'Your World' on Hurricane Ian with Tampa mayor | Fox News

2022-10-09 09:50:28 By : Mr. Su Qiuqian

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Tampa Mayor Jane Castor details the damages that her Florida city has suffered as a result of Hurricane Ian on 'Your World.'

This is a rush transcript of "Your World with Neil Cavuto" on September 29, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh! UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was my house. My house is gone. GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Those who have -- who are in need, help is on the way. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The roof is on the ground. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you need to be evacuated, step out of your front door. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's insane. It's, like, mind-blowing to see that that's -- nature could do that. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's my grandparents' house., that one. JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: However long it takes, we're going to be there. That's my commitment to you. (END VIDEO CLIP) NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Here's the thing, though. Ian ain't leaving. Right now, it's down, but certainly not out. After ravaging Southwest Florida, Ian, now a tropical storm, is expected to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane maybe within hours. It's making its way to Georgia and South Carolina now after devastating the Sunshine State. South Carolina's governor is set to hold a news conference shortly. And, when that happens, we will take you there live. Here is what we know right now, a storm surge of up to seven feet predicted for Charleston, South Carolina, as of tomorrow. In Florida today, more than 2.6 million people are still without power across the state. No indications as to when they will be getting that back. Search-and-rescue operations now under way in Florida's barrier islands and other hard-hit areas, Governor Ron DeSantis calling it a 24/7 operation. And moments from now, we will be talking to the mayor of Fort Myers, Florida, also hard-hit, particularly hard-hit by the storm. First, FOX team coverage with Robert Ray in Fort Myers, which really beared the brunt of all of this, and Steve Harrigan in Charlotte County, where they're starting to dig out from under it, or trying to. Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto. Let's go to the FOX Weathers Robert Ray right now in Fort Myers that got really clobbered, and I mean really clobbered. Robert, what does it look like today? ROBERT RAY, FOX WEATHER MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST: Neil, yes, exactly. It's a good word for it. It's a nightmare here right now. Look at this. I'm surrounded here by a vessels that were in this marina tossed around really like tinker toys, snapped in half when the wind and the surge moved in. I'm standing on top of one of the blocks of the piers, concrete, that was moved in and pushed, and like dominoes, by this incredible surge of over eight feet here in Fort Myers. And these boats, I have to say, surrounded by debris, they are -- all this debris floating on water, wood piles, vegetation, garbage cans, people's belongings all over, just an incredible scene here. And two blocks from here downtown, Fort Myers that took the surge as well, the historic streets turning into rushing rivers last night, as the wind, at its most intense, between 6:00 and 8:30 last night, and myself and the crew, my photographer had to try and leave this area because of the surge. Incredible. We could barely stand. My photographer literally got knocked off of his feet. And he is OK, by the way. But as we left the region, and just went about six miles away, the debris field on the roads just zigzagging through downed trees and power lines as parts of roofs were coming off and hitting our vehicle. And I have to say, Neil, we just went down to the barrier islands to see if we could get on to join some of those search-and-rescue teams and get visuals and look for hope. We could not get across the bridge. At this point, they're not allowing media. You understand why. But the drive down about 10, 12 miles down there, every single side of the road full of downed trees, power lines, homes with their tops off and people putting blue tarps on, the sounds of chain saws, Neil, and for at least a mile-and-a-half driving through a foot of water in essentially a convoy of vehicles through that mucky water that still has not receded. There have been over 500 rescues thus far in these two counties today. And they are increasing as they are doing it from the air, the ground and boats, Sanibel Island cut off. You have to be -- have to have a boat to even get there, as the causeway destroyed. And we know that we heard Governor DeSantis earlier talk about initially, earlier today, one of the officials in this area, Lee County, said there could be hundreds of deaths. Well, he toned that down certainly and clarified it and said there were thousands of calls last night of people in need and needed to be rescued, and there was some sort of misinformation. We hope that this number of casualties do not increase. But this search- and-rescue will go on for definitely at least the next two, three days, Neil, and in the meantime, all of this. How you even begin to clean up a situation like this in Fort Myers? CAVUTO: You know what's incredible, Robert, is, how do those who are stuck there reach out? I mean, there's no power. As you said, many are trapped and can't get out to even see guys like you. So, of the rescues -- we have seen the 500 or so rescues in the southwest - - you wonder how they're reached. RAY: That is a great point. And it's -- I thought the same thing in our drive down. We were cut off for about an hour and 45 minutes. I have three cell phones, Neil, and a satellite phone. The three cell phones did not operate at all. We could not get a live broadcast signal from the base of the bridge down leading over to the barrier islands, which was what we wanted to do. So we had to come back. So, yes, there's no communications. The comms are down. And, by the way, there's no electricity here, and there's no running water. And so -- and now that the sun's out, the heat is back out as well. So the conditions are simply miserable, and not only for the people who are here who stayed or are still stranded, but the first responders as well. Tough for them to get into those situations. And all the hotels around here that are packed with people that did evacuate, they're living essentially in dark rooms and hallways with no air conditioning, no water and no power, really people doing the best they can right now. It is a very dire situation down here in Southwest Florida, which normally is one of the prettiest places in the country -- Neil. CAVUTO: No, you're so right about that, my friend. Robert, thank you, Robert in Fort Myers. Steve Harrigan is in Placida, Florida, where the devastation is just as pronounced. He's got a good eyeball view of it. And he's going to share that with us. Steve, how does it look there? STEVE HARRIGAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Neil, it's 77 degrees, a beautiful sunny day here. I am in what