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Transcript: The ReidOut, 9/28/22

Guests: Eric Klinenberg, Nicholas Nehamas, Ken Welch


Florida is pummeled by Hurricane Ian, a storm of catastrophic and historic proportions.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone.

We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with breaking news. Florida is being pummeled by a storm of catastrophic and historic proportions. Hurricane Ian, the first hurricane of its caliber to hit the Sunshine State since 2018, made landfall just hours ago.

But for many Floridians, the worst may still be to come. Here`s what we know at this hour. The Category 4 storm is currently barreling across Southwest Florida with winds up to 150 miles per hour. More than 1.5 million people in the state are currently without power. And that number is growing.

But the most imminent and life-threatening concern is the storm surge, some areas seeing 12 to 18 feet. And to give you an idea of just how severe that is, a meteorologist for the National Hurricane Center says no one alive has seen 12 feet of storm surge in that area, and many areas could take years to recover.

Just take a look at this surge in Sanibel Island earlier today. That danger is a reality for many Floridians who chose to hunker down and wait out the storm, despite the evacuation orders. Take a look what one family told NBC affiliate WBBH as their house flooded.


QUESTION: So this is in Fort Myers Beach on Cutlass Cutlass?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cutlass Drive. It`s four of us.

QUESTION: Four of us on Cutlass Drive. And you`re on the second floor already?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We`re all...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s six of us in here, 2564 Cutlass Drive.

QUESTION: Do you have a -- do you have a roof? Do you...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s about 15 feet of water now.

QUESTION: There`s 15 feet of water and it`s still coming in?



REID: Meanwhile, the federal government has thousands of resources at the ready, fuel, water, meals, and thousands of National Guard troops standing by.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is also asking President Biden to grant a major disaster declaration for all 67 counties in the state.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We have now officially sent the letter with the request to the Biden administration for a major disaster declaration for all 67 counties, requesting the federal government do 100 percent reimbursement up front for 60 days to ensure that we can quickly move forward into this response and recovery phase.


REID: Let`s bring in NBC meteorologist Somara Theodore with the very latest on the hurricane`s path.

OK, Somara, give us a sense of where this thing is going. And just for those of you who are watching right now, I don`t know how tall you are, but 12 to 15 feet would be off of the screen. It would be above your head, just so everyone understands what that means.

So, please go ahead.


And storm surge, the deadliest aspect of a hurricane. And, tonight, as night falls, this is when we`re really going to see the storm begin for some folks. My heart really goes out to parts of Southern -- Southwestern Florida, because for a lot of folks, it`s going to be the longest night of their lives.

Let`s go ahead and take a look right now, 125 miles per hour. So, Hurricane Ian is now a Category 3. This just happened. It`s starting to weekend, but it is still packing a punch, traveling to the northeast at eight miles per hour right now. It`s just situated between Fort Myers and Sebring.

Let`s go ahead and take a closer look. So, right now, we`re seeing some of the strongest winds hitting parts of Florida, including Arcadia. And, right now, they`re experiencing some heavy rain along with those strong winds. We`re seeing colors like pink and red show up here. And that is very heavy rain falling.

Still seeing some strong winds as well in Punta Gorda, and we`re going to continue to see those winds traverse through the central portions of Florida. Here`s a look at some of the winds that have come in so far. We have seen 135-mile-per-hour gusts when it was hitting Cape Coral, down towards Naples, 112 miles per hour, 105 at Port Charlotte, Sanibel Island, 106-mile-per-hour wind gusts.

So this has been a very strong storm. And it remains strong. Look at this deep red here. This is denoting the hurricane-force winds that will continue to extend into Central Florida. We`re talking near Lakeland. It started out near Fort Myers.

And then, as we push forward, even southern tips just south of Orlando could see hurricane-force winds as we head into Thursday. Beyond that, with the latest updates, we are seeing the threat for -- a hurricane watch actually has been issued for parts of the South Carolina and Georgia coastline, as we could see some reenergizing.

Right now, it`s on track to become a tropical storm as it moves into the Carolinas, bringing heavy, wet, chilly rain into parts of the Carolinas through the weekend. And, beyond that, the power outages, that`s going to be a big concern tonight. And we`re expecting power disruptions throughout much of the state, as you already seen, and that could stick around for weeks in some isolated regions.


But especially this swathe here in red from the coastline to Daytona Beach, we could be looking at extensive power failures. And that severe threat, we`re still tracking it, with a chance for multiple tornadoes still on the horizon, as we head through the days to come.

REID: And, Somara, let me just ask you.

For those who have never lived through hurricane -- I lived in Florida for 14 years. I have lived through a couple of them. And it`s -- there are two different ways that hurricanes can be dangerous. There`s the wind hurricane. There`s the wind damage that can be caused. And then there`s the rain. There`s the water. In this case, this is a very watery hurricane.

