This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 8, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a "Fox News Alert." First, our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends in the state of Florida. Why? They are in the direct path of a massive hurricane, Hurricane Irma. Now, this could strengthen into a devastating Category 5 storm by the time this hits the state on Sunday morning. Now, officials in Florida have asked 5.6 million people to evacuate. Now, the state's governor, Rick Scott, is now warning residents to get out now before it's too late. Please listen.
Joining us on the ground in Miami is our own Steve Harrigan. Steve, I see the wind building. Is it from the storm or a little separate and apart?
STEVE HARRIGAN, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Sean, this is really the start of things here. The wind has picked up each hour, no rain yet, but already Biscayne Bay off to my left is topping over the walls here.
There's a real sense of fear when you talk to people across Florida, especially here in this Miami area. They are afraid that a destructive, deadly storm is on the way. No matter where it makes landfall, everyone in south Florida especially is going to be hurt by this.
And they are also fearful of the decisions they have to make now, many of them waiting until the last minute to make it. It's a bad decision. Either stay in your home, which could be destroyed by the wind or completely under water by the surge, or get on the road, get on the highway. 5.6 million people have been asked to evacuate. That's double the previous largest storm evacuation. And they're being asked basically to get on two roads and to drive the entire state of Florida because that's the only safe place to be, out of the state entirely, either on the Florida turnpike or on I-95 headed north.
On both those roads, there's been a lot of problems, shortages of gasoline, shortages of hotels. Sometimes, you move along at a 5-mile-per-hour clip. There's a real fear that you could be trapped on the highway during the storm. So stay or go, it is tough for both sides in this.
And the Category 4 storm could really wreak havoc here in Florida. That means it's going to tear roofs off, uproot trees, and the surge, too, with 10 inches of rain could do tremendous damage.
Officials are vowing to do everything in their power to save lives, but there are limits to what can be done during the storm. Officials have said during the first 72 hours, you may be on your own. Sean, back to you.
HANNITY: All right, Steve, we'll be checking in all throughout the night.
We now go to Rick Leventhal. He is in Daytona Beach, Florida. Rick, calm before the storm.
RICK LEVENTHAL, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Sean. It's very quiet here in Daytona Beach tonight. A mandatory evacuation order went into effect for the beach at 5:00 o'clock this afternoon. Anyone in low-lying areas in Volusia County, anyone in a manufactured or mobile homes was told they should have already gotten out, and if they haven't yet, they should pack up their stuff tonight and tomorrow morning move it to one of the 21 shelters that are opening tomorrow across this county.
They're expecting the conditions to get worse and worse tomorrow afternoon into tomorrow night. Around midnight or later, tropical storm-force winds should start kicking up here in Volusia. And those will accelerate into hurricane-force winds by sometime late Sunday. Perhaps 48 hours from now, we're told to expect hurricane-force winds here, also a 3 to 5-foot storm surge and rain 8 to 15 inches. And there's just nowhere for that water to go.
So they're expecting localized flooding. A lot of streets should be under water. Trees will come down. Power lines will come down. And residents need to be ready for that. Help could be slow to arrive because of the emergency conditions that could exist across this entire state. So people have been boarding up. People have been filling sandbags, trying to get ready for this storm.
The biggest concern for the Volusia County sheriff, he said, is the possibility of having to make rescues during the middle of a hurricane, which is one reason they put a curfew in place. Starting at 4:00 PM on Sunday, they are encouraging people not to venture outside.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL CHITWOOD, VOLUSIA COUNTY SHERIFF: We're still on the, quote, end quote, "dirty end" of the storm, of the hurricane. So wind and rain are going to be a major factor to us. And of course, you always have somebody who does something stupid, and now it puts my responders in danger because they have to go out and save that person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVENTHAL: Sean, all of these oceanfront hotels are either closed already or are kicking out all their guests as of tomorrow morning. And the bridges are all going to close between the beach and the mainland on Sunday morning, when the winds get to a certain speed. So anyone who's still on the beach as of Sunday, late Sunday morning, early Sunday afternoon, will have to stay on the beach until this storm passes, which probably will be sometime Monday or Tuesday, Sean.
HANNITY: All right, Rick, you stay safe, as well, my friend. Thank you.
Adam Housley -- he is in Key Largo, Florida. Adam, what's going on there?
ADAM HOUSLEY, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Sean, the first evacuation orders, of course, were here in the Keys. Most people did get out. In fact, we met a lot of people in the last couple of days who didn't get out before, and said, this time, they're going to take the warning seriously. They're going to leave.
The roads here are still open. For the most part, there are no cars on the roads. Most people who wanted to leave did do so. The last buses to take evacuees off the islands are already gone. So now, if you want to get off, you either got to hitch a ride or find your own car, if you have one, to get off. Most people are basically here to stay at this point.