yesterday was somebody's kitchen. Behind me in the freezer, I can see some -- what was some frozen strawberries and also some chopped broccoli as well. And if you look around, this used to be a neighborhood yesterday, and it is a sad sight. There is one volunteer plowing through some of the aluminum and some of the wood. And it's really just pile after pile, a lot of these mobile homes just completely destroyed street after street here. This neighborhood is gone. And I have gone to tell you, usually, after a bad storm or a hurricane, pretty quickly, the next day, you see people coming back, picking through the wreckage, looking for lost items, mementos, valuables, paperwork. We're not seeing that here, either because it's been too hard to get back here or because there's a sense that this neighborhood could be gone forever, the destruction really almost total, street by street, 100 percent lack of electricity, no communication at all, no running water. We have seen helicopters. We have seen the sheriff go door to door to make sure there are no casualties. We have heard some chain saws. But, besides that one volunteer, it's really been person to person. People whose mobile home might not be destroyed, they're taking in their neighbors. People have been asking us for food and water. So he multistate relief has yet to reach this pocket of Florida -- Neil, back to you. CAVUTO: You know, and I'm looking at it too, Steve. I'm just wondering, were there evacuation orders in effect there, even recommended there? We're hearing in so many parts of the state they were, but many people didn't heed them. And maybe it was a sign of complacency or the fact that it was monstrously difficult to get out on the roads anyway, and leave on your own. But do you know anything about that? HARRIGAN: I think people here knew that the odds were against them, and they knew how dangerous it was to try and ride it out here. So far, we have had no reports of any casualties, and just one person in this entire camp did ride it out. He managed to survive. He was in his -- just watching -- just looking out the window of what used to be a window with no pane. So one person rode it out successfully. A lot of people coming back now with buckets or trash cans to try and get what they can, and some of them just too emotional, too upset to really speak about it. One man walked by and we said, how you doing? And he said, "Lost everything." And it's just a lot of people can say that today here, lost everything, just a short phrase that sums up quite a bit. CAVUTO: It really does. Steve, thank you very much. Steve Harrigan in Placida, Florida, not all that far from Fort Myers, a little bit northwest. And, of course, Fort Myers, of course, seemed to be the epicenter a lot of the activity and the pretty serious activity. Kevin Anderson, the Fort Myers mayor, is joining us, I believe, on the phone. Mayor, how are you doing? And how does it look in your area? KEVIN ANDERSON, MAYOR OF FORT MYERS, FLORIDA: Well, Neil, it's -- we took quite a hit. This is probably one of the most powerful storms that I have seen hit Fort Myers in my 40 years here. CAVUTO: How are people adjusting today? I mean, this is the first chance they had today, the first sign of daylight to look at what happened. And it looked pretty devastating, Mayor. ANDERSON: It is. But I will tell you what. The people in Florida are very resilient. They're strong, and they bounce back from these incidents. I made some trips out through some neighborhoods. And while people said, well, I lost this, we got -- this happened, they usually ended it with, but I'm glad to be here. CAVUTO: You know, we talk about these kinds of things, as you have indicated in the past, Mayor, you want to get out of this alive. You can rebuild, but you can't bring someone back to life. Is there any way we hear about people who cannot reach authorities because of power outages and the like? There were fears that there were casualties in some other areas of the state, but no way of knowing for sure until rescuers get there. Anything on that front you can tell us? ANDERSON: Well, we had a mandatory evacuation order in place. You can't go drag people out of their homes. CAVUTO: Yes. ANDERSON: I can tell you that our fire department probably had to rescue close to 200 people. CAVUTO: Is that right? ANDERSON: Yes. And, now, we're fortunate. In this -- in our city, we have not experienced any loss of life due to this hurricane. CAVUTO: So, how do people get to you, Mayor, or get to -- I know Governor DeSantis is nearby right now, I mean, but how did they get -- when they -- when they're either stuck or trapped, there's no power, no cell service? So how do you find them? ANDERSON: Well, that's -- see, that's just it. That's why we encourage them to follow the evacuation order. CAVUTO: Right. ANDERSON: Because they will get to the point where they won't have communication. Not only that. Even when they do have the communications, if the winds are 40, 45 miles an hour plus, our first responders are not going out. We can't put them... (CROSSTALK) CAVUTO: And you had warned them. To be fair, Mayor, you had warned, this is exactly the scenario you feared if people were still behind, that you would be dealing with that. I'm just wondering if you ever got a figure on how many did follow your orders. ANDERSON: Neil, about the only thing we can accurately gauge is how many people went into shelters. And we did have several thousand people go into shelters. CAVUTO: OK. You know, Fort Myers is such a beautiful area, Mayor. I have been there a number of times, and it's such a draw for folks. And now, of course, you have to do all this rebuilding. And it will get back to exactly what it was. Of that, I have no doubt. But do you worry about how people view Florida all of a sudden and view these great destinations? Over the last few years, you have drawn so many to your wonderful city. The state itself has benefited from this. But it's been a long time since we had a serious hurricane, where even some of your regulars who've been there a long time, that maybe they were getting too content or that it seemed like a distant kind of a worry or concern. What do you think? ANDERSON: No, that's true. And a couple thoughts. One, during the peak of COVID, Florida had about 1,100 people a day moving here. Lee County alone from January or July of 2020 to July 2021 had an increase of 27,000 people. CAVUTO: Wow. ANDERSON: So, people are coming to Florida. They like Florida. What concerns me is, I stood here on my balcony looking down right in the heart of downtown, looking three blocks toward the river, and I got to watch the river slowly creep up until it was about four feet high. And I stood there helplessly watching our downtown businesses be flooded. What concerns me is that we have come a long way in building our downtown up. And I hate the thought of some of these stores going dark because they lost everything to a flood from the hurricane. CAVUTO: And it has happened several times in the past with some big hurricanes, not on your side of the state, we should point out. But that was another thing too, because, on the Gulf Coast side, this was an event that was extremely unusual. What are folks telling you who you do get a chance to talk to, Mayor, and