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tv   The Week With Joshua Johnson  MSNBC  August 29, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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over. tonight, louisiana's governor, john bell edwards, is requesting a presidential major disaster declaration due to the severe impact of the storm. this hour, we learn that the power is out in all of new orleans due to catastrophic transmission damage to facilities from entergy. the new orleans sewer and water district has lost three power lines from entergy to run some of its drainage pumps. we'll keep an eye on that as well. plaquemines parish, we're hearing the levees on the east bank have overtopped. this area is currently under a mandatory evacuation. but any remaining residents are urged to seek higher ground. again, they have overtopped. we do not have word they have been damaged or breached. as you know, this afternoon, ida made landfall as a category 4 hurricane near pourt fourchon. it was a strong category 4 with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour. tonight, ida remains extremely dangerous as it makes its way through the bayou state. we're seeing the kind of damage
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along the gulf coast we expected from such a storm. it ripped the roof off the lady of the sea hospital in galliano which is south of new orleans. you can see the damage in louisiana there. tonight, as we mentioned, the power is out for hundreds of thousands of people. louisiana governor john bell edwards says his state's entire national guard is activated. more than 4,000 are out in support of the emergency effort, but officials are warning residents to prepare for at least three days of sheltering in place. this historic hurricane comes on the 16th anniversary of another historic hurricane, katrina. thankfully, officials expect the levees in the new orleans area to hold this time. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, i'm joshua johnson continuing our special coverage of hurricane ida. welcome to the week. >> let us begin with the latest on hurricane ida's path. meteorologist bill karins joins us now after a very long day,
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and bill, we just got the latest update from the national hurricane center, right? >> yeah, a tick lower. that's all we have been doing all day long. landfall was 150-mile-per-hour winds. we're now at 115. which is the lowest end of a category 3. so it's really incredible to think that landfall was at 1:00 eastern time. and now we're at 9:00 eastern time, eight hours later, it's still a major hurricane. that's incredible. that rarely ever happens. a lot of it is because it was stalled a little bit over the warm swampy waters of southern louisiana and it didn't weaken quickly because of that. now it's starting to weaken more quickly as its away from the swampy water and over the land to the west of new orleans and lake pontchartrain. the back side of the storm is starting to fall apart, but all of these feeder bands in the east will be a huge issue. the winds are going to start to come down. new orleans, you had your peak winds. they were in the 80-mile-per-hour range for most indicates. one news station they had a gust over 100. right now, they're in the 50 to
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70-mile-per-hour range. there's 750,000 people in louisiana right now without power. population of louisiana is about 4.5 million. so roughly 1 out of every 5 people in the state doesn't have power, and almost all of them are in new orleans and southeastern portions of the state. we'll get additional power outages tonight from hammond to baton rouge. this is where the strongest winds will be remaining. as far as the strongest gusts, at landfall, what a beast of a storm this was. you will see a lot of destruction of even well built structures with 140 to 150-mile-per-hour gusts in grand isle, and in new orleans, that 87 was at the airport. we still have the hurricane warnings extending into southern mississippi. tropical storm warnings go well into northern mississippi because the winds will still be up early tomorrow morning. we have a tornado threat until 7:00 a.m. in the morning. isolated tornadoes are possible in mississippi and even alabama. as far at the path goes, we take it tonight, drop it down to a tropical storm. by 1:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, near jackson, mississippi, that will probably be the end of it as a tropical system, then it
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will begin to be called an extra tropical system, kind of lake a regular storm, and then a big old rain maker all the way through southern new england come thursday afternoon. won't be a big wind event, but the flooding will be the issue. a high risk of flash flooding tonight in areas near new orleans. tomorrow, we're still going to watch the heavy rain. you have to remember, we had some significant flooding in the last couple weeks in areas of tennessee and we'll get a lot of rain there. flood watches up to nashville. 14 million people included in this. widespread, 3 to 5 inches of rainfall all the way up here to nashville, and eventually through kentucky, and remember, only a week ago that we had a tropical storm dump a ton of rain in southern new england. we even could get hit there with additional rain. joshua, yes, we're done with like the huge impacts with the storm surge and the high winds. but now we have to deal with what we would typically get with a strong storm. >> before i let you go, the resilience of the storm is wild.