Talk about how the speed of the hurricane makes a difference, right, because you have some that are really super slow. This seems like a super slow one. And then you have others that whip through really quickly.

THEODORE: Exactly.

One thing that comes to mind that was extremely slow was Harvey. And you remember the visuals from that. For this one, we`re moving right now to the northeast at eight miles per hour. It still has a chance to slow down. And, earlier, we were talking about how, once we see a hurricane getting to three to four miles per hour, that`s usually the average walking speed of a human.

So this is going to meander. This is going to take its time. And this is going to dump copious amounts of rain through Central Florida. We`re still on par to see possibly two feet in some areas. And, like you said, that that`s this the next tier of the storm. There`s a lot of components to a hurricane. We get the wind. We get the tornadoes just ahead of it.

And then we have that soaking rain. And this is just all-encompassing. So, really, much of the state of Florida is being impacted by this hurricane at this point.

REID: Yes, it`s pretty much a statewide hurricane. Look how big it is as well.

Thank you very much. Really appreciate you, Somara Theodore. Thanks very much.

Joining me now is NBC`s Steve Patterson. He`s in St. Petersburg, Florida. Geographically, that is near Tampa.

Tell us how things look where you are.

STEVE PATTERSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Joy much further north from the eye of the storm.

And make no mistake, this area dodged a bullet. Yesterday, they were predicting that the eye of the storm would actually be somewhere close to here, a storm in which we haven`t really seen in about 100 years, a direct hit to this area. Thankfully, that didn`t happen. But that doesn`t mean this area has been spared.

The wind has been significant. The rain has been significant. And we`re nowhere near the worst of it, Joy. I mean, in about maybe three, four, five hours is when we expect to see really the brunt in this area, with a storm surge of about four to six feet.

That is tremendous for this place because of how many areas along the bay that are low-lying, which may mean that the potential for flash flooding, the potential for that surge to come over and cause a whole lot of damage - - and we`re talking millions -- is still in this area, which is putting officials on edge.

But, in the meantime, they`re mainly focused on the wind damage, the wind damage, the flash flooding, the power outages and power poles that we have seen in other places like Naples that have gone over, started fires. And first responders can`t get there because it`s too dangerous.

That`s a situation that could happen here, especially as it gets dark and makes it that much more dangerous, already more than 100,000 customers in this area without power. There could be several more as the night goes on. But we`re just getting started -- back to you, Joy.

REID: And that is one of the issues, right? This is hitting in broad daylight. A lot of the times, these hurricanes hit overnight and then you sort of wake up in the morning to see what the damage is. This is a daytime hurricane.

Are you seeing in that area, where you are, St. Petersburg, more, as you said, the wind-type damage? I know we have seen some tornadoes. As you said, those can be ahead of it. Or is this more about storm surge because it`s so low-lying?

PATTERSON: Despite what you`re seeing on camera right now, this is all about the storm surge. And it`ll be, after that storm surge, all about the flooding that comes after it, because we`re expecting somewhere around 24 inches of rain, which is as much as you might expect in about a month in a few hours.

So imagine that. The amount of flooding that we get from that on top of the storm surge could be monumental, especially, again, in this area. This Bay Area, again, hasn`t taken a direct hit in about a century or so. It won`t take one now, but on the back end of it, we may see an incredible amount of rain and water.

And the flooding that could result, the images from that, the pain from that, the amount of money that has to be spent with utilities and people trying to clean up from that, is expected to be immense. Hopefully, we dodge it, but what -- with what we`re seeing now, it could go either way -- Joy.

REID: And did you get the sense just in -- and I don`t know how long you have been on the ground, and I don`t want -- I don`t want you to be moving around too much.


REID: But did people in that area generally evacuate? Because we know that there was some places that were under evacuation orders. We have heard reports of up to two million Floridians on the road trying to get away from the water, move inland as far as they could.


Was this an area that was under an evacuation order? And do you get a sense that there are a lot of people who are there still trying to sort of ride it out?

PATTERSON: This most certainly is an area under evacuation order.

And, again, the word, the messaging is, if you haven`t left, it`s -- now is the time to hunker down. You shouldn`t be trying to evacuate as we speak.

So I spoke to the mayor yesterday. He told me that most of the people did heed the warning, they did get out of town. And if they stayed, they were either in a higher area or they knew how to hunker down. So we have heard that. Despite that, I have seen -- look, we`re at the St. Petersburg pier right now. This is not the place you want to be.

Luckily, we have a shelter above my camera guy up there. That`s why the shot is so stable. I will run up there as soon as this is over. But a lot of people have come down here just to take pictures, to try to get the lay of the land, to see the storm come in off the bay.

Not advised. We have seen a bunch of that. But, for the most part, when you`re talking about volume, you drive through this town, it`s a ghost town. Most people heeded the warnings. That`s a good thing, because it`s going to get a whole lot worse tonight -- Joy.

