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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  September 6, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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joining us next. >> we'll be back at 6:00. hope to see you then. thanks. tonight, targeting florida. category 5 hurricane irma walloping the caribbean as the forecast track becomes clearer, and it's not good news for the sunshine state. a full blown emergency amid growing fears of a direct hit. as we come on the air, two more hurricanes have formed. were they blindsided? president trump sides with democrats in a key fight over money leaving many republicans livid as a rift grows between the president and many in his own party. caught on camera. controversy over an nfl star's rough confrontation with police. he says he did nothing wrong but says officers put a gun to his head and targeted him because he's black. and inspiring america. a wedding vow from an extraordinary bride using her
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big day for the gift of giving. "nightly news" begins right now. >> from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is nbc "nightly news" with lester holt. good evening to our viewers in the west. thank you for being here tonight. at this hour, the powerful hurricane irma more and more appears to be locked on to deliver a major blow to the state of florida this coming weekend. the storm's track coming into better focus tonight after the category 5 hurricane slashed its way through the caribbean with devastating results. irma still producing sustained winds of around 185 miles per hour. here's a look inside the storm's eye from a hurricane hunter plane. and now forecasters are tracking two brand-new hurricanes formed in just the last few hours. once again our team is in place to bring you the latest. we want to start here in studio with al roker who can show us what all is in motion right now. >> lester, this thing continues to break records.
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the longest hurricane since 1980 to have winds over 180 miles per hour. right now 55 miles east-northeast of san juan with 185-mile-per-hour winds moving west-northwest at 16 miles per hour. puerto rico gets a glancing blow. the turks and caicos and the bahamas will take a devastating hit with winds of up to 175 miles per hour and storm surges up to 20 feet. that's friday night. then cuba avoids a problem, but then early sunday morning into sunday afternoon, a direct hit, right now the way it looks, along the east coast of florida, somewhere near miami. the hurricane models are now all coming together. you can see they're bringing up this line of strong storms as hurricane irma makes its way along the east coast of florida into the southeast. and if that's not enough, we now have, for the first time since 2010, three hurricanes in the atlantic basin. the only one we're worried about for the united states, though, right now, lester, is irma. >> not a pretty picture, al,
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thank you. as we mentioned the life-threatening monster hurricane has blasted through the caribbean hitting with incredible force and causing major damage on its way to puerto rico, which is next in the path and already feeling irma's wrath. that's where we find nbc's morgan radford in the zone of impact in san juan. >> reporter: irma roared into the caribbean at daylight. she was relentless. maybe the strongest hurricane to ever hit the region. category 5. this is what 185-mile-per-hour winds sound like. irma knocked out power throughout the islands. st. martin typically a tropical paradise. now cars under water and buildings splintered. puerto rico is the next target. the governor warning everyone to get inside. the worst yet to come. residents scrambling to higher and drier ground. why have you decided to leave and go to another
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person's house? >> well, here, in fact, with the winds that we are expecting, and i'm so close to the sea. >> reporter: destruction dotting the island, but some refusing to leave. this man says he's lived beside the water for more than 50 years and never had a problem. but most see irma as an emergency, coming to shelters like this. jonathan torres is one of the more than 500 people staying in this coliseum turned emergency shelter. >> everybody is extremely worried. for now i feel kind of safe. when the storm starts roaring, i don't know if it will be the same. >> reporter: here in puerto rico, this storm is moving to the north. as we speak, the outer bands are coming in, waves on to streets and the sidewalk. this as people are hungered down in shelters all across the island. the worst expected to continue through midnight. lester? >> morgan radford, thanks. millions in florida are anxiously eyeing hurricane irma
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and racing to prepare for the worst. the city of miami could be facing a critical test over whether it is prepared well enough for another disaster 25 years after the harsh lessons of hurricane andrew. we've got it all covered now starting with nbc's gabe gutierrez in key largo. gabe, good evening. >> reporter: lester, good evening. florida's governor estimates that about 25,000 people have already evacuated the keys. authorities farther north are planning to close schools and open shelters. and there are emergency declarations in four states, florida, georgia and the carolinas. south florida now in irma's destructive path as the ferocious storm shows no sign of weakening. >> the quicker we get out of here, the better. >> reporter: in the keys an exodus is under way. tonight mandatory evacuation orders in effect. businesses boarding up. thousands cramming on to u.s. 1, the only way out. >> we're evacuating. 5's a little too scary. >> it's a madhouse.