We're in the last place that we know of open on the Keys, Tower of Pizza. And Anastasia Agelis, I know your family's been here for 30 years. I've got to ask you, you guys stayed open -- I know right now, everything is nice and calm here, but of course, it's all going to change. We're expecting tropical storm winds tomorrow by 2:00 o'clock at the latest.
ANASTASIA AGELIS, TOWER OF PIZZA RESTAURANT: Yes. Yes. We're all scared, but we're all sticking together and doing our best.
HOUSLEY: You know, some people might say that you guys are crazy for staying here. But with the whole state under evacuation, did you have any other options?
AGELIS: Oh, I think they do think we're crazy. We did have options, but we thought it's best for us to stay here, stick together as a family and do our best.
HOUSLEY: And you do have a Cat 5 -- a Category 5 location, basically, a home that's been built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, right?
AGELIS: Yes, we do. Yes. It's next door, and we'll be safe there.
HOUSLEY: And the last question -- what have the locals said to you that have been coming in the last day? You see a lot of locals that normally would have stayed who decided not to.
AGELIS: Yes. Most of them are gone. Some of them are staying, but most of them are gone. They changed their minds.
HOUSLEY: All right, good luck.
Sean, you know, we also talked to the sheriff's department here, and they were just -- went out on a call a few moments ago. They told us that they're getting a ton of calls right now from welfare checks, basically, family from outside of the state of Florida calling here to the Keys, trying to urge them to go out and convince their family members to leave. So they're having to do that besides their other calls, as well.
Once the sustained winds get up to 45 or 50 miles an hour here in the Keys, they're not going to go out anymore except for absolute emergency situations.
So Sean, we're starting to feel the wind here, as well. By this time tomorrow night, we're going to be in the thick of it -- Sean.
HANNITY: All right. Thanks a lot, Adam. I checked in with my friend, the sheriff in Lee County and him and his deputies in Carmine (ph) -- they all were getting ready very, very early in the game, getting homeless people off the street as early as two days ago. So it seems like the state was -- was beyond prepared. The governor really got the word out, and it seems like everybody did the right thing, and those that were asked to leave, left, right?
HOUSLEY: Yes, absolutely. I mean, they did a great job down here in the Keys. Monroe County sheriff is here, and they were tell us that, you know, they were surprised about how many people actually took the warnings. There's been a lot of preparation here. Sean, yesterday, we saw a lot of emergency services already on the Keys, pre-staging for when this thing -- once it moves through, so they can get out and do some of those rescues. So yes, they're as prepared as you're going to be with a Category 5 hurricane coming through here, at least in this area we've been the last couple of days.
HANNITY: All right, last question. They were having problems, and the governor rightly reached out to neighboring states to lift their different regulations as it relates to getting gasoline and fuel into the state, as well as replenishing and stocking the stores that literally were empty at one point. Did all of -- did the stores get restocked? Did the gas get in so the people could get out?
HOUSLEY: Down here, yes. To the southern tip, we've been over in Florida City just across the bridge and here in this area on the Keys. They got gas. They got water. It's all closed up now, but up until last night and even early this morning, there were still some places open. So if people needed gas, needed water, they had it. They had enough to get out. And right now again, Sean, basically, it all comes down to, Hey, are you -- have you prepared? If you're going to stay, you know, you're basically here to stay at this point. And you better prepare it, and they're going to do what they can to help you, but there's no guarantees.
HANNITY: All right, Adam, stay safe, my friend. We'll be watching all weekend long.
Bryan Llenas -- he's live in Miami tonight. Really, we're talking about right at the heart of where we expect this is going to hit. That along with the southwestern coast, Naples, Ft. Myers, and of course, the eastern side of Florida and the whole state, of course, will be engulfed by this. What's going on there, Bryan?
BRYAN LLENAS: Hi, Sean. Well, look, right behind me is the port of Miami completely closed off. This is the largest passenger port in the entire world, really. And they're -- it is just completely shut down.
If you come to look over here on this side, we'll start seeing some of the boats here. The big concern, storm surge. This is Bayside. This is an area that normally on a Friday night, would be packed with people, those boats there bringing people towards some of the largest homes and most expensive properties. They are tied and double tied, but we are expecting anywhere from 3, 6-foot, if not more, depending on the full track of this storm, of water to maybe just really breach this wall.
And if you could look at the shops there, the Bayside shopping, there's the police tape. Nothing is boarded up. Nothing's boarded up. And if you look over here behind me -- maybe we can get a shot at the condo buildings. This is a mandatory evacuation zone -- 660,000 people evacuated -- evacuated in Miami-Dade County, the largest in its history. There still people in those condos.