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its ability to remain cohesive, to have a solid eyewall, ever since it made landfall, is pretty remarkable. what about the concern for tornadoes popping off the storm? especially the quadrant that's closest to new orleans. >> every tropical system is kind of different. some are very prolific at producing tornadoes, others not as much. so far, no confirmed tornadoes during the day, which is great. tomorrow could be different. tomorrow, we could get the sun coming out in between the feeder bands in mississippi and alabama. destabilize the atmosphere, the energy, and we could get additional tornadoes tomorrow. just because we made it through today without any tornadoes, doesn't mean we won't tomorrow. >> now let's get to the teams on the ground. nbc's morgan chesky is in houma, louisiana. ali velshi is in new orleans. miguel almaguer is in baton rouge. let's begin with you, morgan, just west of new orleans. a short time ago, ida has been passing through where you're standing. doesn't look quite as bad where you are right now. what's it look like?
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>> yeah, joshua, we haven't gotten a chance to really survey the extent of the damage here, simply because it was too dangerous to leave this concrete parking garage that we sought shelter in for the better part of this afternoon when ida made itself known, and the outer bands turned into the inner bands, and then that eyewall passed, incredibly close to us. we were looking at wind gusts well over 100 miles per hour here. and just before you toss to us here, i could hear debris being thrown around in the background still. that is the power that ida brought to this community. they knew they were right in the middle of the path. it stayed on track. we know about 60% of the people followed those mandatory evacuation orders. the fire chief here telling me that still left about 40% of the population here left to ride this out. power outages are widespread, just like in new orleans. and people for the most part have been hunkering down. we know that we're just now seeing first responders going throughout this area because
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they, too, had to seek shelter whenever this storm hit. and in fact, it could be significant. we know that right now, where i'm standing is barely ten feet above sea level. in neighboring morgan city, they sat just seven feet above sea level. and so when you have the storm surge combined with the incredibly high winds they faced here, they were going to be looking at significant damage. and right now, joshua, i can tell you there is a feeling of here we go again. because as we stand here on the 16th anniversary of katrina, they also got walloped by gustav in 2008. a lot of people rebuilding from that. and it's just been one hurricane after another. and so come tomorrow morning, when we finally get a chance to survey the damage, it's going to be an incredibly frustrating scene here in houma. >> yeah, it sounds like there's going to be a lot of different kinds of damage. we have seen different reports from different parts of louisiana of boats being knocked from their moorings and barges
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knocking into bridges. interesting to see the extent of the damage where you are. thank you, morgan chesky in houma, louisiana. let's make our way east to new orleans and ali velshi who is standing by in a somewhat less windy parking lot near harras casino. how does it look where you are, particularly since you're near a part of downtown new orleans that's very built up, right near a major casino resort, not far from the convention center. but the power had still been blinking on and off where you are despite all the tall solid structures around you. >> it's gone. the power is all gone. in fact, there's no light anywhere in downtown louisiana. the light you're looking at here on the white trucks behind me is coming from us. it's a generator. everything else is dark. right behind the trucks, across the road, not 100 feet from us, is the casino, completely in the dark. the convention center completely in the dark. we have a new problem here in louisiana. the first concern was flooding.