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i don't want to run out of gas on the road. >> reporter: reports that at least a quarter of stations in the miami/ft. lauderdale area are out. keith croft is on the hunt for fuel. >> hope for the best, prepare for the worst. >> reporter: irma's new track has it threatening not just florida but georgia where they're sandbagging in savannah. the atlanta motor speedway opening its campgrounds for irma's evacuees. in north carolina, the national guard is on the move. >> we are urging all people in north carolina to be prepared for the impacts of hurricane irma. >> reporter: like previous monster storms, hugo, floyd and ivan, irma is what's known as a classic cape verde hurricane formed off the coast of africa, typically the most intense. >> this storm is bigger, faster and stronger than hurricane andrew. >> reporter: andrew sliced through florida and louisiana 25 years ago killing dozens, damaging 125,000 homes and causing more than $25 billion in damage. with airlines canceling flights later this week and prices skyrocketing -- >> here we are in a little sprinter rv headed down to ft. myers, florida. >> reporter: the pryor family
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borrowed an rv and drove 16 hours overnight from richmond, virginia, to ft. myers, to rescue 93-year-old grandma janet and her friend beverly. >> and they're in. >> reporter: tonight they're among the millions desperately trying to escape the most powerful atlantic storm in memory. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, key largo, florida. i'm kerry sanders in miami where tonight there's a balancing act. megan kerlen preparing to ride out the storm in south miami. >> we specifically bought this house two years ago because it had full hurricane impact windows and doors. >> reporter: which means what? >> it means that nothing can get through it. it might as well be bulletproof. >> reporter: 25 years ago megan was 11 years old when hurricane andrew pummeled south florida. widespread devastation followed by decades of rebuilding. now concerns if miami is ready to handle another monster storm. this is what miami looks like today. the coastline crowded with new condos, but built with stricter
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codes established after andrew. >> it's a strong building code. >> reporter: is it strong enough? >> this is a question i don't have the answer for you. >> reporter: another danger, 25 cranes the city is now warning could collapse in category 5 winds. and on the highest floors, stronger gusts. 75 miles per hour on the ground turns to 115 miles per hour on the 30th floor. then there's the storm surge that could be 12 feet, which would easily flood a low lying miami neighborhood like this. this is what storm surge looks like. likely worse than what we saw during hurricane matthew in jacksonville beach, florida, last year. which is why even florida storm veterans like megan are anxious tonight. >> the panic has set in now, and i keep hearing where it's shifting and where the winds are, and i'm getting
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nervous. >> reporter: construction companies say they just didn't have enough time to take down these cranes. their plan tonight is to secure them and to let the top spin like a weather vane during irma's violent shifting winds. lester? >> kerry sanders in miami tonight with that report, thank you. as all that plays out, on capitol hill today the house overwhelmingly passed a nearly $8 billion disaster relief bill for victims of hurricane harvey in texas. the senate is expected to go along, but $8 billion is just a fraction of what harvey and now irma are expected to cost. and fema is running low on cash. nbc's tom costello is at fema headquarters in washington to tell us more about it. tom, good evening. >> reporter: lester, good evening. to put it bluntly, fema is right now burning through cash. a billion dollars in a week. that is half of what was in its disaster fund. now with irma bearing down, that burn rate is likely to accelerate. with 30,000 people on the ground in texas alone, fema and its budget are maxed out. from search and rescue to delivering food, water and
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generators for those who have lost everything. >> there's no savings. there's no insurance. we don't know where to go. we're depending on assistance from the federal government. >> reporter: now facing hurricane irma, at fema headquarters in washington, employees are working round the clock seven days a week. fema chief brock long has been on the job since june after a career in disaster management at the state and federal levels. >> the important thing for the american public to understand is that nobody in the united states, regardless of who you are, is immune to disasters. >> reporter: even before hurricane harvey fema was coping with 20 federal disasters including the massive wildfires out west. since harvey fema has been spending roughly $9 million an hour. the $8 billion approved by the house today means fema likely won't run out of money this week, but it's a fraction of the $180 billion it could cost to recover from hurricane harvey alone. and hurricane season
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doesn't end until november. >> we don't just hand out billions of dollars. what we have to do in the aftermath of harvey or irma is work with our state and local partners to identify what are the recovery goals, how do we get them back to a new normal, a more resilient new normal. >> reporter: at a time of calls for shrinking government, tonight a bipartisan agreement the country needs to fund fema. tom costello at fema headquarters in washington. also in washington today, president trump met with congressional leaders at the white house and may have caught top republicans off guard when he sided with democrats in a fight over funding the government. the president angering many in his own party. we get details from our white house correspondent kristen welker. >> reporter: in north dakota tonight president trump vowed to unveil new details about his tax reform plan over the next two weeks as political drama erupted within his own party. the president met with congressional leaders this