sort of reassessing their life in Florida and what they're going to do? And I know they want to rebuild. And I know they're grateful to be alive and well and count family members and friends who are OK. But it's got to be an inflected moment here. ANDERSON: Believe it or not, I meet a lot of people who probably say, "I survived another one and I love this place." CAVUTO: I like that. I like that very much. Mayor, thank you for taking the time. How are you holding up, sir? ANDERSON: I'm tired. (LAUGHTER) CAVUTO: That's probably an understatement . ANDERSON: But I'm energized. CAVUTO: Yes. ANDERSON: I'm energized as well. Our city is committed to our citizens to help the recovery process go as quickly, as smoothly as possible. CAVUTO: You're doing that. I want to thank you very much, Kevin Anderson, the mayor of Fort Myers, Florida. By the way, we are getting a word right now that right in his neck of the woods, Ron DeSantis, the governor, is meeting with top authorities, going over what they need, how soon they need it. He's coordinated with the president, has said, with FEMA, anything and everything you need, back-to- back declarations that will benefit pretty much all the counties in the state, particularly those hardest-hit, including Fort Myers. So we will keep an eye on his movements. Also following very closely, we mentioned about South Carolina and Charleston being sort of like the new target for a strengthening Ian, right now, still a tropical storm, but we're told, within a few hours, it will be sporting winds in excess of 70, 75 miles an hour, which would make it a Category 1 storm, and Charleston is in its sights. So we are keeping a close eye on that. I want to go to Brandy Campbell right now, the FOX Weather multimedia journalist. She is in Orlando. And these are rare events in Orlando to see all the major amusement parks and centers and tourist destinations, including Disney World, essentially shut down, right? BRANDY CAMPBELL, FOX WEATHER MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST: That's right. Ian definitely made an impact in so many ways, not just with the wind and the rain flooding places, but it impacted businesses, closing down a lot of places. So, right now, we're actually driving around the grounds of Disney World right now. So we are just en route, not in front of a specific park right now. But if you take a look at our camera, you can see there's still some debris in the roads. Disney still closed today. The parks, they actually closed ahead of the storm. And they said in a tweet that they will resume the theme park in Disney Springs operations in a phased approach starting on Friday, September 30. So I'm sure there are some folks out there who are very happy to hear that, because a lot of people love to come to Disney World, get on the rides, eat some food. But, right now, it is -- if you take a look at the road, it's empty, not many people here, and, like I said, a lot of debris. I see a tree leaning over here. So it definitely looks like some strong winds. We have a tree down on the road next to us right now, so Ian definitely making an impact here, but also with the airport, another major business here in the area. The airport for Orlando closed down following some of the other major cities impacted like Tampa and Naples. They closed down yesterday morning. The airport says they were not open today. Instead, they're doing damage assessments. And so it's possible they might open tomorrow, based off of those assessments. But we don't have that answer just yet. But people can check in with their airlines to get a final update. So -- but, as for now, for us here in Orlando, the storm is out of our way. It's actually moved on to the East Coast. And it's forecasted to become a hurricane again, like you just mentioned, headed for South Carolina. So, good luck to those guys out there, and as well to the folks here that were severely impacted here from Ian -- back to you. CAVUTO: It's just so surreal, Brandy, as you're showing the empty roads there around Disney World. I know that the series of roads you're taking, that connects the kingdom of EPCOT and all these others. And the fact that matter is, they're usually wall-to-wall world traffic, especially this time of the year. CAMPBELL: Exactly. CAVUTO: And it's just empty. It's -- now, you said they're reopening here, but already people who were there who are at the resorts on property, they're still there, but they really can't go anywhere, right? CAMPBELL: Exactly, so almost a vacation likely wasted. But I guess, for some of these folks -- there's a car off in the woods, must have veered off from the storm. But, hopefully, these guys can stick around and at least enjoy a couple of days once it does open in this -- or in this phased approach to reopen the parks. So, here we are approaching EPCOT right here. And I'm sure, in the coming days, it will look very different than it does right now, but, again, like you said, very, very empty and quiet here for Disney and really the city of Orlando. CAVUTO: It is just amazing. Brandy, thank you very much, as you see one of the signs that gets you to the EPCOT. There are a number of kingdoms and worlds there at Disney World. And, again, this is the busy artery that loops around the entire property over many, many miles, and, again, no activity there, but, again, a reminder, between Disney World and SeaWorld and so many other destinations, LEGOLAND, these are attractions for people that attract hundreds of thousands that now shut down entirely, with hope being at least in phases that reopening will begin tomorrow. But it is a wet mess there. We told you a little bit earlier that President Biden intends to visit Florida. He just wants to pick a good time to do so. He's already approved two emergency aid packages, emergency relief that would come via the federal government through FEMA. But everyone seems to be on the same page right now in helping each other out. I have talked to Democratic mayors working with the Republican governor, who is working right now with the Democratic president. So far, so good. Michael Brown probably wishes he had that same type of bipartisan support when he was dealing with a certain hurricane, you might recall, Katrina, back in 2005, the former FEMA Director Michael Brown with us now. Michael, good to see you. MICHAEL BROWN, FORMER FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY DIRECTOR: Good to see you, Neil. CAVUTO: I remember you saying at the time, a lot of people were fingering you for everything, what went wrong. It really wasn't fair or right at that time. There was basic lack of communication and there was no coordination between the Democratic governor, Republican president and the mayor and all. I remember it was a mess. But that does not early on... BROWN: Some people -- and some people still -- Neil, some people still say that too, which it's funny. CAVUTO: No, they do. And I know that was sort of a bum rap in history there. But leaving that aside, Michael, you have said then -- and I have talked to you then and as time went on in other crises, that everyone has to be on, on the same page, and they weren't. BROWN: Right. CAVUTO: Sometimes, political infighting leaves people caught in the middle, like yourself. How do you avoid