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morgan was talking about where he is above sea level. we're generally speaking below sea level. the french quarter is the highest point in the city. everything else is below sea level. so they spent $16 billion on improvements to levees, locks, gates, things like that to prevent the city from flooding like it did 16 years ago from today when hurricane katrina hit. we were worried about flooding. we're starting to see pooling in the streets, which we haven't seen all day. phones are going off with storm surge warnings. we thought we had a transformer blow at a power station right beside us. as that happened because the hotel we were operating out of went dark, what we didn't realize was going on was the entire city went dark. what you described as a catastrophic failure at entergy in their transmission lines. three of which, by the way, were going to the sewage system. so we got all sorts of new problems in new orleans that we didn't have one hour ago. one hour ago, we were thinking we have largely dodged this
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bullet here in new orleans. the winds were high. we had gusts, as i was talking to mehdi hasan and bill karins and alicia a little while ago, that looked like they were 70 or 75 miles per hour where i am. what we have seen in terms of damage in new orleans is not trees being uprooted because there's been so much rain and the ground is saturated. trees snapping in half, including one just on the other side of the building that i'm at. so there's a lot of damage around new orleans from trees. they were taking down power lines. that was causing a problem. but now, the city is dark. there's literally nothing to be seen that is lit in the city except buildings that might have generators or people with generators. one important thing to remember, a year ago, about this week, was hurricane laura. we side of louisiana. east side of texas. and more people died from that storm because of carbon monoxide
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poisoning, because they were running generators, putting them in their house. so that, too, becomes a concern. so louisiana did not get the eye of the storm. and that was what a ought of people were really thankful for, but we haven't seen what the effects of the rain are going to be overnight and this power outage, we don't know how long that goes out for, i don't know what a catastrophic failure means and how long it tames to repair, but new orleans is entirely dark. >> i hear you about that kind of multilayered problem of people just not being careful with generators, keeping them inside when they should absolutely, positively remain outside, regardless of the circumstances. thank you, ali. that's ali velshi from new orleans. let's continue to miguel almaguer in baton rouge, louisiana, which is expecting more of the storm, and the parish that baton rouge is partly in, east baton rouge parish, issued a curfew. that's the most populous parish in louisiana. orleans parish where ali is is the third most populous.
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what more can you tell us about how the city is preparing for the worst of the storm? >> yeah, joshua. curfew is under way for the general public. media is allowed to broadcast outside and keep people abreast of the situation here. i can tell you, the situation is deteriorating over the last couple hours. the winds here began to pick up as we started to hit the front bands of the hurricane. as bill karins alluded to earlier today, and as the mayor of the city told us just a couple hours ago, they expected baton rouge to be in the direct path of this hurricane. now, whether that materializes will still be yet to be seen over the next couple hours, we're expecting the situation here to continue to deteriorate. the city has about a quarter million people in it, nearly no one evacuated from the city. just about everyone, the mayor says, is hunkered down here, riding out the storm. a short time ago, before we came on air with you here, we did hear sirens in the background, some emergency vehicles appear to be out, but we were also told at about 50 miles per hour, the mayor said there would be no
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emergency services out for local cities. people would have to hunker down and wait until daybreak to get help if they needed it. now, we do expect some problems along the mississippi here as we continue to see what officials told us earlier today was actually the mississippi river moving in reverse because of the weather system that's coming in this area. now, they don't expect any large flooding from the mississippi. the river banks here are relatively safe. but the strong winds here are going to continue to be an issue over the next couple hours. you can hear things rattling around in the background. that's been happening over the past couple hours, and we expect that situation to intensify as the day goes around. >> it's interesting you mentioned the mississippi river. i should note that we have gotten some reports from the u.s. coast guard that at least 13 barges have broken away on different parts of the mississippi river. not necessarily where miguel is, but of course, that is another one of the threats that materializes from storms like this, that has the potential to knock out power, potentially sewage lines, other roadways. we'll see how extensive the
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damage is at first light tomorrow. that's miguel almaguer in baton rouge, louisiana. please stay safe. >> hurricane ida is just one of the stories we're monitoring. we're also watching the situation in afghanistan tonight. today, president biden traveled to dover air force base in delaware. he attended a ceremony called a dignified transfer. honor guards offloaded the remains of 13 service members. families watched the emotional tearful ceremony from a private area on the tarmac. the service members died on thursday in a suicide attack at the airport in kabul. here are their names and faces. the terror group isis-k committed that attack. and since then, the u.s. has carried out two air strikes against isis-k. one strike overnight hit a vehicle that u.s. central command says was loaded with explosives. other media outlets report that civilians were killed during the strike. nbc news has not independently verified those reports. but in a statement they responded, quote, we are still
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assessing the results of the strike. we know that there were substantial and powerful subsequent explosions resulting from the destruction of the vehicle, indicating a large amount of explosive material inside that may have caused additional casualties, unquote. the air strike came after a dire warning yesterday that all americans should evacuate the airport because of a specific credible threat. evacuations continue as the august 31st deadline gets closer. and the u.s. has begun to pull out its remaining diplomatic personnel on the ground, according to a state department memo. but time is running out, and after this tuesday, getting american citizens and our allies in kabul is going to be harder. joining us are dana petard, the author of hunting the caliphate, america's war on isis. and ambassador michael mcfaul, former u.s. ambassador to russia and author of "from cold war to hot peace." gentlemen, good to have you with us. general, let me start with you.