REID: Yes, don`t go and take pictures. It`s not a joke at all, I mean, not at all. Don`t go take pictures. Bad idea.

Steve Patterson, NBC`s Steve Patterson, thank you very much, man. Appreciate you.

OK, I`m joined now by MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi, the great Ali Velshi. He is in Naples, Florida.

And I have been watching you all day. And you were on a roof. Well, you were just getting higher and higher and higher, trying to get to higher elevations earlier today when you were talking with our fellow colleagues here.

Tell me what it`s looking like now, Ali, where you are, because, earlier, it looked a little frightening.

ALI VELSHI, HOST, "VELSHI": Oh, it was getting dicey, I have to say.

I mean, it`s been very rare in all the hurricanes I have covered that I have had to go up above a second story. It has happened once before. Look at the difference, though. Now you can see the ground. You can`t actually see the ground. This is the parking lot that I was showing pictures of all day that was completely flooded.

You see sand, because this is Naples Beach that has been pushed in by the storm surge. There`s still water at the end there. Look at all those cars. Those were all the cars that were lined up in the parking lot. The water just picked them up and basically pushed them into each other. And we are first starting to see people walking around.

This is the first time in six hours I have seen people. I just went downstairs for the first time in six hours. It`s remarkable how the water has just pulled out of here. These condominiums across from me, just a couple of hours ago, I was talking to some of our colleagues, and we were seeing the water overtipping the balconies there under the second story above the carport, so well above 10 feet on this particular side.

Now it`s all gone. And the Gulf of Mexico now looks like a beach. You can see Naples Beach. You can see sand. I haven`t seen that for six hours. And the water is actually moving from the right to the left, which is entirely a different direction. It was coming toward us for the entire day.

So this has been a remarkable storm. Here in Naples, we got the back end of it. There is still 1.5, 1.3 million people reportedly out of power in Florida. That number is going up by the minute. And, remember, this storm is now moving northeast very, very slowly. What that means is, the rains being dumped, the ground is being softened, the trees are falling, more power lines are going down.

So they`re not even going to get started on fixing that power until at least tomorrow in places like this when the wind dies down. See, it`s still very windy here. This one`s got to die down. The water`s got to recede. They got to get the cars out of the street. Then they start looking for it.

We are hearing emergency calls here in Collier County from people who are trapped. Lee County, Fort Myers, they have redirected some of their emergency calls here. So the police here are saying, please don`t call us unless you actually have an emergency. We can`t do anything for you. We`re trying to help those people in Fort Myers, where things are much worse.

REID: Yes.

VELSHI: So, a bad night, a bad day for Florida, and another bad night, Joy.

REID: The thing about it, Ali, I can remember riding out a Category 3 Hurricane Wilma, which was like a couple of months after Hurricane Katrina hit in New Orleans.


REID: Wilma hit us in Florida. We were in South Florida.

VELSHI: That`s right.

REID: And the thing that`s so terrifying is the sound, right? It was us and our little kids playing the flashlight game because we had no power...


REID: ... and trying to ride it out. And you just remember hearing what sounded like hell on earth, just everything whipping and whipping.


REID: That was a windy hurricane.

This feels like this is a watery hurricane. It`s slow. It`s causing lots of surges.

VELSHI: You`re right.

REID: That damage is different.


REID: That means that, when that water recedes -- you were showing those cars floating down the road.


REID: Your car is destroyed.


REID: Your house is flooded.


REID: This is a lot more, to me, like the kind of damage you saw with Katrina.

VELSHI: That`s exactly, exactly the right point.

One of those big windy hurricanes sounds like a constant freight train for hours.

REID: Yes.

VELSHI: It gets into you. It`s terrifying. That`s not what we heard here at any point today.

It -- this is mostly a water storm. And, in America, water storms are more dangerous than windstorms are.

REID: Yes.

VELSHI: And that`s what we have seen, because you don`t have the same sense of terror inside you. It`s slow-moving.


This came upon us very quickly. I was literally walking around on this ground level and, an hour later, it was so dangerously flooded that I wasn`t able to get down for another several hours. And that`s because the high tide turned around.

So, you`re absolutely right. That`s the first car, vehicle we have seen moving since noon. It`s a truck, and they`re trying to get through it. That is actually what the police caution against, because your vehicle can float in six inches of water.

REID: Yes.

VELSHI: That`s way more than six inches right there.

And what they don`t want is people getting stuck on the roads.

REID: And that`s the thing, is that people are tempted because...

VELSHI: Because they don`t have the resources to fix it.

REID: Exactly.

And you -- people get tempted to come out because they don`t hear the whipping wind and the horror, and so you think you can go out. But, no, drowning is a real thing. That is what happened in Katrina. People drowned in their own homes.

VELSHI: It`s a real thing.

REID: It`s a real thing.


REID: And you can`t drive in that. I cannot stress enough, do not go out. Don`t be looking at it. Don`t go try to check it out. Stay inside, or stay up high.