that? What do you think is happening here that looks like they are avoiding that so far? BROWN: Well, I think they learned the lessons from Katrina. So this Hurricane Ian is almost, I would guess, 18 years to the date the same time as Hurricane Charley went up almost exactly the same path. And it was a Category 4 storm also. And I think what happened between 2004 and 2005 was, 2004 was an election year; 2005, President Bush had won reelection by that time. And so now the claws were out for Bush and anybody that represented Bush or was with the president. And I think, right now, even though we're getting close to the midterms, we're not close to a presidential election year. And so I think that's caused people to, like, focus on what really needs to be done. And I think one of the things that does need to be done that I haven't seen a lot of -- I think you're an exception -- is, I think that media has really been hyping this quite a bit. And what they need to do is, I think, speak directly and calmly and straightforward to the people that are in the path of the storms about what to expect, what you should do, where you should go. And I think if we lowered the temperature a little bit and a little bit of the hyperbole and just tell people the facts about what can happen and what you should do, I think that people are getting wiser about listening to things. And I think government's getting a little bit wiser about, you know what? This is going to cost us in the long run if we don't cooperate now. CAVUTO: You know what I noticed too? There was a time you were trying to warn people at the time, look, not everything's hunky-dory. Sometimes, we're used to at these events everyone congratulating each other and saying we're doing this and a lot. BROWN: Yes. CAVUTO: The fact of the matter is, it's an ongoing crisis. And I know you were talking to President Bush and saying, we're having some difficulties here. But there was this push, I guess, on both sides, Democratic governor -- and you had the mayor to deal with in New Orleans. BROWN: Right. Yes. CAVUTO: But this idea that everyone had their sort of own agenda, and you were kind of monkey in the middle, so to speak. BROWN: Yes. CAVUTO: And I wonder how we avoid that in the future. It looks like, since that experience, some of your warnings that you wrote about and addressed have been addressed. But, invariably, invariably, if something goes wrong on the part of any one person here, that will come out, and that will be pounded. And if it seems like a rescue is compromised or money getting into relief is delayed, then the knives, I suspect, will come out. I hope not. But I have seen that. BROWN: And they will. And the sad part is, the media looks for that. And other politicians look for that. So, everybody -- even though right now everybody's hugging each other and they're talking about the great leadership, which is great, because I think that's what I actually am observing, this is by its very nature a disaster. And so in a disaster, by its very nature, things go wrong. Everything -- something goes wrong all the time. And if it happens to occur in front of a national camera or even a local camera, that gets amplified all over the country, and then suddenly the claws come out, and everybody's fighting against each other. So I think it's a responsibility on government officials. It's a responsibility of citizens. It's the responsibility of the media to understand that what we're dealing with is a natural disaster. They happen. They're always going to happen. They will happen to us in the future. And so let's figure out a way from -- and I think we're seeing it now -- is, let's just come together and try to fix this and realize this is what the news. CAVUTO: You know, everyone remembers -- I'm sure you're sick of it -- it's probably indelibly imprinted in your skull right now. (LAUGHTER) CAVUTO: That moment with President Biden, "Heck of a job, Brownie." BROWN: I know where you're going. Right. CAVUTO: And I know, in retrospect, cited that you were trying to warn him about problems and all of that. And so you became the poster child for, well, it's not a heck of a job. BROWN: Right. CAVUTO: And advising FEMA now and other authorities now, how do you bluntly tell a commander in chief or the governor or the mayor that there are problems, that there are things, unforeseen developments, that you can't appreciate or understand the magnitude of that? The levees come to mind in New Orleans. BROWN: Right. CAVUTO: And people didn't appreciate how big a deal that was until sometime later. BROWN: Right. CAVUTO: But how do you convey that, especially when everything's running live on national TV? BROWN: Well, so here's why -- you may -- you pointed out that moment where Bush said, you're doing a heck of a job. Well, just right before that, we were in a waiting room to go out for a photo-op. And I was trying to explain to the president what was going on. And we got interrupted and said, look, we're running late. We got to go out there now. My mistake at that point was to say to Ari Fleischer and the others look, stop. We don't -- we don't -- a photo-op can wait. The president must hear this. And so I would say to emergency managers, to mayors, city councilmen, firefighters, responders, if you need to convey a message to your leadership, you have got to get in front of them. You have got to step in front of them, block them, tackle them, whatever it is, and say, you have got to hear this, because, if you don't hear what I'm about to say, it's going to come down on either you or me or both of us. And this is -- this is just part of learning to communicate in the midst of a crisis. You have got to step back, make people take time out, calm down and listen to what's going on. And I think that's the role -- I keep harping on this, but I think that's the role of government, it's the role of citizens, and it's the role of the media. CAVUTO: I wonder too. Floridians certainly are used to hurricanes. They have had them. But it's been a number of years. I think 2018 was the last big one. As you know, a lot of people have moved to Florida since, millions who have no experience with this sort of thing. We're told a good many did not evacuate when they were told to evacuate. I guess you can't force that issue. BROWN: Yes. CAVUTO: But we're getting more and more indications that many did not heed that. I don't know, leading up to Katrina, whether those kinds of warnings went out of the park to local authorities. I do remember that it skipped over Florida at the time and then was so devastating going into New Orleans and what have you, but you can only make people do so much, right? BROWN: Well, you can. And I think there are a couple of things, again, that we ought to consider. One, there are new people that move in. Everybody moves -- everybody wants to move to the free state of Florida, right? And I get that. But when you move somewhere -- you look out my window, I'm up against -- I'm close to a national forest. I understand the risk here, wildfires. You live in Florida, you need to understand the risk, hurricanes and tornadoes. You live in Mississippi, you live along the Mississippi Delta, flooding. You live in California, earthquakes. We just have to understand that we live in a natural world