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we noted a spokesman for centcom cited the additional explosions after the strike as indication that there was explosive material there, presumably that they targeted the thing that they intended to target and hit their target. what do you make of where things stand now after these strikes? >> well, again, joshua, thank you for having me this evening. the strikes in themselves probably helped prevent a bombing. it sounded like there were secondary explosions, which would indicate that there was bombing material there or material to make a bomb. but the single strikes won't make a whole lot of difference. i was involved in hundreds of drone and air strikes in the fight against isis, and it's going after a network that has the most effect. following a strike with another strike is the most fundamental way and effective way to get to
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isis-k. >> ambassador mcfaul, let me get your reaction to some of what the national security adviser jake sullivan had to say. he was making the rounds this morning. here's part of what he said about what happens after tuesday's deadline. watch. >> august 31st is not a cliff. after august 31st, we believe that we have substantial leverage to hold the taliban to its commitments to allow safe passage for american citizens, legal permanent residents, and the afghan ally whose have travel documentation to come to the united states. we will use that leverage to the maximum extent, and we will work with the rest of the international community to insure the taliban does not falter on these commitments. >> substantial leverage, ambassador. i'm not sure what leverage the u.s. has over the taliban at all right now. is there something i'm not seeing? >> first, joshua, thanks for having me. i want to start just by thanking the families of the american
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heroes that lost their lives to continue the mission at hand. and i applaud the biden administration for continuing the mission. they did not stop the mission as a result of a terrorist attack. that's important to remember. and that we're now up to 114,000 out, including 5,000 americans in the last two weeks, that is a significant accomplishment. but the plan does not end the evacuation does not end, jake sullivan just said it, on august 31st. it means we now have to go to other modalities to get out literally thousands, maybe tens of thousands of afghans that have been working with the united states over the last 20 years. i want to explain who these people are. i think they're not understood very well. these are people that have been working with american funded ngos to promote the rule of law, to promote women's rights, to promote democracy, independent media. they're normatively very committed to our values, and that's what makes them so dangerous to the taliban.
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that's what put targets on their heads. so the government, and i applaud them, they have said it's not going to end august 31st. it means it's going to be something different. they have not told us what the other modalities are. i hope they remain committed to getting everybody out who was with us over the last 20 years. >> general, what about you? what do you think about this leverage that the biden administration says it has to try to exact or to get any more cooperation from the taliban? it feels like the leverage is the capacity for somebody at the pentagon to basically throw a dart at somebody over the horizon and hit them drone strike style the way we have done so far. i'm not sure what other leverage or deterrent the u.s. really has right now. >> well, joshua, that's the reality. we have very little leverage. and whatever leverage we had is surely leaving with our military capability that is departing right now. you know, i agree with much of
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what the ambassador just said. with the exception that the plan as far as withdrawal was poorly planned. when troops ended up abandoning afghanistan, and that's what we did, we abandoned afghanistan, at that time, the plan to evacuate civilians, americans, as well as our afghan allies didn't appear to be a part of it. it became a part of it after we withdrew the troops and had to send more troops back in. since then, after that stumble, a lot of good things have happened. the evacuation of 114,000 civilians is a significant accomplishment. but we still have problems with timing. and what is the strategic vision for the future. we have very little leverage. we have a little economic leverage. supposedly, the taliban wants to be a part of the family of nations. so we'll see what happens. we have very little leverage at
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this point. >> ambassador, one more clip i would like you to react to, the secretary of state, antony blinken, who was on "meet the press" this morning, talking about what the taliban's future relationship with the world might be after this deadline. watch. >> nothing has been promised to the taliban. to the contrary, we have made very clear, and not just us, country upon country around the world, have made clear that there are very significant expectations of the taliban going forward. if they're going to have any kind of relationship with the rest of the world. starting with freedom of travel. but then going on to making sure that they're sustaining the basic rights of their people, including women and girls. making sure they're making good on commitments they have repeatedly made on counterterrorism, and having some inclusivity in governance. >> before we go, ambassador, you are an expert on russia. i think i would be more inclined to thorough belief the secretary of state if russia and china had not already stepped up to the
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taliban and said, you know, we would like to do business with you. you have all kinds of things we can partner on, possibly help finance the rebuilding of your country, and by the way, there are some wonderful minerals in the ground that maybe we might be able to work out a deal on extracting. i think if that was not in play, maybe this assurance that the international community says it has from the taliban might feel meatier, but nations like russia and china seem like they're giving the taliban another way to be part of the community of nations. >> that's a great point in the long run. and i don't think anybody should be so arrogant as to predict what afghanistan is going to look like in three to five years. i most certainly am not. in the short term, we need to get our people out. we need to get our allies out. and the statement that came out by the united states, signed by 97 other countries, holding the taliban accountable for getting those people out, and let's be clear about this. we are using the word leverage.