They still have some time to leave, but that window is really short because come tomorrow, once those tropical storm winds start hitting at 35 miles an hour plus, no rescue crews will be on the roads. And that is why the governor, Rick Scott, is asking people to make the decision tonight, to get to where you need to be, and it better not be at a hotel because they're likely booked unless you have a reservation. So either find yourself in a shelter or make those preparations now.
Look, at 155 miles an hour, we're talking 20, 30, 40 stories above the ground, that's just infinitely worse up there. It's more than that, the gusts. And so they don't want you there at all. And so that's the message here, to get people out as quickly as they can.
A lot of comparison here, Sean, to Hurricane Andrew. This is going to be bigger and larger not only because of the size but remember, Hurricane Andrew, when it made landfall was in Homestead, Florida. That was not downtown Miami in terms of the full throttle of that storm. That was only 30 miles -- was 30 miles wide, was that eye where it was fully destructive. We're talking a lot larger space here.
This is the first time this city down here is going to face this type of storm. And so they're urging people to leave, that water expected fully to come at least -- at least through here, for sure -- Sean.
HANNITY: Hey, Bryan, I hope these people will heed that warning. We're looking at the lights on behind you. Are you certain people are still in there, or maybe some just left the lights on?
LLENAS: I can't say for sure because I didn't go in that building, but I can tell you that the hotel we're staying at, which is down the block her -- that hotel is still -- down on the other side of the island there, just as threatened by water. It's still fully functional and open.
We spoke to people at the supermarket, at the Publix that closed at 8:00 PM. No more food for people. People said they were staying. Some people-- and that were in evacuation zones. Others were leaving. A little bit of a mixed bag inside that supermarket. So while I can't say for sure that it's 100 percent not (INAUDIBLE) given what we've seen today, we've seen that people are -- are really set on staying.
We haven't really had that storm. I grew up down here, and everyone said that storm was coming and it never really hit that hard except for Wilma. And I went through that, and that was Category 3. This is something we've never experienced before. And so there's a lot of people new to Florida here. That is why I think we're hearing the governor and other state officials really plead with people to listen. And you got some people that are Miami-Dade for life and they just say they're going to stay in their homes, that they've ridden everything, including Andrew. But we'll see, Sean.
HANNITY: All right, thanks so much, Bryan.
I know there are weather warriors out there. I know that they think they can ride this out. Listen, from the bottom of my heart, I urge you, don't worry about the property. Make sure you protect your lives and your family. Please. All right, thanks so much, Bryan.
And Adam Klotz -- he's is in the Fox News Extreme Weather Center. He has the very latest on the path of Hurricane Irma. Adam, what's going on there?
ADAM KLOTZ, FOX METEOROLOGIST: Hey, there, Sean. The eyewall of this storm at this hour now running right on the northern coast of Cuba, winds still very strong at 155 miles an hour. You're looking at a pretty consistent west movement of 12 miles an hour.
From here, we're expecting this thing to hug the coast of Cuba, move up the coast here a little bit before making a turn tomorrow, going back out over sea and then running its way towards south Florida here by the end of the weekend.
Here's how that's set up. Currently a Category 4 storm, but pay attention to this. The water between Cuba and south Florida very warm. It could pick up a little additional intensity. Maybe those wind speeds pick up, we are back up to a Category 5.
Landfall coming Sunday morning at 8:00 AM. But if there's folks watching who are still in south Florida right now, you need to know that the weather will start deteriorating well before this storm actually makes that 8:00 AM Sunday landfall. So think all day Saturday, things slowly getting worse across south Florida. That wind will continue to pick up.
Here's another model of this thing running. And this is for wind gusts.
You go from that Category 4 storm, it runs back over this very warm water I just mentioned, and you get this explosion. Those bright colors, those are even stronger winds. So perhaps just the strongest winds running on shore here.
Now, currently, our models are suggesting that this makes landfall on the western side of Florida and maybe runs inland, but mostly it's hugging more of the western side of the state.
Those winds obviously will be the most powerful where you come on land. That's also where the winds are going to be able to really push up the biggest storm surge. Take a look at the storm surge forecast. The ground already very low across portions of south Florida. We're talking about from sea level -- and again, you're not very high from sea level already -- maybe 10 feet. That's an entire first floor of a lot of buildings, and we're looking at that running down on the southwestern side of the state. I think storm surge for this because of these winds is going to be a really big story.
We're under a hurricane warning there throughout all of south Florida, a watch a little farther north. But I do suspect as this system continues to kind of come together and we figure out where exactly it's going to head north, that eventually will become a warning, as well.
And just now at this hour, Sean, we're beginning to see some of these bands move closer and closer. But as I said, folks who are still in southern Florida right now maybe not noticing, things start to deteriorate for you on Saturday, and then we have our landfall on Sunday morning -- Sean.