where there are natural disasters. We can't do anything about them, except mitigate against them, learn that this hurricane, for example, we're going to start hearing stories about the billions of dollars it's going to cost. That's not because the hurricane was stronger. It's because there's more infrastructure, hotels, condos, resorts, bridges, highways, houses, apartment complexes, everything. So, naturally, when a storm hits, whether it's a Category 3, 4 or 5, it's going to cause damage. And the more infrastructure you have, the more cost there's going to be for that. I just think it's -- I just want Americans to get more realistic about natural disasters. They're going to occur, regardless what you want to think about climate change or anything else. They're always going to occur. What we need to learn to do as human beings is how to mitigate against those natural disasters. CAVUTO: But we don't, right? We don't. BROWN: No. (CROSSTALK) CAVUTO: And it's better. To your point a lot, it's a lot better than it was, right? BROWN: Yes. It's a lot better. But here and I are. You and I have talked about this now for 17 years or longer. And we're saying exactly the same thing that we said 17 years ago. CAVUTO: So what do you think happens? BROWN: Well, I think that, eventually -- I think, eventually, we will come to some grips to understand that these things happen. And we're all just human beings. And if I get -- if I don't understand the power of rushing water, and how powerful that is, we think water, it's something we take a shower with, it's soft and it feels good. Water is one of the most powerful, destructive forces on earth. We just need to educate people about those things. And I think the media plays a role in that. And I think local government plays a huge role in it. And I, quite frankly, think that our education system plays a role in that. If we better understand the carbon-based lives that we live are things are bad -- things bad are going to happen. I think the better off we will eventually be. I have hope that we will eventually learn that. And I think we have learned a lot since then. We started this conversation out with, we see some really good cooperation among the leaders in Florida right now. Let's see if that stays true in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina... CAVUTO: Right. BROWN: ... as the flash floods hit that part of the country. But I think what we're seeing is something that people have learned from Katrina. Don't go around arguing with each other. Make it work. CAVUTO: I think we have learned a lot from that experience and so far here what's going on in Florida, and, to your point, Michael, to see if it extends to South Carolina, North Carolina, as now it targets -- or Ian targets, maybe as a Category 1 hurricane again, as soon as tomorrow. We will see if that continues. But because of the experiences, of course, we dealt with and you were dealing with at the time, there are signs that people -- people are trying to heed those warnings and reminders. Michael Brown, thank you very, very much. Good seeing you again. BROWN: Thank you, Neil. Thank you so much. CAVUTO: There have been a lot of developments we have been following here. But one of the things that has come up ahead of the president's planned visit to Florida -- again, they're trying to coordinate a time and a place when to do this, and the president doesn't want to get in the way and all of that -- are these accusations that he made, prematurely, some would say, in fact, unfairly, the oil industry says -- about whether prices are already unnaturally high for gas and the rest. And the president's warning not to rig those or take advantage of a crisis, never mind the fact there's zero evidence that that's going on right now at all. I brought this up with John Kirby at the White House a little earlier today. Have a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN KIRBY, NSC COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: I think the president wanted to make it very clear to them, as well as to the good people of Florida, that he wants the residents of Florida to get back on their feet as quickly as possible, as smoothly and as efficiently as possible. And he didn't want to see anybody trying to take advantage of the dire straits that these people are in. And it's not just... (CROSSTALK) CAVUTO: But that hasn't happened, right, John? It hasn't happened. I'm just wondering. There's been a run on gas stations that have run out of gas. That's not the gas companies' fault. I'm just wondering where that came in. KIRBY: I think he just wanted to lay down a marker, Neil. I think he felt it was really important that the people of Florida know that the president and the federal government is behind them, and we're going to do everything we can to help them back on their feet. And that includes being watchful and mindful and vigilant about anybody that might try to take advantage of the situation. CAVUTO: But do you think it just adds an element of suspicion that people say, all right, gas prices have, in the last eight, nine days been running up, that he was throwing it out there that it might not be just a matter of supply and demand, that these guys could be working to gouge them? Was he throwing that out there? KIRBY: No, no. Look, again, I think this came from the heart. This came from a president who cares about the people of Florida, wants to make sure that they're getting all the support that they need. CAVUTO: No, I see what you're saying there, but it's sort of asking, how long have you been beating your wife? How do these guys defend themselves and say it's not happening? KIRBY: We haven't seen that happen. And we don't want to see that happen. And I think the president wanted to lay down a marker that we're going to be watching for this, that this is not the time to be trying to profiteer off other people's tragedies. CAVUTO: All right. Again, no evidence that is going on, but we will see. (END VIDEO CLIP) CAVUTO: I want to echo again, there is no evidence, there was no evidence, there has been no evidence that gouging was going on in the oil companies or the gas giants or colluding to rig prices or all of a sudden take advantage of a bad situation by doing this sort of thing. So, my point in raising this with John Kirby, who had nothing to do with that, I might point out, why wag your finger and start accusing something and someone for an event that hasn't even happened? Gas stations throughout much of the state were running out of gas, having nothing to do with people getting gouged, but a mad run on gas to get out of town. So to prematurely then make the argument that they were cabaling in some sort of way, if you will pardon that slang, when there's no evidence of it and there's never been evidence of those charges in the past -- and this has been looked at over the last 40 years, independent commissions, Justice studies, Interior Department studies, that have never once, ever once said this has happened. But they keep trotting it out. And it makes you wonder. They must know the facts, right? We'll have more after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) CAVUTO: All right, before I talk to the storm, certainly, and now as it moves past Florida to Charleston, South