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morning where he broke with the gop and sided with democrats on a bill that provides hurricane relief, raises the debt limit and funds the government for three months. at issue, republicans wanted a longer deal on the debt limit. 18 months through the midterm election, but democrats refused. some republicans on capitol hill say he defied the party by striking a deal with democrats. >> that is just false. there's no deal struck with democrats. this is a deal on behalf of the american people. >> reporter: so why did the president do it? tonight a senior administration official tells nbc news the president wanted to move quickly on hurricane relief, and after healthcare reform failed, realized he may need democrats to get things done in washington. today claiming victory. >> everybody was happy. not too happy because you can never be too happy. >> reporter: one senior republican congressional source privately tells nbc news they felt blind sided and even before the deal was struck, house speaker paul ryan lashed out at democrats. >> i think it's
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ridiculous and disgraceful that they want to play politics with the debt ceiling at this moment. >> reporter: looming over all of it, the president's controversial decision to end daca in six months unless congress can come up with a fix. after fierce backlash, the president tweeting, if congress doesn't legalize daca, i will revisit the issue. did you mean you wanted to revisit the issue in six months? >> i want to see what happens in congress. i have a feeling that's not going to be necessary. they're going to make a deal. >> reporter: the president taking heat on all sides from democrats. >> president trump's decision to end daca is a despicable act of political cowardice. >> reporter: and those on the far right -- >> they came here to live in the shadows, and we're not denying them that opportunity to live in the shadows. >> reporter: kristen welker, nbc news, the white house. as the east coast braces for hurricane irma, in the west an explosion of wildfires is racing across several states with crews and resources stretched thin. hundreds of active duty soldiers are now being called into the front lines. nbc news national correspondent miguel almaguer has our report. >> ooh, boy.
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>> reporter: across the west, the race to escape the flames is on. a blanket of fire, a tunnel of smoke. thousands scrambling to get out as firefighters pour in. in utah, outside salt lake city, homes are up in flames. more than a thousand neighbors ordered to stay away. roads, even a river is closed in oregon. 16 square miles of smoke and flames. in a region known for rain, it's fire exploding today. >> time to focus on the house and get the importants out. >> reporter: all of the northwest is feeling the heat. >> this fire has been unpredictable, and that is our cause for concern. >> reporter: with 80 large wildfires torching 2200 square miles in nine western states, billowing smoke is choking the region. from seattle to denver, health warnings are in place. tonight in neighborhoods like this one, the damage is already
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done, but in so many communities late september, the most dangerous part of wildfire season, is still ahead. lester? >> miguel almaguer tonight, thanks. still ahead, caught on camera. police taking down an nfl star. why he says he feared for his life and was only targeted because of the color of his skin. also, the special send-off for a kindergartener on his very first day of school. we'll be right back.
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we're back now with the growing controversy this evening involving one of the nfl's top defensive players and most outspoken voices going on the offensive against las vegas
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police accusing officers of threatening to kill him while using what he says was excessive force, and he says he was targeted because he's black. part of the incident was caught on camera, and nbc's ron mott has the tape. >> i wasn't doing nothing. >> reporter: nfl star michael bennett on the ground cuffed by a las vegas cop in video obtained by tmz sports. on twitter today, bennett claims the officer threatened to blow my [ expletive ] head off jammed his knee into my back and cinched the handcuffs so tight my hands went numb. he said the encounter happened after bennett attended the floyd mayweather and mcgregor fight. he said people heard what sounded like gunshots and ran. that's when police singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing
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wrong simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time. i thought of my girls and would i ever see them again or kiss my wife again. >> there are a lot of people who experienced what i experienced and they're not here to tell their story. >> reporter: he supported colin kaepernick's refusal to stand during the national anthem to protest police violence. sitting for the anthem himself last month. he has hired a prominent attorney. >> it's only because he's sort of rich and famous that he was able to walk away from this without going into custody or even being mistreated any more so than he was. >> reporter: the las vegas metropolitan police department cautioned the public to reserve judgment and promised a fuller explanation. ron mott, nbc news. we'll take a short break here. we're back in a moment with the suspect's brazen escape attempt from inside a police car.