VELSHI: That`s exactly what. That`s what they`re trying to tell people.

REID: Yes.

VELSHI: Stay inside.

REID: Stay up high.

VELSHI: We -- this place is under a mandatory evacuation order and a curfew.

REID: Yes.

VELSHI: So, hopefully, everybody stays in tonight. And, tomorrow, they`re going to start fixing this up.

REID: Ali, get somewhere safe.

I wish we could show a video of what you were seeing earlier, when that parking lot behind you was completely flooded, how high that water was; 12 to 15 feet is super high.

VELSHI: It was a river, yes.

REID: It was a river. It was a river. And we`re now seeing it.


REID: We`re seeing the aftermath.

Ali Velshi, you`re the best, man. Thank you very much.

All right, our live coverage of Hurricane Ian making landfall in Florida continues in a moment.

Stay right with us.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last night, what they were talking, tops, nine-foot surge.

The house that I`m in went through Charley. I figured, new roof on, I`m good. We will hang in there, but now wake up in the morning, and it`s 19 feet. So it kind of changes my reality.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no choice now. It`s late in the day, and, yes, I screwed up, but got to -- got to do what I got to do with the reality that I have, which is get the hell out of that house.


REID: Back now with more of our breaking coverage of Hurricane Ian making landfall and leaving devastation on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Joining me now is the mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, Ken Welch.

And, Mayor Welch, thank you for being here.

You just heard that gentleman saying that he`s ridden them out before. And I -- look, I lived there. People ride it out. And you think, I can handle this because you`re thinking wind. I think too few people think water. And water is so damaging.

Just give us what you think the damage is going to look like when that water recedes in your city.

KEN WELCH, MAYOR OF ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA: Well, Joy, it`s good to be with you.

And, as you know, having lived in Florida, you run from the water, you hide from the wind.

REID: Yes.

WELCH: And, with that, Ian had stayed on its projected track and hit Pinellas County and St. Pete head on, we would have been looking at 10 feet of surge on top of 10 to 15 inches of rain.

And no infrastructure in the world can handle it. And so we were blessed that it didn`t hit us. But our prayers go out to our neighbors to the south in the Sarasota, Venice, Fort Myers area. But we`re still not done. We still have another six hours or so. We`re on the outer bands of the storm. And we will experience tropical-storm-force winds, maybe hurricane-force winds, and another 10 to 15 inches of rainfall.

So we`re still not out of the woods yet in St. Petersburg.

REID: Not by any means, 125 mile-an-hour winds still whipping down there.

The governor has asked for a full complement of federal help, which he should. It is the right thing to do. I mean, I think we`re lucky that he is the governor version of Ron DeSantis, rather than the congressman who back in the day did not want to send that kind of money to Hurricane Sandy victims in New York. He`s definitely learned a lesson.

Talk about what that federal money could do, because St. Pete is, like you said, not out of the woods yet. You`re probably going to need it.

WELCH: Absolutely.

And I had the opportunity to speak with President Biden and the FEMA secretary yesterday, and they pledged their total support, anything we need, as well as our state government. It`s good to see folks working together for the benefit of our community, because lives are literally at stake.

And, certainly, our community, and, certainly, those communities to the south will need a lot of support going forward.

REID: Yes, absolutely. I should mention it wasn`t just Ron DeSantis. Marco Rubio was on the same page as far as funding. You`re definitely going to need it.

Talk about sort of what you think are going to be the immediate needs of folks in your -- in your city.

WELCH: Well, the impacts to our water system is first and foremost.

We asked folks to be prepared with food, water, medication for seven days. But just looking at the video what`s happening in South Florida, there`s going to be a lot of damage to the infrastructure, I believe. The potable water system, the sewage system, the reclaimed water systems, I think, are all going to be overwhelming.

And so they will need help with the basics, with food and water. And, for our community, we will get to clean up right away. But one thing I want to stress, as you well said, a lot of folks make it through the storm, but then they have injuries or death because they try to get back on the streets too quickly, and they step on a downed wire or they try to drive their vehicle through the water. They use a generator incorrectly.

And so we`re asking our folks in St. Pete and Pinellas just to shelter in place for tonight, let our crews get out and clean up first thing tomorrow, and get power restored to more than 100,000 people who are without power right no2.


REID: Yes, absolutely.

And people forget that the aftermath includes, if your power goes out, everything in your fridge is bad. Everything in your fridge goes bad. That means, whatever food you thought you had, you don`t. And so it becomes an immediate need for sustenance, for all of the basics. If you didn`t store water before, if you didn`t make it to Publix before they had a run on all the water, you`re in trouble.

Like, it`s a lot. It`s a lot. So, a lot of support is going to be needed.

And thank you very much, Mr. Mayor for taking your time.

WELCH: Thank you. Thank you, Joy.

REID: St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch, we really appreciate you. All right, thinking of you all down there tonight.