Carolina, or heading there, a storm of selling again on Wall Street. So, whatever advance we had yesterday, it was wiped out entirely today. This average, which wasn't over 30000 that long ago, is now flirting slipping below 29000. The latest catalyst seems to be fears that inflation is running out of control, and there's nothing that any central bank, including our own, can do about it. Germany just measured inflation rates at the highest in 70 years. That's not a typo, 70 years. England is at four-decade-highs when it comes to inflation. Ditto France and Italy. In the European Union, they're talking about raising interest rates maybe three-quarters-of-a-point, maybe a full percentage point. Our own Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates yet again, after all the hikes they have seen. We are closing in on an overnight bank lending rate of 4 percent. I know that seems arcane, but let me put it this way to you. That's why you're getting mortgage rates that you're seeing right now closing in on 7 percent. Those rates keep going up. They have essentially, that is, the overnight bank lending rate, the rates the Fed controls, they have quadrupled in just the last year. Rates on a fixed year mortgage could be a lot worse. They have only doubled, slightly more than doubled. But, again, if you are in Florida and you have just survived something like this, you're probably not focused on something like that. So, let's go to John Iverson, A Fort Myers resident who survived what had to be a hellacious event. John, how are you holding up? JOHN IVERSON, FORT MYERS, FLORIDA, RESIDENT: I'm doing well, Neil. Thank you. I appreciate it. It was a little hairy, but we made it. CAVUTO: As you sound so calm. If that would be me, I'd be sounding like Don Knotts. But what was it like? Tell us a little bit what's like and what it's like now? IVERSON: Well, it's absolutely beautiful outside right now. It's a -- right now, it's a perfect Florida today. It was very interesting. I'd never been through it before. The first half wasn't too bad, just kind of high winds. But once the storm passed, and the winds got crazy, and that's when the storm surge hit. And, fortunately, I was in a very secure structure. And I was up 20 feet above it. So I felt pretty comfortable. But everything on the ground was completely destroyed. So... CAVUTO: Now, are you on the water, John? Can you describe a little bit? IVERSON: Yes, I was right on the water, right. CAVUTO: Got it. So you didn't evacuate? IVERSON: No, I did not. CAVUTO: Why not? IVERSON: I have been here 38 years. I have twice. And for some reason, this time, I just thought -- I didn't think it was going to probably be as bad as it was. So, and I walked out of there today and... CAVUTO: How did your house hold up? IVERSON: The first floor was fully submerged. CAVUTO: Wow. IVERSON: All the vehicles were floating. Like I say, everything that was on the ground level is gone. So, yes, the boat, everything's gone. CAVUTO: Wow. It looked like it -- a lot of people I had talked to, John, said it was so loud, and it was just -- it was like everything was shaking. I cannot imagine, when that was at -- going full throttle what it must have been like inside your place. IVERSON: Well, I was absolutely texting people that it sounded like a freight train was going over. So you could hear the metal roof rippling, and -- but little bit of shaking in the house, but it wasn't too bad at all, so -- inside. So... CAVUTO: And how are your neighbors, friends, how are they doing? IVERSON: I talked to a couple of the neighbors this morning. And, of course, they had just as much devastation. And everybody is now just kind of looking at what the next step is. Where do you start? So... CAVUTO: Now, you have been there for 38 years, you said. I don't know if it's -- you have always been in the Fort Myers area. But you have had your history with storms. And you're still grateful to see this day and the sun and the high 70s weather, I mean, and moving on. It doesn't sound like someone who wants to leave Florida. IVERSON: Oh, I won't. I won't be around for another 38 years. (LAUGHTER) CAVUTO: Well, don't say that. You don't know that. IVERSON: So, if it was like the first 38, it will be fine. CAVUTO: But, in other words, nothing here, it's telling you, I'm going to -- I'm done here, I have had it with the Sunshine State? IVERSON: No. No. No, I'm here to stay. So... CAVUTO: Good for you. John, I'm very glad you're well. John Iverson of Fort Myers, Florida. Can you imagine just hearing, experiencing that? And I have heard that freight train analogy again and again and again, and nonstop, nonstop. I'm glad he's well. All right, I think we have Jane Castor with us right now, the Tampa, Florida, mayor. Mayor, how are things looking there? JANE CASTOR (D), MAYOR OF TAMPA, FLORIDA: Actually, things are looking very, very good, especially when you consider the original predictions that we were basically going to be in the bullseye of Hurricane Ian. So we came out with some damage, but nothing compared to our neighbors in South Florida. CAVUTO: You know, the randomness of this, Mayor, as you and I were saying -- we had a chance to talk yesterday -- it's weird, but it is what it is, and the fickle fate of nature. But you dodged something that could have been, to your point, a lot worse. What happens now? There's obviously a lot of cleanup ahead of you. Maybe you can sort of lay it out. CASTOR: Yes, there is a lot of cleanup ahead of us. But one of the things that was asked, what lesson we had learned. And I said the unpredictability of the storm predictions. We were supposed to take the direct hit or it was supposed to go north of us, and ended up south. So we do have some cleanup ahead of us, but we are right now sending resources down to South Florida, our USAR, urban search-and-rescue teams, law enforcement, so that we can help our neighbors to the south get back up on their feet. CAVUTO: As far as businesses there, there has been a great deal of flooding, we're told. And business is the lifeblood of Tampa itself, to say nothing of other cities and towns across your beautiful state that have been hit by this thing. Now, I don't know it was quite as extreme as some other mayors I have been having -- talking to on this channel and FOX Business, but I'm told many devastated, their businesses completely destroyed, or so flooded and damaged, it's going to be quite some time before they can even hope to get back to normal. What is it like there? CASTOR: Well, we didn't see -- actually, we were looking at 15-foot storm surges, and the Hurricane Ian pulled the water out of our bay. And so we didn't see the widespread flooding that we had anticipated. But a lot of our residents evacuate to Orlando. And Orlando is experiencing flooding in not only the city, but in Orange County. And I have spoken to both the mayor of Orlando and the mayor of Orange County about how we can assist them as well. CAVUTO: How is that being coordinated, Mayor? I know the president wants to get down to see, for all I know, a variety of cities in Florida, maybe your own included. They want to coordinate that, obviously, with the governor, what have you. But it seems like everyone is on the same page here, their politics notwithstanding. So that's