could reach 2.5 million. We`ll talk about that and more as our coverage continues after this break.
HAYES: Hurricane Matthew is nearing Florida. The outer rain bands are starting to come through. The winds are picking up. It`s only going to get worse through the night.
Joining me from Miami Ed Rappaport, he`s the deputy director of the National Hurricane Center. And, Ed, the National Hurricane Center has issued increasingly dire warnings about the storm.
I talked to Bill a little bit about what makes it so distinct. From your perspective, how are things at this moment in terms of its trajectory?
ED RAPPAPORT, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: The biggest concern now, of course, is that now that the center is passing the Bahamas is the threat to Florida as you mentioned. Right now, the center is located about 75 miles offshore from Palm Beach, but the forecast track takes it veryclose to the coast over the next couple, three days, in fact, the longer term takes it all the way up to along the Georgia and South Carolina coast by the weekend.
And the greatest risk from a hurricane of this strength is not only the wind, but it`s the wind that will be driving ashore the water. And that`s what we call a storm surge. And with a storm that`s centered here, it`s strong winds blowing like this, in this case we`re expecting a storm surge that could be on the order of 7 to 11 feet, that`s the depth of the water at the coast that will flow inland, There will be waves on top so here what we`re showing on this red along the coast is where we believe there`s life-threatening storm surge, surge of at least three feet And as you said, as much as 7 to 11 feet further north.
HAYES: All right, Ed Rappaport, thank you so much for that update. Appreciate that.
Joining me now NBC news Miguel Almaguer who is in West Palm Beach. And Miguel, how are things looking there?
MIGUEL ALMAGUER, NBC NEWS: Well, Chris, weather conditions have been deteriorating all evening long. We`re in a bit of a break in what some of the serious conditions we saw earlier today. But I do have to tell you just a few moments ago, the sky here exploded in a green light. It was a transformer that gave way. This area is running on backup power. That`s going to happen probably through the rest of this evening.
As a matter of fact, officials have told us that they can expect to lose power here, locals can, for several days, if not weeks at a time. We are just a few blocks ways away from the beach. This is one of the busiest thoroughfares in town, but not tonight. It appears many people are heeding the evacuation warnings. The streets here for the most part have been empty down the road here where police were coming through earlier today. They were telling everyone that it was a mandatory evacuation, that they were forced to leave.
People have been heeding that warning for the most part, though we have seen a couple of people over the past couple hours that have been out here taking pictures. We even see some parents with children here a short time ago.
For the most part, it seems as though they have retreated back inside. The weather conditions while right now are a little bit wet and a little bit windy are certainly expected to intensify tonight. As just mentioned, the storm is roughly 75 miles off the coast from here. But we do expect to see more of those outer bands slamming this region.
At around 6:30 eastern tonight, we got hit with a very vicious squall. It was very difficult to even stand in that type of weather, much less see the sheets of rain, the sheets of rain that have been coming, so the weather has been really intermittent here.
And again, here, a major thoroughfare right here, completely quiet, completely shut down. At least that`s what the situation is for now. It`s exactly what police wanted. Later on tonight, they tell us these high-rise buildings, windows could explode. The buildings will lose power, and debris will be flying through the area. For right now, police tell us at this location we are safe for the next several hours. But later on tonight, they want everyone out of this area -- Chris.
HAYES: All right, Miguel Almaguer in West Palm Beach. Stay safe down there. Thank you very much.
Joining me by phone, Florida Power & Light`s spokesman Dave McDermott. And Mr. McDermott, what is the state of the grid at this moment, and what are your projections for the grids` integrity as the storm makes landfall?
DAVE MCDERMOTT, FP&L SPOKESMAN: Wwell, as your correspondent has said, there`s no question that Hurricane Matthew is going to be a monster storm, a category 4.
Now, FPL has, since -- there hasn`t been a major hurricane or any hurricane for that matter in Florida for 11 years. And during that time, we`ve invested an enormous amount of money in strengthening the grid. But that said, you know, no utility is hurricane proof and we expect extensive damage to the power grid as a result of this storm. And we`re looking at as many as 2.5 million of our customers to be without power and some of them, frankly, some areas are going to be experiencing extended outages.
HAYES: Can you explain to me what is it when a storm makes landfall that is what causes the power? Is it the storm surge, floods, in needed equipment? Is it power lines get knocked down by the wind? What are the parts of the storm that actually account for the grid going out?
MCDERMOTT: Well, it`s any number of things. It`s certainly wind. Wind is the biggest -- the biggest factor that affects our power grid. And in Florida, there is intense and enormous foliage. It`s a 12 hour -- 12 month growing season throughout the year. And as a result of that, there`s a number of palm fronds, tree branches, trees, you know, they break off and they become missiles so they slam into our power lines and our substations and that`s what causes the bulk of the damage.
You know, we have an army of restoration workers upwards of 15,000 including our own workers and we put the call out and now have workers in from across the country, so they`re standing ready and on high alert ready to go into action just as soon as the storm passes, when it`s safe to do so.
HAYES: All right. Dave McDermott, thank you very much. We`ll have much more coverage of Hurricane Matthew ahead including a look at the destruction it has already left in its wake in the Caribbean. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: As millions along the Florida coast are bracing for Hurricane Matthew tonight, rescue workers are just beginning to assess the full extent of the storm`s destruction in Haiti. There are reports that hundreds of people there are dead as government agencies and international relief crews start to reach some of the worst affected areas.
Aid organizations are expecting food shortages and fearing cholera outbreaks in what is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
As the country`s interim president said earlier, quote, "the situation is catastrophic." The storm also battered other parts of the Caribbean. NBC`s Tammy Leitner joins us now from the Bahamas where Matthew has already caused significant damage, massive flooding and is still wreaking havoc.