HANNITY: All right, Adam, let's talk about the exact -- where is the direct hit? My second home is in Naples, Florida. I have a lot of friends there, Collier County, Lee County. I have a lot of friends in Miami. Where's the direct hit if you had to guess now, based on the latest models?
KLOTZ: Well, I have a couple models here, and our latest models -- and again, this has been shifting -- the real problem at this point is we're still waiting for that turn. But I'll put two models in motion for you right here.
We're running up the coast. This is where you have to know when exactly is it going to turn. Currently, the models are bringing this hit really getting you down on the extreme southwestern side of the state and then running up along Tampa through the middle of the state. So really, the east side for now perhaps things are looking a little bit better. But we're still waiting for that turn. So unfortunately, Sean, this could still shift a little bit here in the next day.
HANNITY: One more question. The whole state as we can see is engulfed here. And I know this is a question because a lot of friends of mine live in Florida. And they're wondering. OK, if they move inland, how much safer -- because you watch, the whole state is covered here. If they move inland, how far inland do you think they have to go? Obviously, they won't have to worry about flooding, but there'll still be high winds. There'll still be the real effects and impact of a hurricane, but they'll be safer inland, correct?
KLOTZ: You're going to be safer inland and it's because of the surge. Anywhere along the coast, we're looking at, at the low areas, 3 to 6 feet, with some spots getting up to 10 feet. Heading inland is going to protect you from that. The winds will back down a bit, not a lot. I'm not sure you're going to be able to escape the winds if you stay in Florida entirely. But it's worth it just to get out of the storm surge, Sean.
HANNITY: All right, thanks so much, Adam. We appreciate it.
HANNITY: Joining us now, Fox News chief national correspondent Ed Henry. He joins us from FEMA headquarters in Washington. I had the governor and I had Pam Bondi -- she'll join us later tonight right here -- on my radio show this week. And one of the things that I really like with Texas, it seems like the federal government has been coordinating from the get-go here. And I was told by sources in the White House they have prepositioned food, water, medicine, cots, blankets, supplies, everything that they'll need, and four Navy ships.
"Mad dog" Mattis, the defense secretary, has put off shore ready to come in behind the storm to help our friends in Florida that obviously are going to need a lot of assistance. What else can you tell us, Ed?
ED HENRY, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Sean. And I'm actually being told tonight by federal officials some of those ships you're talking about from the Defense Department are trying to go into spots before Irma hits, get basically critical supplies in, then get out before Jose hits down the road, as well, and then maybe have to get back in.
This is what's critical. You're getting a rare look right now. We're inside the FEMA national response coordination center. Usually, the media is not let in here.
There are about 200 people total working tonight around the clock, trying to respond, obviously, to a whole series of storms. There's also floods that have been in Missouri. There are wildfires out in California. Let's not forget they're working on that, as well.
On duty at this hour, what's known as the blue team for FEMA. And what -- it's basically two different groups of people working 12-hour shifts. Sean, they've been working since last Thursday dealing with Harvey. They're going to go to this coming Thursday dealing with Irma and Harvey, by the way, since that recovery and response is not finished yet, by the way, then potentially deal with Jose.
Then Thursday, they hand it off to the gold team that comes in with two more groups, 12-hour shifts again, around the clock. Let me briefly tell you what they're trying to do. They have 14 different critical emergency support functions that they try to coordinate here -- search and rescue, health, what's going on with the hospitals, energy and power, how do you get power lines back up, infrastructure, the roads, the bridges, the airports, transportation, moving people around from shelters.
And they have budget issues to deal with. For example, you mentioned President Trump, the federal response. They've gotten high marks so far. There's a split in resources, 75 percent of the money spent by the federal government, 25 percent by individual states like Texas, Louisiana, Florida.
But I'm told in the initial hours, what happens is the federal government basically tries to rush in as much support as they can. They're not sitting around, obviously, Sean, looking for reimbursement checks while they're trying to save critical lives.
The final point I'd make is the most frantic for the people here working tonight is before the storm, before the hurricane-force winds that you heard all of our great correspondents talking about because that's when the prepositioning that you mentioned happens.
And I've talked to officials in the White House who say that's one of the biggest lessons they learned from Hurricane Katrina, is doing more before it hits and then when those hurricane-force winds hit, there's not much they can do here at the operations center.
Then they get intense again with the workload, Sean, once the hurricane- force winds move through Florida because then they try to get the assessment teams in. Are the bridges working? Can we get trucks and vehicles in with gasoline, with food, water? Because there's no point in rushing that in if the bridges are down, if the roads are messed up, if the airports are messed up. So there's a lot of work in the days ahead, Sean.
HANNITY: All right, Ed Henry, you know, I'm often critical of big government. And it's nice to occasionally see government get their act together and the coordination with state, local, federal government both in Texas, now in the lead-up to this huge storm is going to take over and engulf the entire state of Florida. It's actually refreshing.