promising. Michael Brown, of course, who was the FEMA director during Katrina, so that was one thing that wasn't the case with him. But it seems that maybe it's the Florida way of doing things or that everyone gets on the same page, no matter where they're from or their political stripes. CASTOR: It is. And that's the way it's always been here in Florida. I was in law enforcement for over 30 years, was the chief of police here for six years. I have been in this seat for about four years now. And we have -- we see so much of this, the hurricanes and tropical storms, that we are very well organized as a state. And everybody works well on the local, regional, state and federal level bringing all those resources together to ensure that we're providing the services to our citizens and to the entire community. CAVUTO: Mayor, I don't know what the power situation is like in your city. But we're told that the number of people without power in the state is now under two million. It had risen as high as close to three million. How is it where you are? CASTOR: Yes, we had a couple -- a little over 200,000 people without power. But we had TECO. They are embedded in our EOC here, and they were working around the clock to get everybody back up. We also had 3,000 line -- line personnel that were staged and ready to come in to the Tampa Bay area to restore that power. Just to put it in perspective, TECO itself has under 200 individuals that are out there working on the lines each and every day. So we had 3,000 additional that were coming just in to the Tampa Bay area to get us up and running. And you can imagine how many more are going to South Florida. CAVUTO: Absolutely. Mayor, thank you very much. We appreciate it, and all the time you take to look after your people and talk to us to relay that concern for your people. CASTOR: Thank you. CAVUTO: Jane Castor, the mayor of Tampa, Florida. By the way, you are looking at some just incredibly moving footage of what's going on right now in Hardee and neighboring Hendry counties in Central Florida, where the flooding is so bad, they're trying to move what way they can, either by boat or to tow whatever they can, because the roads are so badly flooded there. You can't even make out that their roads, actually. We're told that roughly two-thirds of cell sites were offline and Hardee and Hendry counties in Central Florida, Lee County as well and along the Gulf Coast. That's been the case, so that even if you're lucky enough to have power back in those particular counties -- it's few and far between, I might point out -- roughly two-thirds of cell sites are down. So, by definition, that would mean a good many people have no cell phone service. It is reaching them that's proved the Herculean task here. People will find ways, including this, to make sure they do reach them. We are told that better than 500 -- probably is more than that now, because that's what it was at the beginning our broadcasts -- were being rescued. So these search-and-rescues continue throughout the state. And that will be the case maybe for some time to come. It is a 24/7 task, as the governor put it not that long ago. And it's going to be going on for quite some time. With us right now is Will Nunley, the FOX Weather multinational -- multimedia journalist in -- I believe, Will, you're in Cape Coral? How does it look there? WILL NUNLEY, FOX WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Neil, I'm at the very tip of Cape Coral. Matlacha is specifically where we are. This is the last stop before you try to hop the bridge over to Pine Island. But that's impossible, because the bridge is washed out at this point. We are making some -- or there are some grim discoveries being made, quite frankly, out here, this entire stretch of Cape Coral, even worse as you get to these barrier islands. This is where loss of life is happening and just unbelievable damage really to the buildings, I want to step out and show you an example of what we're seeing and what is in many cases a situation that you can't survive. In the case of this home, Neil, the man escaped. He was able to evacuate pretty much the day of, but got out of harm's way. He came back just about an hour ago to see this, stood here in disbelief. And he said: "Will, for years, the neighbors have been talking about the big one, the big storm that's going to do something like this. And it appears that day has come." As we look over to this side of the street, you see some water maybe they're behind me in the distance. That was land this time yesterday and the day before. This was a lot that someone was about to build a home on. Now it's a waterway created by the storm. You can't go beyond really where we are in this point of Matlacha because the roads are washed out. And so you hear frequent Coast Guard helicopters trying to still reach people that are stranded at this hour on the islands. Neighbors are trying to come together with boats and do the best they can to cross over where they can. But if you look at the marinas that we saw on the way here, the marinas in Fort Myers, the marinas here, that is a remarkable sight of boats just stacked on top of each other. Neil, it took us about two hours to get to where we are from Fort Myers this morning, because you're navigating a city that is frantically trying to find fuel. There is no electricity. Every intersection is a four-way stop. And, of course, nobody knows what to do at a four-way stop. So those are chaotic to get through. So it takes a while to get here to this point. And so that is how we're essentially dealing with things at this point. We had the stress yesterday of getting through the storm. Today, we have the heartbreak of revealing what the storm has done. And it is, from all indications, a significant loss of life, an immense loss of property here. CAVUTO: Will, you mentioned a significant loss of life. Have authorities shared with you, or you're just going by appearance, that, if anyone had stayed behind, they almost would -- surely would not have survived? What are you going on? NUNLEY: I'm hearing dozens, on the conservative side, at this point from neighbors that say, we have walked down here. We have seen the operations that they're trying to conduct. This is in Lee County specifically, where I am. I don't want to get ahead of officials that are going to be giving updated numbers here shortly. But I'm afraid they're going to be stunning. And that is -- that is work that is still going on, because, Neil, when you have to get into a situation like this, let's say you're a rescue team and you come up on something like this. Where do you start? How do you know where someone may have been to figure out if someone is in there? This is the process that they're having to go through street by street, streets that are, by the way, washed out that have utility lines down. As we were coming through, there was just a boat in the middle of the road. So all of that has to be navigated before you can go house by house and make these safety checks, and not to mention the fact that the communications are so bad out here. We're coming to you via a small satellite. There is no cell phone service out here. So that makes things even more frantic. I have a lot of people reaching out to me on Twitter saying, can you