All right, up next: the challenges millions of Floridians are facing after evacuating their homes.

We will be right back.




KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, we`re on the back end now, wherein the back eye wall is coming through.

We have had some of the strongest winds here so far. I`m inside a parking garage area, so we`re somewhat protected. But the winds are furious. And as the winds are blowing, there are cases -- at certain points, there are things flying in the wind, like roofing shingles.

It`s going to be a very long time to get in a battle -- to get an assessment of what`s happened here, because it`s starting to get dark. When this storm finally passes through and the rain quits around midnight, then we will wait for the sunlight to really see how bad it is.


REID: My God, go inside, Kerry. Go inside.

This is one of the most powerful storms that we have ever seen. And Hurricane Ian is continuing to batter Florida right at this hour.

We bring in now NBC meteorologist Bill Karins.

Kerry Sanders, I`m afraid for him. He`s out there in this storm. We have been talking a lot, Bill, about this. I just wanted to rerack it again.


REID: Because hurricanes are two things. They are wind that is terrifying and the sound of what it`s blowing around and what it`s doing to you, and there`s the water that you can drown in, that, if you try to drive in it, you can -- your car can skid off literally into the ocean if you`re in Florida.

And they`re both -- is this primarily a windstorm, or it seems like it`s more of a water storm, and has it slowed down?

KARINS: It all depends on where you are.

REID: Yes.

KARINS: Some areas, like Fort Myers, it was both.

I mean, it was historic storm surge, plus winds that were likely 120 to 130 miles per hour. So you got extreme wind damage, and you have catastrophic, historic storm surge. And so that`s kind of like, when we see the pictures tomorrow of, OK, what area was hit the worst, it`s going to be Cape Coral and it`s going to be Fort Myers...

REID: Yes.

KARINS: ... both low-lying areas where the water went miles inland during the peak of the storm surge this afternoon.

The water still up. It hasn`t totally receded yet.

REID: Yes.

KARINS: But it`s on its way down finally. So that`s kind of the stage that we`re getting it.

And then, as far as the winds go, anywhere from, I would say, Port Charlotte northwards, it wasn`t a surge event, because the storm made landfall kind of over you, so you had the mostly the tide was -- the wind was blowing the water out to sea.

So, from Arcadia to Venice, Sarasota southwards, the Englewood area, that`s where you`re going to see just the wind damage, not the really water problem. And I`m only talking about surge. You still have to deal with flash flooding concerns too. That hasn`t really developed yet, but that will tonight, as the storm tracks up towards Orlando.

So, just in the last hour, just what was updated, this extreme wind warning, this area of purple inside of here heading to the northeast, to Punta Gorda and Arcadia, to Sebring, heading into southern Osceola, Polk counties, what that means, it`s the equivalent of a tornado heading your way.

So everyone`s phones are going off. They`re -- if they`re watching TV, they`re getting the message, alert on their TVs, telling them to get to shelter, get to their safe rooms, go to an interior room with your family and get safe, put pillows on top of you, blankets. If you want to grab the twin mattress, go in your bathtub and you put that on top of you.

That`s the message that`s being told to all these people in this area, because we still have a major Category 3 hurricane that`s moving over. So, yes, you kind of get that feeling of, we don`t have the reporters getting blown around anymore at the coast. But, for the people inland from the Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Port Charlotte areas, this is still a very significant event and a very scary evening, where it sounds like a train.

The house is shaking. The windows are shaking. And the power`s out, so you don`t even know what`s going on. And that`s -- it`s scary.

REID: Yes.

KARINS: And that`s what`s happening right now out there, Joy.

And I know you were wondering about the water situation, because you mentioned the storm surge. But that rain, that heavy shield of rain is now near Winter Haven. It`s heading up here right over the top of Orlando through the overnight hours. Orlando is going to have gusts up to 80 miles per hour, maybe 90.

That`s enough to knock out power. And you`re going to have the chance to two feet of rain by tomorrow morning. So things could be very ugly on the I-4 Corridor as we go through daybreak.

And, then, Joy, how cruel is this going to be that we`re not just done with this storm? Because we have to track this thing for two more days. Our friends up in Jacksonville to Brunswick, Georgia, all the way up through Savannah, Hilton Head, Charleston, they could possibly see a strong tropical storm or a Category 1 hurricane landfall on Friday.

Ian`s not done yet. I`d say 80 percent of the damage from the storm is done, but there`s still that 20 to go.

REID: Yes, it`s unbelievable. I will tell you, I lived through tornadoes that we have out West, when I lived in Colorado, and hurricanes. Hurricanes are the scariest. They really are.

Like you said, it sounds like a freight train. It sounds like literally hell on earth.


REID: It -- there`s nothing like it. So, really wishing folks well down there.

Bill Karins, thank you very much, man. Really appreciate you.


Joined now again by our good friend anchor Ali Velshi, who is in Naples.