HANNITY: Our thoughts and prayers remain with those people. Glad to see they're on the job.
All right, we have a lot more coming up tonight, more breaking news coverage on Hurricane Irma that is now set to slam Florida. When we come back, Joe Bastardi, our meteorologist, Florida's attorney general, Pam Bondi, and much more as we continue our coverage.
HANNITY: This is a "Fox News Alert." Hurricane Irma is headed toward Florida and is now expected to turn back into a Category 5 hurricane before it slams into the Sunshine State.
Joining us now is Florida attorney general Pam Bondi. You know, Pam, we're both conservatives. We've seen devastation when things aren't handled right locally in the case of Katrina. But between Texas -- and I've got to give props to you and the governor and state and local officials and the White House and FEMA -- everybody seems to be prepositioned, prepared. The governor has been telling people for days now to evacuate.
You have been working with other states to get gas necessary for the people to evacuate. Also food and supplies have been brought in expeditiously. Tell us what's going on down there. How prepared is the state?
PAM BONDI, FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Sean, you know, it's up go God -- it's in God's hands now. But I'll tell you what. We cannot be more prepared as a state. Governor Scott has been everywhere constantly, and thank goodness, people are listening to him. Home Depot last week, they sold over 335,000 sheets of lumber. So that should tell you that people are listening. They're boarding up their houses.
I sat in President Trump's office earlier in the week, and I mean, he cares. He truly cares about our state. Scott Pruitt let us do blended gas. He let up on some of the regulations now for us for 20 days so we can drive the prices of fuel down for our state.
I cannot thank FEMA enough. State, local and federal government -- we're seeing it work. It's working well in Florida.
You know, and there are so many good corporations, so many -- so much good out there. But of course, we're always going to have the bad ones. My job, unfortunately, is to have to deal with a lot of the bad. We've received over 7,700 complaints, Sean, just since the emergency order's been issued...
HANNITY: You know, I -- Pam...
BONDI: -- on price gouging.
HANNITY: I spoke to -- I heard this earlier today. Now, we've got to give credit where credit is due. I know the CEO of Home Depot and he called you early in the week and said, how can I...
BONDI: My hero.
HANNITY: -- What can we do?
BONDI: He sure did.
HANNITY: JetBlue was giving flights out of Florida for $99 and then other airlines...
BONDI: That's right.
HANNITY: -- to their credit, followed suit, as well.
BONDI: That's right.
HANNITY: But you said 7,700. They were selling, like, cases of water that would normally go for 3, 4 or 5 bucks for, like, $30 and $40. And you have to crack down on them eventually, right?
BONDI: I do and I will. Let me tell you, if you are gouging in my state, I'm coming after you. And I will be on the show with you, naming these businesses. And I hope Floridians never walk in those stores again.
BONDI: But JetBlue, American, United, Delta, they've all been incredible. Amazon's been working so well with us. Home Depot called me, said, what do you need? And they are delivering trucks. They were as long as they could. You know what? Pretty much everyone has been amazing for the most part. Of course, we've had some bad actors and we always will. People, please call my price gouging hotline, 1-866-9-NO-SCAM...
HANNITY: I do want to...
BONDI: -- so we can help you.
HANNITY: While you did have those, it really is amazing. I mean, times like this, you see people come together. We saw it in Texas. We're seeing it now in Florida. The warnings have now been going out for days and days. If you're coastal, if you're in southern Florida, get out of the way.
HANNITY: Protect your lives protect your families. But it is nice to see these companies, these corporations and the government, you know, use the information, satellite technology, meteorology -- that information to protect people's lives. So a lot of good so far that we've seen this week and the coordination between, federal, state, local officials seems to be superb at this point.
Do you feel everything's prepositioned coming in after the storm to help all these Floridians out that are going to need that help?
BONDI: Oh, I do. I do. And the federal government's been amazing, Governor Scott again. Everything -- everything we're prepositioned, but again, it's in God's hands right now. People have to listen. People still can leave. It's not to late to leave if you haven't yet.
HANNITY: That's important to know. You still have time.
BONDI: Please leave. Your possessions can be replaced, your family members, your pets cannot. Leave with your medications, leave with your prescriptions. Get out of here. It's not too late. The highways are open. If you have to sit in traffic, it's still -- you have plenty of time to get out. Get out.
If you're going to stay, board up your house. And keep plenty of supplies. And you know, Sean, if you're gouging in Florida, we're going to come after you. This is not the time to be taking advantage of our fellow Floridians.
HANNITY: Well, good for you, Pam. And listen, our thoughts and prayers with all our friends and our neighbors down in...
BONDI: Thank you.