check this road? We need information on there. And I understand why. It's hard to come by. Information is hard to come by. That's why we're here to bring you the best we can. CAVUTO: Thank you for that. I hope you're wrong on that, Will, but, again, we have heard from others that, anecdotally, looking at debris and seeing bodies, that they fear that could be the case. Again, we hope that is not the case. But indications are early on it could very well be. Want to go to Rick Reichmuth. He's following this right now, because Ian is not a done deal. It might be a done deal for most of Florida right now. But it is barreling in right now in the Carolinas. What's the latest, Rick? RICK REICHMUTH, FOX NEWS CHIEF METEOROLOGIST: It's incredible that we're still dealing with this, a very different kind of storm that we will be dealing with. Hey, if you guys can throw weather max 10 behind me. I'm not sure what that map is or what route -- you have routed up there. But I will show with this with the track. This is what we are now looking at that is going to be going tonight into tomorrow morning over the Gulf Stream. That is a very narrow band of really warm water that is out here in the Atlantic. It kind of funnels warm water from down in the Caribbean way up in towards parts of the North Atlantic. The storm is going to go over that. And because of that, we think it's going to strengthen back into a Category 1, at least, storm, I don't think anything stronger than that, but a Category 1 hurricane. Expect to see that likely happen tonight or by tomorrow morning before landfall happens later on in the day tomorrow. Take a look at this. This was the fourth strongest storm ever to hit Florida. And they have had a lot of strong storms, so that's really saying something. Florida, for the most part, you're done with this. We still have winds especially up towards St. Augustine gusting at around 45 miles an hour, Daytona Beach 48, where they have had a lot of rain, and some really significant wind even on the eastern side of Florida. This is the rainfall yet to come from the storm. You get the idea, maybe another inch or so right along the coast. For the most part, though, the rain itself in Florida is gone. We're already seeing the rain in across parts of Southeast Georgia and in across South Carolina. But I want to point out one thing here. That's the Saint Johns River crest north parts of Florida. That drains into Jacksonville. And you can see on these little wind barbs here all of that wind is still pushing water in towards the coast, while all of this rain is trying to drain out the rivers out towards the ocean. And that is the problem where we're seeing storm surge. That storm surge that we're dealing with across the coast of North Florida, that's on the eastern coast, we're going to be dealing with that probably throughout much of the day tomorrow. So be very careful still there. This is a future of the storm, Category 1 hurricane sometime tomorrow, midday-ish, making landfall across parts of South Carolina. This is a cone, could be anywhere within that area that the center of it comes. But it's going to be a significant rainmaker for a lot of people. And, eventually, the storm kind of stalls out across parts of the Southern Appalachian, kind of just rains itself out. And, because of that, Neil, take a look at this, we're going to be talking about rainfall totals in the five to eight inches range, along with a storm surge, about a four-to-seven-foot storm surge wherever this storm does come in shore, and just off to the right of that. So, still a lot of troubles coming from South Carolina, North Carolina and towards the Mid-Atlantic. Kind of cutoff on the north side of that is probably going to be someplace in Jersey, maybe just to the north or south of New York City, but a rainy Friday, Saturday and Sunday to come across parts of Mid-Atlantic from what is still Ian -- Neil. CAVUTO: Rick, thank you for that. REICHMUTH: You bet. CAVUTO: Molly Line in Savannah, Georgia. Molly, I was looking at what Rick was outlining. It looks like Savannah could skirt this, but not entirely. What is it like there now? MOLLY LINE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we just arrived here in South Carolina. And as you mentioned Savannah, we drove from Savannah here to Charleston over the last couple of hours. And we saw a lot of storm prep, a lot of folks filling up for gas. We had a little bit of trouble finding water and ice, which is both good and bad for folks that are stocking up right now, but good because there are a lot of folks that have taken the time to get the ICE, to get the water, to do the things that the officials are advising people to do. If you take a look over my shoulder here, we're just off of the harbor here in Charleston. You can see there are plenty of people out on the roads and bridges still, perhaps hopefully getting to the destinations where they will be to ride out the storm. That's what the authorities are advising people to do. They're very concerned here in Charleston. Will Nunley was on a few minutes ago talking about the stress, what it takes to get through a storm. And that's the point where they are, the officials here in South Carolina are. They're urging people to be wary not only of the rain, which could potentially drop up to a foot of water here in this area, but also the storm surge, several feet anticipated. So they're warning people about that and also the high winds, which could lead to a multitude of power outages. A big concern, utility crews standing by, getting ready to deploy in the wake of this storm. But, really, they're concerned about human beings being out on the roads and are urging people to stay home, to hunker down and to find a safe place to do that, that, if you are someone that is in one of those low-lying areas that got hit hard in recent hurricanes like Matthew, like Irma, then now's the time to take precautions. Take a listen. This is the mayor of Charleston. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN TECKLENBURG, MAYOR OF CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA: No evacuation order has been given. But if you live in a home that flooded, got water in your home during a recent hurricane, I would highly advise you consider relocating by way of one of the shelters or just staying with someone else, because there will be water tomorrow in the city. (END VIDEO CLIP) LINE: So, high winds, flash flooding, a lot of concerns here particularly about that storm surge coming in. And one more thing they're looking out for, tornadoes as well. So they're urging people to be ready for all sorts of scenarios as the weather gets closer and closer. The concern is that this storm will intensify as it gets closer to that to the coastline. It could potentially be a very big hit for this area -- Neil. CAVUTO: Molly, thank you. I'm sorry. I thought you were in Savannah. It's a good thing you're in Charleston. That's where this is expected to hit. Again, they're looking at for four, five-foot, maybe seven-foot surges here. But the mayor is not forcing the issue for people to evacuate. But, if you're right on the water, maybe that might be a good idea. We will continue following Ian. Here comes "The Five."

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