THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR SEPTEMBER 10, 2017 AND WILL BE UPDATED.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: And we are joined now by the Florida Governor Rick Scott. He comes to us from Tallahassee this morning.
Governor, thank you for joining us this morning.
What can you tell us about what’s happening in the Keys right now?
GOV. RICK SCOTT, (R) FLORIDA: Well, I spoke to the keys just a little bit ago. They’re getting pounded.
The — the person I spoke to still has cell service and actually has the internet, but what they’re worried about is the other part of the island — he’s in the north part, the other part of the island is getting flooding, a lot of waves. He’s worried about the storm surge.
I mean, if you look at — we’re going to get it. We’re going the get everything. We’re going to get all the winds of Andrew. We’re going to get this across our whole state, because it’s so big. But we’re also going to get the storm surge.
This state has never seen a storm surge like this. I live in Naples. This is going to go up our west coast. We’re going to have 10 to 15 feet above ground level of storm surge. There will be a little bit less as it goes up the coast, but you know the west coast is very, very low.
So, I ask everybody to — the most important thing is to pray for us. We have done everything we can to be prepared. I’m sure there is something else we could have done. I know a lot of people want to donate. If you want to do a $10 donation go to — text disaster at 20222. And we’re still asking for volunteers. We have opened over 4,000 shelters. We’re going to need volunteers to help us distribute food. You can go to VolunteerFlorida.org to volunteer as the storm passes.
So we’re going to just — just pray for us. I talked to the president today. I’ve talked to him pretty much every day. He said he’ll be praying for us. He’s a — offered every resource there is of the federal government. I tell you whether it’s what we’re doing here in Tallahassee, our first responders, the federal government, we’re going to make sure every person in the state is taken care of to the extent we can. It’s hard to do it during a storm, but as soon as that storm passes, our first responders will be out there doing everything they can to take care of every person in the state.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor, you could not have been more clear in the warnings you gave people across the south of the state, now the entire state. Do you have a sense of what
difference that made, especially in the Keys?
SCOTT: I hope so. George, we don’t have the exact numbers of how many people stayed in Keys, but think about that. I mean, they’re going to have, you know, 130-mile-an-hour winds. They’re going to have 10 to 25 inches of rain. This is a low-lying area. And then on top of that, the potential of 15 foot of storm surge. So, I hope everybody listened. I hope that’s true along the west coast. I was looking at the traffic cameras around the state this morning, and people are off our roads. They’re hunkering down. I hope they all got to high ground and got to safe places.
We opened up over 400 shelters around the state. We kept opening them yesterday. So I hope people are — it’s — now it’s late. But I pray that everybody got to safety.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your biggest worry right now?
SCOTT: My biggest worry is the people that didn’t evacuate and they don’t understand the risk
of the storm surge.
George, last year, we got storm surge up in the panhandle. And this water just comes in. And it just fills up your house. And then it goes out. And people — this lady — I can tell you a story about a lady, she was — she wanted to stay because of her pets. She was in a one-story house. The water got to three feet, she knew she wouldn’t survive. Thank god when she left her house to try to get away, there was a high-water vehicle just leaving and she got — she survived. Of course, her pets didn’t.
But, I just hope people understand that this storm surge is just deadly.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Well, governor, you did put out those warnings. Thank you. I know you have a big job ahead the rest of the day.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to bring in Brock Long now, the FEMA administrator. And Mr. Long, we just did heard the governor say he’s getting every resource he needs from the federal government. You are deployed across the state, across the region.
BROCK LONG, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Our goal is to help with Governor Scott’s response and recovery goals. And in order to do that, we have been leaning forward for multiple days. We basically pushed everything we can forward, including three days’ worth of commodities into the state. We have teams, incident management teams, power teams ready to go. We actually have liaisons in a multitude of counties that are about to take the brunt of the storm.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you have got now landfall in the Keys. That’s, you know, likely to be the hardest hit area in Florida, long-term recovery there.
LONG: Yes, so anytime you’re in that northeast quadrant of the storm as it’s moving north, that’s where the winds that define the intensity of the storm typically are. That’s where the storm surge is going to occur. And that’s where tornadoes typically occur as these systems come on-shore.
The problem with it is, is it’s going to skirt the west coast and drive storm surge not only from the Keys but well up the coast of Florida. So, it’s a worst case scenario for Florida on the west coast.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, you know, FEMA is now spending, what, $200 million a day responding to both Harvey and Irma, despite the fact that Congress just approved a big tranche, I guess, what, $15 billion on Friday. This need is going to go on for a long time.
LONG: Yes, you’re right. And, you know, it’s interesting. So the — the key to a great response and recovery is solid communication. And, you know, I want to — I want to express that the Congress has been working very closely with us.
I’m in great communication with the White House and homeland security. We’ve all been working together. They realize what needs to be done to give me the enduring authority to push forward and not only, you know, help Texas but also Florida, and don’t forget about the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as well.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I wanted to ask you about that. The storm has already passed through the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Clean up, recovery beginning there.
LONG: Yes, so luckily we got Jose out of the way. It shut us down for about 24 hours yesterday. And we had to batten down the hatches. We couldn’t do the search and rescue that we wanted to do. But, you know, today is all about turning the corner and giving them a bridge — you know, a bridge to
And so, you know, they have had massive power outages, not only in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and we have got to get the power back up. But it’s going to be a long time. And that’s the key to restoring routine.
STEPHANOPOULOS: FEMA Administrator Brock Long, thanks very much.
LONG: Thank you.