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i'm not so sure it's in the taliban's interest to have these people left in their country either. remember, it was isis-k that attacked us, not the taliban. why does the taliban want democracy and human rights activists in their country? actually, i think our interests in the short run are aligned. i just don't know what the plan is for getting those people out. that's the part that i think is mysterious after august 31st. >> major general dana petard, michael mcfaul, thank you both very much. >> gulf coast hospitals are bracing for injuries after the storm even though they're overwhelmed with covid patients. two doctors on the front lines will join us, next. i'm evie's best camper badge. but even i'm not as memorable as eating
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hurricane ida batters the gulf coast, hospitals in the region are bracing for public health emergencies on two fronts. they are preparing to treat storm-related injuries while continuing to care for a surge
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of patients battling covid. new orleans is in the middle of a severe outbreak. the louisiana department of health confirmed nearly 3500 new cases as of friday. nearly 3,000 people are currently hospitalized state-wide with covid. for more on how hospitals are coping, let's bring in dr. durrani, an emergency medicine physician in houston, and dr. mark klein, physician in chief at children's hospital new orleans. good to have you both with us. dr. klein, let me start with you. how are you all holding up this evening? >> joshua, we're doing pretty well, i think. it's been a long day. we have been locked down since about 7:00 this morning. that means that we have had a team of professionals, doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and many others here in the hospital, taking care of patients and their families. and within the four walls of the building, activity has been very much sort of normal day to day type activity.
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outside, of course, is another story. but everybody is working very hard and doing a good job. and i think that we're in good shape tonight. >> dr. durrani, how much are doctors where you are preparing to receive perhaps overflow patients from the hurricane? we saw a lot of that in, say, hurricane katrina, where there were a number of people who fled west from louisiana into the houston metro area. how much are you expecting to see any kind of impacts from the storm where you are? >> yeah, the unfortunate reality is because all of the hospitals are full, louisiana wasn't able to evacuate a lot of their critically ill patients inland or to neighboring states. what we are expecting to see is a lot of patients coming in from louisiana who may not have their blood pressure medications or their insulin and have out of control diabetes or high blood pressure and preparing for them to make sure that we can treat their conditions, make sure we stabilize them, and you know, try to keep them out of the
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hospitals, which are already full here in texas and elsewhere. >> doctor, i want to make sure we don't glaze over the point you're making. texas has gigantic medical centers. texas medical center in houston, i mean, there's so much hospital bed capacity in these gigantic complexes, that if they are full, they must be bursting at the seams with more people than they can handle. >> absolutely. you know, in addition to working in houston, i work at some critical access hospitals and these hospitals are built to stabilize patients and transfer them to these tertiary care centers. we haven't been able to do that. i worry about the same hospitals in louisiana seeing traumatic injuries and other downstream effects of the hurricane, and they're going to be essentially stuck with these patients as well. they're going to stabilize them to the best of their ability, but there's going to be nowhere to transfer them. on a shift the other day, i was at one of these hospitals and we needed a life-saving medicine,
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and we had a courier who brought it from houston. it's going to be unfortunately a tough few days. >> dr. klein, give me a sense of what you're expecting after the storm has passed. it seems like, and correct me if i'm wrong, you're dealing with covid cases where you have children who are dealing with long term issues. possibly on ventilators, needing care until they come around. then, as always happens after hurricanes, you're going to have a bunch of acute emergency cases. physical injuries, you know, possibly people who have got, you know, electrocution injuries from downed power lines or people who slipped off roofs or who get waterborne diseases. it feels like you're going to deal with a rouge array of things all at once at the worst possible time. >> yeah, you said it very well, joshua. you know, we will see the usual garden variety conditions that bring children to the emergency
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department and our outpatient clinics. covid has been a big component of that over the past couple months. about 20% of the children that we see on an outpatient basis in louisiana today are covid positive. and then in addition, we will be seeing children who have been injured or who are ill in the aftermath of hurricane ida. you know, we literally saw no patients in our emergency department today because we were shut down. no one could come in or go out. but we'll see what happens in the ensuing days. i think it's important to remind people that there are a lot of hazards out there in the aftermath of a hurricane, in addition to downed tree limbs and debris here and there, you have power lines to worry about and deep water in particular locations. and so we want people to shelter in place until the conditions