And Tammy, how are the Bahamas doing?
TAMMY LEITNER, NBC NEWS: You know, Chris, the rain has finally subsided. And we got a chance to go out and take a look around the island. And the damage, oh, it is so extensive. There are power lines down, trees on top of houses, roads completely washed away. And keep in mind, the winds were about 125 miles an hour today.
And I want to give you an idea of just how powerful they were.
So this is the roots here of this tree. This is at least 10 feet maybe 12 feet tall. And so it gives you an idea of the massive, massive power of these winds that just devastated this island.
And we know that tonight people are still trapped in their homes. There were actually people calling into a local radio station all day, and these are people that live on the south and the east side of the island where the hurricane first hit. And they were describing a storm surge that came through.
Now, remember, they were predicting about 15 feet. They`re saying it was about eight feet. And some of these people, they were hiding in their attic taking cover there, and that was the only way they say they were able to survive this surge.
So we`ll keep an eye on this. We haven`t been able to get over to that side of the island yet because the damage is so extensive, Chris.
HAYES: All right, Tammy Leitner in the Bahamas for us tonight. Thank you, Tammy.
Our coverage of Hurricane Matthew continues next. Stay with us.
HAYES: We are back with our continuing coverage of Hurricane Matthew, the massive category 4 storm with winds up to 140 miles per hour has prompted evacuation orders for more than 2 million people in the United States. President Obama has declared a state of emergency for Florida as well as South Carolina making federal emergency aid available. He is strongly encouraging Americans to listen to local authorities as are presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
In a personal tweet Clinton said, I urge everyone to follow emergency instructions and evacuate if you`re told to. Stay safe, Florida.
Trump said in a statement, if your home is in the path of a hurricane and you are being advised to leave, you need to do so right now. Nothing is more important than the safety of your family.
Joining me now from Ft. Pierce, Florida, NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders. And Kerry, how are things looking down there?
KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS: Well, you know, there`s a lot of people on the east coast of Florida who are inside their homes with shutters up. They can`t tell what`s going on outside, but they hear some sounds and they`re wondering if they`re getting hit by the hurricane.
I`m standing outside in Ft. Pierce. The hurricane has not arrived here yet. We`ve had some strong winds, but they`ve just been gusts and they`ve certainly not been hurricane force winds.
The real concern tonight is that there are about 1.5 million people in a mandatory evacuation zone along the coast who chose not to evacuate. And so, as you see a little bit of the wind blowing behind me and you can see the rain and we`ve had some power outages here. The Publix grocery store lights have flickered as well as our own lights have flickered, the concern is those who have decided not to evacuate are staying put.
And now, of course, it`s well too late for them to leave, but the authorities, the police who would be the most likely to help them, have all left. They`ve pulled back as have we. We`re off the barrier island now. We`re here on the mainland about four to five miles inland from where the Atlantic Ocean is.
And so anybody who needs help may decide to dial 911. That will not help them. There`s nobody who is going to come help them at this point. In fact, the authorities spent some time today going from door to door talking to those who chose not to leave and actually writing their names down and their addresses so that after Matthew passes through, they can go check on them to see whether they have survived the storm or not.
The authorities say that they`re disappointed that some people seem to have egos of invincibility by staying put in some cases so close to the beach that this 12-foot storm surge likely will fill their homes with water and cause them, especially those that don`t have two stories, to have to crawl up in their attics, something we saw in Katrina in a very different way, but something that is just a horrible panicked ridiculous moment that could have been prevented.
And I just heard a little explosion. That no doubt is one of the electrical transformers going off.
So, again, we don`t even have the hurricane force winds here yet, Chris.
ANDERSON: All right, Kerry Sanders in Ft. Pierce, thank you for that.
Joining me now from Jupiter, Florida, Representative Patrick Murphy of Florida whose 18th congressional district includes North Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties.
And congressman, your district, the entirety of your district runs along that part of the coast that looks like it might take the most direct hit or close to it. How are folks preparing there?
REP. PATRICK MURPHY, (D) FLORIDA: Yes, well, thank you for covering this because it`s quite alarming to have a hurricane of this strength that is potentially going to be the worst that we`ve seen. I mean, very rarely do you have a hurricane run the entire east coast of Florida. They typically cut across the state. So we have been urging folks to evacuate up until about 2:00 today we told them, please, please, get somewhere safe, go to a family member, go to the west coast, go to a shelter.
And unfortunately, not everyone evacuated. And as I was walking around, I went to some shelters, you know, people were basically saying that they`re going to ride it out, that they think it is going to be a bad thunderstorm and you know I was trying to work with law enforcement and they did a great job today urging people, please, take this seriously. This is not a thunderstorm. You need to take shelter.
And at this point now, you cannot leave your house. You need to stay where you`re at, hunker down and don`t leave until this is well past.
HAYES: Congressman, I know that politics are not on your mind tonight, obviously everyone focused on survival, but there is registration deadline on Tuesday. I talked to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz who said she will be formally petitioning the governor to extend that registration deadline to Friday with millions of people, Floridians possibly displaced.
Will you be joining that call as well?
MURPHY: Yes, I`ve signed on that letter. I`m pretty sure most of the -- quite a few of the delegation members have signed on to that letter. And I`ve been told that it doesn`t look like the governor is going to extend that, unfortunately, but we are going to keep urging him to reconsider that because people are distracted. This is not what`s on their minds, the election, they need to worry about their own safety right now.
HAYES: All right, Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy, also a candidate for U.S. Senate in that state. That`s All In for this evening.
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