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how much money do you think you'll need in retirement? then we found out how many years that money would last them. how long do you think we'll keep -- oooooohhh! you stopped! you're gonna leave me back here at year 9? how did this happen? it turned out, a lot of people fell short, of even the average length of retirement. we have to think about not when we expect to live to, but when we could live to. let's plan for income that lasts all our years in retirement. prudential. bring your challenges. here's something you have to see to believe out of texas. a shoplifting suspect caught on
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camera slipping out of her handcuffs in the back of a police suv, then climbing into the front seat and shocking officers by stealing it and driving off. she led lufkin police on a chase for more than 20 minutes speeding up to 100 miles per hour before crashing. officers then broke through the driver's side window and took the suspect back into custody. it's an american charge tonight at the u.s. open. with new mom serena williams out and sister venus is in the semifinals joined by sloane stephens and coco vandeweghe. the last final slot could be filled by madison keys who plays tonight. if she wins, it will be the first time american women filled all four semifinal slots at a grand slam since the days of chrissie and martina in 1985. and a touching moment here in new york when a 5-year-old boy got a special send-off for his first day of kindergarten. he's the son of a police officer who was killed in the line of
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duty last year. when he walked out of his home, he found a sea of blue waiting for him. dozens of officers ready to give him a police escort to school for his big day. when we come back, the teacher and bride who is bucking tradition on her wedding day and inspiring america. the racist symbol triggering a
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hate-crime investigation. ===/raj vo=== vegas police chase down and handcuff an nfl player.... and now colin kaepernick weighs in on the accusation of excessive force. ===next close=== next.
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finally tonight, the heartwarming story of a teacher who will soon walk down the aisle, but instead of asking traditional wedding gifts, she's making her special day all about others in need. nbc's joe fryer has more in tonight's "inspiring america" report. >> okay, so let's talk some needs. >> reporter: ricky stewart is teaching her finance students the difference between wants and needs. >> a home. >> a home. okay. we need a home. >> reporter: to her, the lesson is personal. >> this is like a cinderella moment right here. >> reporter: this saturday stewart is getting married, and when it comes to wedding gifts, she wants what others need. >> we started our registry with shoes and backpacks and coats. >> reporter: not for her. you see, stewart put her registry on hoping to collect essentials for students who are homeless.
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ever since, her utah school has been inundated. her students now sorting donations from strangers who heard about stewart's request and said i do. a lot of folks are giving you credit for this. >> i shouldn't get any credit for this. i just had a crazy idea. it is, honestly, because of the kindness of absolute strangers. >> reporter: her school, copper hills high, runs a pantry that gives food, clothing and more to the 110 students here who are homeless. it certainly helped kaline borden, a recent graduate. >> i'm going to cry. it was just nice to have somewhere to go and feel safe. >> reporter: she's blown away by the sight of all these coats. more than a thousand so far. >> to have miss stewart help all of these kids is just the kindest thing of her especially because it's one of her biggest days in her life. >> reporter: and if you're wondering how the groom feels about all this, he's thrilled. >> that's one of the reasons, quite frankly, that i love her. >> reporter: a wedding with vows to help those in need. joe fryer, nbc news, west jordan, utah. >> congratulations to both of them. we appreciate you spending part of your evening
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with us. that is "nightly news" for this wednesday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching, and good night. right now at 6: coping with one disaster --- while rushing to get ready for the next one. bay area crews mobilizing -- ahead of the historic bay area crews ahead of the )storic hurricane headed towards florida. the news at 6:00 starts right now. night is 9:00 in puerto rico and hurricane irma is unleashing power on the u.s. territory. here is the latest video taken before night fall. s u can see the streets are empty because of the wind and rain. most people heeding the governor's warning to stay
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inside. at this point, puerto rico is etting a glancing blow from the category five storm passing just north of the island. i want to show it to you on radar. g irman see irma, category five hters ane making its way for the dominican republic. >> jeff ranieri is tracking the path. we begin with robert handa in oakland. whether do local firefighters start heading out of town? >> reporter: here at the task force warehouse, there has been quite a scramble to get personnel, equipment and supplies ready to head out for deployment early thursday morning, and to get everyone ready for another hurricane but with much different conditions. the race is on against hurricane irma as urban rescue units get ready to switch from one disaster to another. >> because we've been doi ing we area searches, we need gps. >> reporter: the task force is packing extra medical bags, search equipment and supplies this evening. the


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