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are right. but even then, they're going to have to be extremely cautious when they head out. children in particular are going to be vulnerable to being injured under those circumstances. >> before i have to let you go, dr. klein, do you feel like the city's experience from dealing with hurricane katrina, hurricane laura last year, the storms that have happened since katrina, have made it more able to deal with this kind of multi-headed disaster than perhaps it might have been before katrina? >> i think so, joshua. you know, i wasn't here when katrina struck 16 years ago, but from what i can see, the infrastructure is far better today. certainly, the flood prevention infrastructure that the city and the region has, but also the infrastructure of the hospitals, and i think the state of readiness of the hospitals is considerably better today. i saw that in the planning phase leading up to this hurricane. so i have lived on the gulf
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coast and worked in houston and new orleans for virtually my entire career, and i was quite impressed with the planning that the hospitals did. and i think that it's been reflected in how things have turned out today. >> oh, last few seconds, dr. klein. power has been steady where you are? you haven't had any outages? >> so, we really have lost city power entirely. we're working on backup generators right now. i'm in kind of a makeshift area here. the patient care areas are secure regarding power. the nonessential areas of the hospital are dark. >> got you. dr. mark klein and dr. durrani in houston. thank you very much. do stay safe. >> bill karins is back to update us on ida just ahead. stay close.
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the gulf on track to reach baton rouge. nbc meteorologist bill karins is back with one more update for us. bill, i understand we have more advisories related to flash flooding to worry about. >> for the first time under a flash flood emergency for the national weather service. they put that out for the new orleans area. immediately, you're like uh-oh, new orleans under flash flood emergency. the levees are fine. it's because of the heavy rainfall and the pumps are struggling in a few areas to keep up. that was expected. they said that leading up to this, if we get the anticipated foot of rain and the incredible rainfall rates, pumps might not be able to keep up. we had one inch of rain reported in the last hour at new orleans international airport. that's one of the reason, the torrential rain bands. the eye is just off the screen here, and that's continueing the feeder bands right over the top of new orleans. and that's why we have had the exceptional rainfall amounts over the last couple hours. that was expected. we were expecting around 6:00 p.m. the peak winds.
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peak rainfall was supposed to be from earlier this evening through 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m., and then the rainfall will hopefully begin to taper off. the eye is about to go over the top of reserve. you're going to go through the eye. it has a gust of 75. we're still getting hurricane gusts out of this. baton rouge, 45-mile-per-hour winds. i think you're on the good side, the weaker side, i should say. and new orleans, we just had a gust at 90 miles per hour. if that's true, that sensor is still working, that would be the strongest wind gust yet in the new orleans area. that's at the airport. that's pretty impressive. there still is wind damage being done. i was looking at one of the energy maps for new orleans. i would say maybe 3%, 4% of the people still have power. moe people now that the sun has set, it's dark, and of course, you lose your power, your air conditioning is no longer working. if you have been to new orleans, that air is heavy and it's thick. it's tropical air mass, obviously. so people are sitting there in their beds tonight looking at their phones hoping their batteries stay charged as long
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as they can, and yeah, it's going to get humid and hot, and it's not going to be pleasant. as the storm continues to go northward, we'll continue to watch that heavy rainfall threat, too. along with it, the tornado threat. we haven't had any reported tornadoes, but we'll see how that plays out throughout the night, all the way through mississippi, alabama, even a section of florida has a chance of getting tornadoes too, and that path will take it to mississippi. we're kind of getting to the point in the storm now, the sun has set. we're not going to get any new video in. we have already see pictures of what people could gather, but our correspondents have only been able to look around their blocks. storm chasers only got around a little bit. we don't know the extent of the damage yet. and a lot of people are fearful of what it's going to look like. we have it kind of like a fog of war, the night, it's not until tomorrow, maybe even tomorrow afternoon that we will get a good feel of just how bad ida was. >> i want to repeat, though, something you said in terms of the concern about flash flood warnings and we do not have any reports of any kind of damage that has sent water over levees.