HANNITY: -- Florida. This is a big one. One of the other great stories I heard and you told me earlier that the airlines were also allowing people to bring their pets for free.
BONDI: They sure are.
HANNITY: I know I could never leave my pets behind. I know you have a big dog, so...
BONDI: Yes, you know my St. Bernards. They've been great. They've waived change fees.
HANNITY: The dog's 300 pounds! I've never seen a dog that big.
BONDI: Well (INAUDIBLE)
HANNITY: I don't know how you get that...
BONDI: He loves you.
HANNITY: It would take up all of JetBlue itself. It's the biggest dog I've seen. All right, Pam.
BONDI: They've waived pet fees and everything else.
HANNITY: Thank you for what you're doing. My best to you and the governor and all the people of Florida.
Two nuclear power plants -- this is scary. They are in the direct path of this massive storm. Nine million people may lose power.
Joining us now, Florida Power and Light company vice president, chief of communications, Rob Gould, is with us. When you go back to the last hurricane, there was a lot of damage to the nuclear site. And I guess my main question is, this is such an important issue. How safe are those sites? Are they able to sustain 160-mile-per-hour winds and more and they're on the coast?
ROB GOULD, FLORIDA POWER AND LIGHT COMPANY: Yes, Sean. Let me set the record straight. There really was no damage to the site at all. Turkey Point, which is around Homestead, Florida, Just south of Miami -- the actual nuclear facility itself was not damaged. The eye of the storm itself went right overhead, a Cat 5 storm, Hurricane Andrew and we had no damage to the nuclear facilities. Nuclear facilities are the strongest in the world as far as construction. If you think about the way they're structured, we're talking about six-foot thick concrete surrounding the entirety of the reactor itself. You have redundancy upon redundancy upon redundancy after that.
But again, if you go back to the fact that we had, and I go directly over hurricane Andrew in 1992, go over the site of hurricane Andrew and had no damage to the facility itself, and then I would add in 2004, our St. Lucie site which is up in St. Lucie County just north of West Palm Beach, we had hurricanes Frances and Jeanne go straight overhead, and there was no damage to the nuclear facility itself.
HANNITY: So what I read hurricane Andrew did create a lot of damage. You are saying that there wasn't a lot of money spent as a result of that hurricane?
GOULD: No. No. These were some off-site facilities, off property, so to speak. But the actual nuclear reactor itself, the facility itself, no damage at all.
HANNITY: All right, so we are really hoping in that particular case. You do expect people will lose power, I assume?
GOULD: Well, yes. We've been very clear. Now, if you look at where we stretch, we go from the Georgia line all the way down towards the Keys and then back up towards Tampa. Ninety percent of our customers are within 20 percent -- excuse me 20 percent of our customers are within -- 90 percent of our customers are within 20 miles of the coast line, excuse me. And so we are going to see some damage for sure. We've been very clear that what we will see is not necessarily a restoration which could take days or hours. We are talking about a rebuild itself.
HANNITY: All right, thank you, sir. We wish you the best. We are all praying for that power plant to stay safe, as you said. More on the latest massive category four hurricane Irma.
HANNITY: And this is a Fox News alert. Category four, maybe soon to be five, hurricane Irma hammering Cuba. It is now forecasted to strengthen to a cat five super storm before it slams into the state of Florida. Joining me now, my friend, meteorologist Weatherbell.com, our friend Joe Bastardi. Joe, you have FEMA chief, the mayor of Miami Beach, get out now. This is a devastating nuclear hurricane. 5.6 million of our friends in Florida now have been evacuated. The whole state in engulfed. Walk us through what will happen, where it's going to land, and where it goes from there?
JOE BASTARDI, METEOROLOGIST, WEATHERBELL.COM: Well, the next 12-18 hours it's going to be moving along the north coast of Cuba. And this is going to weaken the storm a little bit. The more powerful a storm is, the more slight disruptions could naturally weaken it. But I don't want people to think that that means this is not be a severe hurricane, because what happens is this. It is going to get over the very warm water in the Florida straits and the mid and the upper levels of the atmosphere. Even though the storm may weaken a little bit here over the next 12 to 18 hours, the mid and upper levels, the dynamics are improving over the storm.
And what is likely to happen here we've been preaching this for a few days, is instead of like Rita and Katrina, remember, they weakened from five to three as they came ashore, this one is liable to go the other way and, as you said, go to a five by the time it gets to the Florida Keys Sunday morning. And then when it goes in for good up near Marco Island, Naples, we're becoming more confident on that track on the west coast up in there, this is liable to be a category five from there. And the storm will expand as it's doing it. So Even though it's coming into the west coast, we are still expecting a sizable hurricane surge and a sizable hurricane on the east coast, too. The entire state, the entire peninsula will be directly impacted by this and in a catastrophic way across the south.