And just to pick up -- I don`t know if you could hear Bill, Ali, but...

VELSHI: I did, yes.

REID: ... there is a lot that has changed about the Earth that has made these things worse, right?


REID: I mean, these things are thriving because the water is getting warmer.

And I think when people -- we stopped calling a global warming for political reasons, but that`s what it is, right? Our Earth is getting warmer. And there is just no doubt, I think, left that it is feeding these beasts.

VELSHI: Well, and what you -- where it comes out is in the intensity.

People say, well, they have been hurricanes for millennia. Well, that`s true, but we sometimes get these ones that are so much more damaging and so much more intense. And then there`s the complicating factor that, in places like Bill was just talking about, the Saint Johns River in Florida, Savannah, Charleston -- Charleston, like Miami, gets water that comes up on a good sunny day.

That`s climate change, because water levels are rising. So, on one hand, you have more intense storms because of warm weather and the patterns that caused these storms to form. And then you have got greater damage, because we have got rising water levels.

And it`s good that we talk about these things in the moment, because, lots of times, over the years, when I have brought it up, people said, oh, now`s not the time to talk about it.

REID: That`s right.

VELSHI: Well, now is the time to talk about it, because it`s the only time people are paying attention to how damaging these things are.

And that does mean taking into account how you build things and how you...

REID: Yes.

VELSHI: ... account for it, which is fine in places like Naples here, where you can build stuff that`s off the ground.

But what about in poorer areas, where people don`t have the money to rebuild?

REID: Yes.

VELSHI: What about what happened in New Orleans during Katrina?

So this is why we have to think about climate change in relation to severe weather, in relation to how people can actually mitigate it.

REID: And, by the way, Ali, we talk a lot about all of these things as separate stories. You do a brilliant job.

Everybody, if you guys aren`t watching "VELSHI" every weekend, you`re really missing out, because Ali brings all of this stuff together.

We`re talking about, when migration is happening around the world, a lot of that is also driven by this stuff.


REID: As these places that we have chosen to live, or where people have no choice but to live become inhospitable, what do people do? They move.


REID: If it`s inside Florida, when you have got to run from that water, you need to move. You need to move inland. You need to go inland.

VELSHI: That`s totally right.

REID: When Katrina happened, people moved. They went to Houston. Some of them did not go back.


REID: We`re not saying that`s going to happen now.

VELSHI: That`s right.

REID: But the reality is that humans, we`re literally running from what the climate -- from the climate change that we`re pretending isn`t happening.

But we`re physically being moved around the Earth because of it.

VELSHI: Absolutely right.

It will actually be the single biggest cause of migration.

REID: Yes.

VELSHI: We typically think of migration being caused by conflict and wars and things like that...

REID: Yes.

VELSHI: ... in Syria. It triggered it in Ukraine. That`s not going to be what it is.

It`s actually going to be migration because people can`t move. Generally speaking, prosperous people can move first, because they can afford to.

REID: Yes. Yes.

VELSHI: But, eventually, when the grain stops growing or the fields keep flooding, the poor people move too.

And we`re going to have to come to terms with the fact that that`s going to be the major cause for migration around the world and here in America.

REID: Yes.

VELSHI: It is really hard to live in places that get hit by tornadoes and get hit by hurricanes on an ongoing basis.

REID: Yes.

VELSHI: You can`t make a living out it.

REID: We...

VELSHI: So, that is a really, really important and necessary consideration.

REID: We -- I ought to have come back, because we could do a whole hour too on where, like, people with money choose to live, because they just live in some precarious situations too that are like low, low, low, low, low to the ground and are not enough off the earth here to survive this stuff.

It`s a whole `nother topic, though. We will do that another day.

Stay safe, my friend. You`re brilliant. Thank you very much, Ali Velshi. Always appreciate you.

VELSHI: Thank you.

REID: Thank you.

All right, let`s bring in Ellison Barber, who`s in Tampa.

OK, Ellison, it`s quiet. I don`t hear the sounds of rushing wind. But how are things there? Because I definitely hear rain.

ELLISON BARBER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, there`s definitely a steady flow of rain.

We have sort of seen kind of this fluctuation in the last couple of hours, where it felt like the wind was a lot more intense maybe an hour or two ago. Right now, you can see there`s some rain, but nothing too crazy. We did just in the last 40 minutes or so hear and see a transformer explode just past the tree line here.

It was in some ways a reminder of what officials in Tampa are telling people who live here right now, is, while some people might be feeling a little bit optimistic, saying OK, it looks like the cone of the hurricane has shifted, it looks like we`re not going to take a direct hit in Tampa here, there are still broad impacts to this storm.

And officials here have said repeatedly it will be felt in the Tampa area. They have told people who did not evacuate -- there were about 2.5 million people, well, in all of Florida -- here, though, around 300,000 people in this county alone that were told they should evacuate. They were under mandatory evacuation orders.