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>> there's different levels. they'll give flash flood advisories and then flash flood warnings and then flash flood emergencies. typically when they give a flash flood emergency, it means dire, life-threatening situation. get out if you can. they can't get out. hopefully you're in a safe spot, but that's the highest warning they can give to people. if people don't have power in new orleans, they're sitting there in their dark houses and their phones probably all beeped with this flash flood emergency, and i'm sure it sent a lot of people into a panic thinking is it the levees. it's not, the pumps are just struggling right now. >> i just wanted to make sure we repeated that. bill karins, you had a super long day. i appreciate you staying with us. although some of the things we have been talking about with regard to the nature of the storm, we want to bring up with our next guest. let's continue now with paul olrec, an associate professor of regional and global climate modeling at the university of california davis. professor, welcome to the program. >> hi, joshua. pleasure to be here. >> some of what we have been
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discussing has had to do with the dramatic nature of the storm, the way it has formed. its ability to retain its cohesion. hours and hours after making landfall. what do you see when you look at hurricane ida? does anything stand out to you? >> hurricane ida is a really impressive storm. it's yet another reminder, i think, of the fury nature can throw at us. we got a little lucky in some cases when it comes to hurricane ida. it's fortunate it's passing to the west, i would say, rather than to the east like hurricane katrina did. and as a consequence, we're probably going to be seeing less damage and less topping of the levees like we did during katrina as well. but there's a lot to worry about what we're seeing with ida as well. the rain rates are intense. and i think that's been kind of a key story when it comes to ida. to the amount of precipitation that's coming off this beast is outstanding. >> how concerned are you in terms of the motential for it to spin off tornadoes?
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>> it's a good question, i would say. with ida, and it's really difficult in order to predict with absolute certainty as to where and when perhaps those tornadoes may be coming off. i would say that people just need to be careful in this case. >> this has been a busy season. even with ida in the gulf, there is tropical depression ten. there's tropical storm julian that just formed. there's another disturbance that is off the coast of the carolinas, whether or not that's going to materialize remains to be seen, but it seems like the tropics are as active as we expected. what do you see in terms of the longer term trends? the year to year trends of what our hurricane seasons are looking like? >> so there's been a lot of work done on what to expect into the future when it comes to these hurricanes, as well as looking to the past. the overall trends and the frequency of hurricanes are often difficult to pick out because we have so -- there's so
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many variabilities on a year to year basis, and a lot is connected to just natural oscillations that exist within the climate system. into the future, though, we do have pretty high confidence in terms of what to expect from our atlantic hurricane season. we're expecting more intense storms. we're expecting a lot more precipitation from those storms. but there is some indication as well that maybe in terms of total number of storms we might see a slight decrease in the overall frequency even while we see an increase of the more intense storms. >> so more rain from the storms. more intense storms, but just fewer incidents of it. how much of this, and i don't know if we can suss this out yet, but how much would we attribute to climate change as opposed to, as you mentioned, those normal oscillations? the sort of normal periods of storms being more intense for a while, less intense for a while. what's the balance of each as best we can tell? >> so to date, we had about one degree celsius of total global temperature rise, and we have seen that reflected pretty
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clearly in terms of these gulf of mexico temperatures. and that contributes to about one would expect 7 to 10% in terms of the overall mean change of precipitation. however, if you look at certain special cases, things like hurricane harvey, because of how it stalled and sat over top of houston, you basically got about 30 to 40% increase in precipitation from what we would have anticipated without climate change. in the case of hurricane florence, we saw probably about a 10% increase in total amount of precipitation. when it comes to hurricane ida, i wouldn't be surprised if it is pretty much in the 10% to 20% increase compare today preindustrial. >> before i let you go, for people who live along the gulf coast, who see the increasing intensity of these storms but hope, believe, pray, have their fingers crossed that they can still make this area their home, that this area will remain habitable for at least some of the foreseeable future, what would you say to them? >> we just have to be really careful, particularly when it comes to the coast.