HANNITY: What happened in Barbuda? We've seen a little bit of the absolute power of this hurricane. You are saying it will come out weakened, but by the time it reaches you are saying somewhere between Miami and Fort Myers and Naples area, which happens to be my second home, I have a lot of friends there, a lot of friends in Lee and Collier County. OK, walk us through, how does that also impact the east coast? How does that impact Palm, West Palm Beach, et cetera? Let's talk about central Florida, Orlando. Let's talk about the wind speeds in Tampa, the wind speeds in Jacksonville. Then let's go to Savannah through Atlanta up into the Carolinas and what you expect in all these cities. Walk us through the entire path of this storm.
BASTARDI: I believe the landfall is going to occur on the southwest coast. I'm not trying to downplay the Miami area. I think Miami during and Sunday afternoon, I think that's when it is worse in Miami, will get wind gusts up to 100 miles an hour or more. But the devastation in the Florida Keys, I was watching those people in the Florida Keys, they may get cut off. It would not surprise me if some of these bridges out there got washed over. That's how severe this could be. That's what happened in 1935 with the Labor Day hurricane in there.
So we are looking at wind gusts to there 150, 175 miles an hour, maybe even higher. In fact so high some of the instruments may just blow away before. Same kind of thing may happen in Naples, Bonita Springs, that area where this makes a final landfall, the eye on the eastern side. Let's move up the coast on the east side. You get to West Palm Beach, late Sunday or Sunday night, wind gusts to 100 miles an hour. Tampa, Orlando, and across Daytona Beach, wind gusts to 100 miles an hour probably very late Sunday night into Monday morning.
Then Monday afternoon we're up in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Gainesville, those areas probably 80 miles an hour to 100 miles an hour. So then I think it's winds to 80 miles an hour with gusts late Monday to Monday night and on up into Atlanta where I think Atlanta could get a hurricane force wind gust out of this as the system just continues north up into Georgia.
When I look at Charleston, believe or not, Charleston is going to start getting strong east to northeast winds tomorrow, but the maximum gust on Monday may only be 50, 60 miles an hour.
HANNITY: My friend, Sheriff Mike Scott and my buddy Carmine who works for the sheriff down in Lee County, you are saying 160, 170, maybe 180 miles an hour in Naples, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers?
BASTARDI: Yes. I think that when this goes ashore, if you're looking at category five hurricane -- and what I'm, again, most afraid of is this overall pattern this year, storms intensifying as they come to the coast. You saw that with Harvey, right? You saw Emily just develop, and even though it's a minor tropical storm, developed in people's backyards late in July. So we're in an opposite pattern that we were in --
HANNITY: If you are on the shore in Naples, Florida -- if you were near the shore in Naples you'd be out? And Fort Myers?
BASTARDI: I would be near Naples, Italy, not Naples, Florida.
HANNITY: All right, Joe, thank you so much. We always love your historic references. You always talk about with the same conditions there's a history that a lot of times these storms follow. You nailed this from the beginning as you did Texas. It helps people out a lot, saves lives. Thank you, sir.
When we come back, we're going to talk to the mayor of Fort Myers. You just heard Joe Bastardi, that city in a direct path along with Naples, Bonita Springs, when we come back.
HANNITY: And this is a FOX News alert. Hurricane Irma bearing down on the island of Cuba as we now speak and is headed towards the great state of Florida. Now on the phone, Florida's Gulf coast, we have the mayor of Fort Myers, Florida, Randall Henderson Jr. is with us. Mr. Mayor, thank you for being with us. You know I am a part-time resident of southwest Florida. I've so many friends down there. You just heard Joe Bastardi, 160, 170, potentially 180. Naples, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, beyond serious. Are you confident that you've been able to evacuate and all the neighboring towns have evacuated?
RANDALL HENDERSON JR., FORT MYERS, FLORIDA, MAYOR: Sean, I am very confident in that. We've been moving people out, many of them on a voluntary basis. Now we're moving more aggressively to shelters. And I'm happy to report to you that we are getting a lot of cooperation, and we are moving people to keep them safe. We're taking this very seriously.
HANNITY: I have so many friends down there, Mr. Mayor, it's disheartening.
As the governor of Florida has been saying, we can replace property. We cannot replace human lives. I know the sheriff of Lee County and I know the people in Collier County. I know the people in Fort Myers. Is it now mandatory evacuation?
HENDERSON: It is mandatory in most parts. I think the next shoe to drop will be indeed in the core of Fort Myers. We are anticipating that. Mike Scott and Carmine are close friends of mine. I've been working with them.
HANNITY: You know Mike Scott and Carmine there, too? By the way, don't hang out with them. They are really big trouble. No, I'm kidding. They're really dear friends. But the great news is, Mr. Mayor, and you know I am a big critic of government, but I've been watching now for days the governor, the attorney general, people like yourself, people like Sheriff Scott and Carmine and all these people who for days have been working on this. The people have been listening. I've got to give people credit. You always have these weather warriors that think they are going to tough it out. This is not the one to tough out, is it?