But, this afternoon, you had officials here saying, it`s too late. If you didn`t evacuate, you just need to stay in place and hunker down. One thing, Joy, that officials with the police department are sending notes out on right now is their frustration and concern that a lot of people in this area are going down towards the bay to sort of sightsee and look at where the tide has receded.

And they`re saying, hey, that is incredibly dangerous, because they still are expecting significant storm surge here -- Joy.


REID: Yes.

It`s not only -- it`s so ill-advised, because, then, if you get in trouble, that means somebody has to risk their life to rescue you. So please don`t do that. Don`t go and look. This is not a tourist thing. This is dangerous stuff. Weather is dangerous.

NBC`s Ellison Barber, stay safe. Thank you very much.

Let`s bring in NBC`s Jesse Kirsch in Orlando.

And I understand, Jesse, you are where the storm is headed. What is happening where you are?

JESSE KIRSCH, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and a perfectly timed wind gust coming through right now, Joy.

And you can see we have got what is really just a misting at this point. We have had some stronger bands of wind and rain coming through sporadically. It has definitely deteriorated here throughout the afternoon into the evening.

And what I want to stress is, what you`re seeing right now are just the northern bands of Ian. So we are still hours away from the worst impact of this storm here in the Orlando area. But, already, officials have made it clear they do not want people driving on the roads. They said the time for that was before 2:00 p.m. So, at this point, people should be where they are going to be riding out the storm.

The biggest threat here appears to be the rainfall. We are going to see wind gusts around 90 miles per hour potentially. But the bigger concern is the potential for more than two feet of rain. That could contribute to flash flooding, as Ian continues crawling across Florida.

And we have got more of those strong winds coming through. It has been sporadic so far. But, again, we are hours away from the worst of what we`re going to see here. Thankfully, so far, power outages are minimal compared to what we`re seeing on the West Coast of Florida. Our cell reception has been holding strong. But, again, at this point, officials do not want people on the move.

And for context of how strong these little bursts of wind -- and I say little because they are quick and short. And I haven`t seen anything too crazy so far. And I emphasize too crazy, because a couple wind gusts did catch my attention because I was sitting inside a Chevy Suburban, a massive SUV, and the car started to wobble a little bit, Joy.

REID: Wow. Yes, powerful winds, indeed.

Stay safe, NBC`s Jesse Kirsch. Thank you very much.

All right, and coming up: Storms like Hurricane Ian are only going to get stronger and more dangerous as the climate crisis progresses, as we were just talking about a short time ago. We will have more. We will talk more about that next.



REID: Back now with more breaking coverage of Hurricane Ian taking a devastating toll in Florida right now.

Joining me right now is Nick Nehamas, reporter for "The Miami Herald."

And you just saw that, Nick. I mean, there are a lot of people who rode it out. And that is -- that happens with every hurricane. Is there any sense, even if talking with city officials, of how many people in the affected areas might be in danger?

Do we have Nick? Oh, we don`t have Nick. OK, so that`s all right.

We`re going to we`re going to hold off because we don`t have Nick Nehamas yet, but I will just tell you -- oh, I think we got him. OK.

Nick Nehamas, do we have you? OK, Nick Nehamas, do we...

NICHOLAS NEHAMAS, "THE MIAMI HERALD": Yes. So sorry about that.

REID: No worries. No worries.


REID: So we just saw a clip, which I don`t know if you were able to see. And this was one of the couples who rode things out, tried to ride out the hurricane.

The water is now rising and rising and rising. This was earlier today, that video was. Hopefully, those folks are safe. But that is a story that we`re probably going to see a bit of.

Is there any sense of just how many people actually listened to the evacuation orders vs. how many tried to ride it out?

NEHAMAS: Yes, I mean, that is going to be the story in the next couple days.

We know that about 2.5 million people in these low-lying coastal areas -- mandatory evacuation orders. Now, that`s many, many fewer than in Hurricane Irma in 2017. And, in Hurricane Irma, we saw a real evacuation catastrophe, with people stranded on the highway for 20, 24 hours, gas shortages.

It was really (AUDIO GAP) seeing those kinds of jam on the highway this time.

REID: And did you get the sense -- I mean, there have been -- I`m just going through my list of the hurricanes going back to -- obviously, 1992 was the mother of all hurricanes, Category 5 Hurricane Andrew, which really changed the face and politics of Florida and particularly of South Florida.

You had Hurricane Charley in `04. You had Wilma in 2005, as you just mentioned, Hurricane Irma in 2017, and then Michael in 2018. Is there a sense that the current administration, the DeSantis administration, was prepared for something as catastrophic as this?

NEHAMAS: Well, I think everyone noticed that the governor was a little quiet in the days before the storm. But that has certainly changed.

Just on my drive down here, I saw a convoy of 15 to 20 utility trucks from Pennsylvania and Missouri making their way down here. There are not widespread gas shortages like last time. The highways have been clear. It seems like Florida was better prepared for really, I mean, as the governor said, could be a top five storm in the state`s history.