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we are seeing sea level rise. we have seen eight incheses of sea level rise already. to date because of climate change, and we're going to see more and more storm surge, more intense storms coming in and more rainfall. with precipitation and water responsible for 90% of the fatalities associated with any sort of hurricane event, you need to be really careful when it comes to being around the water. and as long as we have infrastructure we're building up and as long as we're adapting and paying attention to these trends, then we can hopefully stay on top of it. but i personally wouldn't be buying any coastal real estate right now. >> uc davis professor paul ulric, we appreciate your insights. we'll check in with reporters in louisiana when our special coverage of hurricane ida continues. for what you need. sorry? limu, you're an animal! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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a 4k streaming box. -for free! that's because you all have the same internet. xfinity xfi. so powerful, it keeps one-upping itself. can your internet do that? tonight 12k3w4r50eu6r7b8g9sdz . rescue crews are on the tpwroupbd but officials say it could take up to three days to reach some of the affected aeurb kwrauz. joining us now is david mitchell, a reporter for the baton rouge advocate. i am seeing a tweet from the mayor saying that there's preventative work being done to close the underpass and asking people to use emergency routes
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for hospitals and looks like the city is trying to do the last bits of shoring up it can before ida gets there? >> yeah, thanks for having me. that's one of the more well-known areas, and we have under passes that tends to flood when it rains hard and that's probably a last-minute move they are making before things start getting flooded. we have seen people making preparations for the last several days, and i can't tell you how many times we have heard the words hunker down the last few days, and category 4 gets peoples' attention. baton rouge, we have been watching the storm come at us all day. we're now starting to really feel it. i am sitting here at my house, and you may not be able to hear it on tv, but it's blowing
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outside. i don't know how hard it is, but it sounds hard. >> tell us about baton rouge, and people know about new orleans, but not baton rouge, and are there areas that are of particular concern because of ida where there's being extra work being done to shore them up and protect then and get them evacuated, that the city is putting extra attention on? >> baton rouge, even though it's on the river, a majority of the city drains into something called the amy river, which is a smaller river to the east. the city is also grown in that direction, and you have a lot of development in low lying areas where all the water also drains, so that has been an ongoing sort of policy conflict about where to build and how to drain with infrastructure, and we had a significant flood here in 2016
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that caused extensive flooding not only in baton rouge and that stirred up how do we grow and how do we plan for that? another storm like this, frankly, is giving people bad ptsd from 2016 because of how devastating that flooding was for us. we have not quite seen a lot of rain, at least not in baton rouge, and we have not seen a lot but the meteorologists have promised we are going to get it and it remains to be seen how significant that flooding will be. we have housing and development in low lying areas that could be affected by high water basins, and that could be the area watch as it rains in hard hit areas.
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>> what about covid? how hard has that hit baton rouge and how has that factored into the relief effort after the storm is gone? >> well, we had a pretty severe fourth wave in baton rouge, really in the entire state. some of that was due to low vaccination rates, frankly, and that has affected the hospitals, and we have had hospital officials all over the state urging people to get vaccines for weeks if not months, and we're starting to come off that peak and it's coming down, and the governor said today that that has dropped, and capacity in hospitals are at a real all-time high and they don't have the a lot of room to work with if there's a lot of injuries because of the hurricane, and if we had social distancing we have shelters and
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people are being told they have to be social distancing and masked up, and they have to make the best of it because they need shelter, and it complicates things in a lot of ways, and rescues and stuff like is that a whole other dimension. >> i can only imagine. mr. mitchell, thank you for making time for us and please stay safe. ali velshi will join me next here on msnbc. feel the power of contrast therapy, so you can rise from pain. i suffered with psoriasis for so long. it was kind of a shock after i started cosentyx.
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full prescription-strength? reduces inflammation? thank the gods. don't thank them too soon. kick pain in the aspercreme. i am joshua johnson in new york with ali velshi joining us in new orleans. janessa, what can you tell us? we'll get to janessa webb in just a minute. we are going to bring you back to ali velshi in just a moment. hurricane ida made landfall this afternoon, and currently remains a strong


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