HENDERSON: It is not. And I agree with you. We've had impressive cooperation and coordination with a fine group of leadership, and Mike and Carmine are doing it. And Governor Scott and Marco Rubio and Francis Rooney, you name them all. They are engaged. And they are coming to the rescue. And I just appreciate all they are doing. Our number one goal is keeping citizens safe, and this is very, very serious storm.
HANNITY: All right, Mr. Mayor, I will be down there soon as I can. My thoughts and prayers for all my friends down there. They are neighbors of mine, and a lot of love for the whole state. Thank you for being with us.
HENDERSON: Thank you.
HANNITY: When we come back, we will have more breaking coverage of hurricane Irma as it now closes in on the state of Florida and will be engulfing the entire state. We go back to our reporters on the ground next.
HANNITY: This is a FOX News alert. Hurricane Irma battering Cuba as we speak, now projected to turn into a category five storm before it will make a direct strike on the state of Florida, engulfing the entire state. Joining me now in Key Largo, Florida, our own Adam Housley. Adam, are the people ready, prepared from your position?
HOUSLEY: Yes, the ones to the left, Sean, are prepared, it seems like. In fact the last place we were in earlier with you, we were live in this building when they had that place called Tower of Pizza was still open. They are now officially closed, the last place here in closed. This is the storm centers they pulled out, they're waiting to latch them up when we're done here. They're going to latch them up and they're going to start hunkering down. Sandbags are ready to go as well.
Really on the side of the island, they are worries about the wind more than the storm surge. They're going to get a surge here, but you go over to the ocean side, that's where probably the surge is going to be higher, at least that's the forecast.
We are seeing a number of cars now, of course there's no coming as I'm speaking to you, but we've seen the number of card pick up heading north to get off the island. So people who waited to the last minute are now doing their last minutes of preparation in getting off. The bridges are still open here, at least until the winds pick up a bit. They said they will leave them open.
And for the most part, Sean, the folks who stayed, there aren't many who stayed here, I will tell you. Hurricane Andrew, we're told a lot of people stayed here for hurricane Andrew. This time around they are just not doing it. They say because of the video they've seen in the Caribbean, the Caribbean video that's come out in the last few days, that has really scared them. So they are off the island, especially if they don't have a house or building like this one, which is cat five, category five rated, meaning it is not built to withstand a category five hurricane. So Sean, at this hour, preparations are there. Authorities are in place. They've done everything they can. And the locals are staying and done everything they can. And now it's time just to ride it out.
HANNITY: Stay safe Adam Housley, thanks so much.
As the governor, Governor Scott has said, get out now. You do still have time. If you're watching this program, don't play with your lives. It's too important.
Joining us now at Miami shores, Florida, our own Steve Harrigan. Steve, what's the latest there?
HARRIGAN: Sean, the wind getting stronger now since last time we spoke to you. Across the state, airports are beginning to shut down. The last flight left from Miami International Airport. No flight scheduled Saturday or Sunday. Fort Lauderdale International Airport shut down Saturday and Sunday and tomorrow night, Tampa and Orlando airports shutting as well. So more and more, the only way to get around this state is on the ground. We've seen traffic jams and gas shortages across the state, leading to some real snarls on those major arteries, the only ways out to the north. Sean, back to you.
HANNITY: All right, last question. Did people, for example, where they able to replenish the grocery stores and Home Depot, and was gasoline brought in on time to take care of everybody?
HARRIGAN: There has been a lot of preparation for this and a real different mood about the storm as well. People are visibly fearful. And it's a real tough choice to get on the highway without enough gasoline, without a hotel room, or to stay put where your house could be underwater. And that tension and fear is visible when you talk to people. People are trying to decide how to save their own lives, how to save their relatives lives from across the state. There's really nowhere to run inside Florida. You have to get out of the state, Sean.
HANNITY: And you've been down there many times during these hurricanes. You know how powerful they were. We saw you nearly getting blown away in hurricane Harvey, and Texas. This is a state app that the governor has set up. If you need gasoline, food, water, supplies, it tells you exactly where to go.
When we come back, we will have more on hurricane Irma about to hit Florida, next.
HANNITY: Unfortunately for the evening, that's all the time we have left. I want to say this to all our friends and neighbors, fellow Americans in Florida, our thoughts, our prayers are with you. Please be smart. The governor says you still have time to evacuate. Be smart. Stay safe. And stay with the FOX News Channel. Continuing coverage all weekend, hurricane Irma. We'll see you back on Monday. Jon Scott, my friend, is next. See you Monday.
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