But we really won`t know how bad this is -- and it looks pretty, pretty bad, from what we`re seeing. I mean, this could be people without power for weeks, people`s homes destroyed...

REID: Yes.

NEHAMAS: ... a real potential refugee situation.

REID: Absolutely.

And I -- we do know that -- for those of you know Florida history, essentially, Jeb Bush`s career was made by hurricanes. I mean, he had this Craig Fugate, who was the greatest, probably, FEMA -- or local director for emergency management there really was.

I want to play President Biden, because he did issue a warning today. You mentioned gas prices. He issued a warning today to oil and gas companies. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to add one more warning. That`s a warning to the oil and gas industry executives. Do not -- let me repeat -- do not, do not use this as an excuse to raise gasoline prices or gouge the American people .



REID: And you`re mentioning that you`re not seeing spikes in gas prices, because I know that has been a thing when these disasters have happened.

So far, what you`re saying is, you`re not seeing any sort of spikes. But, I mean, it just started, right? So we have just begun this.


REID: Oh, I think the robots have gotten Nick.

NEHAMAS: We have just begun this.

And state officials and local state attorneys have (AUDIO GAP) I`m sorry -- that they will prosecute price-gouging if they`re presented with evidence of it.

REID: Got it.

All right, Nick Nehamas, thank you very much, and for putting up with all of our technical glitches. So thank you very much, sir.

Let`s bring in Eric Klinenberg, professor of social science at NYU.

Thank you for being here. I`m excited to talk to you, because this is -- this is a story that is about what happens when we make choices. I mean, there -- humans live in all sorts of places. And, in this case, there are a lot of low-lying parts of Florida that are vulnerable to these kinds of storms. And when they happen, there`s only one thing you can do.

You have to get up and you have to go. You have to move out. But you have seen, over the last few years, lots of stories about Florida making choices about whether to keep building in places that are low-lying. I know, in the Keys, there have been some buybacks of property to say, maybe it`s not a good idea to keep building there.

But it does feel like the movement into Florida, including into very low- lying places and places manmade, built out into the water, it`s actually accelerating.

ERIC KLINENBERG, PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL SCIENCE, NYU: It`s remarkable our will to keep on building in places we know are fragile and dangerous.

And so we have this formula for disaster right now where we have the sea level rising, we have hotter air, so we have all this energy to have storm systems tap into. They`re supercharged. And then we have more people in denser settlements with infrastructure that we`re not always building up appropriately.

And so we have created situations like this in a way that make them potentially more catastrophic. And we`re just going to have to see what happens.

REID: Yes, I mean, Florida is -- particularly the parts of Florida where this is impacting happen to be some of the fastest growing places in the country.

Florida`s population has skyrocketed. It`s continuing to surge.

And let me just show you. This is a map showing the storm surges that are on Cape Coral, just Cape Coral and Fort Myers alone. Hopefully, we have this. And this is just some video, that you can see it. This is what it looks like when water claims back land. And it`s terrifying to think about being in one of those places.

You see Fort Myers and Cape Coral right under that blue, when that blue is washing over it. Just in your expectation, afterwards, when the rebuilding starts, if insurance covers it -- because, by the way, insurance companies are fleeing the state -- what next?

Are we -- should we just expect more building?

KLINENBERG: Well, unfortunately, all the evidence we have tells us that we`re going to continue to rebuild and to build more.

In fact, there`s a world of people who are really serious about climate change who are suggesting we start to think about how we retreat productively to prevent catastrophes like this from happening. Instead, we continue to subsidize developments on a massive scale.

And, frankly, I don`t think it`s sustainable. One of the really big issues we have now is that, when there`s a disaster, whether it`s New Orleans or New York, we spend billions of dollars just building back what we had before. And, unfortunately, the Earth that we live on now is a different Earth. And the climate system we have is a different climate.

And so, if we build back what was there before, it`s just going to go under, whether it`s one year, five year, 100 years, that we need to build differently, we need to build smarter, and we can only do that if we take climate change seriously.

To be honest, I`m pretty concerned that, given the leadership in Florida right now...


REID: Yes.

KLINENBERG: ... they`re going to make some very bad decisions about what to do next.

REID: Yes, the previous governor who`s now the United States senator banned even the mention of climate change by his government.

And I`m not sure that the current governor is doing much different. It`s terrifying, but we are definitely praying for the folks down there. And, hopefully, people will be safe, and definitely that they moved in time.

Professor Eric Klinenberg, thank you very much.

We will be right back.


REID: All right, stay with MSNBC throughout the evening, as we continue to bring you live coverage of the devastating impact of Hurricane Ian in Florida.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

I now turn it over to my colleague and friend Chris Hayes -- Chris, off to you.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Thank you so much, Joy.

REID: Cheers.

HAYES: I really appreciate it.