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CNN10 2020-09-17

CNN 10

Hurricane Sally Makes Landfall In Alabama; The Effects Of Wildfires In The Western U.S.; A Man In India Is Taking Steps To Preserve The Biodiversity Of Seeds. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired September 17, 2020 - 04:00:00 聽 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Thanks for hanging 10 with CNN 10. I'm Carl Azuz. Thankful to be part of your Thursday.

Nature plays a starring role in today's show.

First, we're getting you up to speed with Hurricane Sally, which finally made landfall on Wednesday. While it was in the Gulf, the storm had strengthened then weakened then strengthened again. It curved east as it slowly approached the U.S. Gulf Coast.

And on Wednesday morning, Sally hit Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a category hurricane 2, with wind speeds of 105 miles per hour.

It was the same spot and the same date when Hurricane Ivan struck 16 years ago. But even though it wasn't as strong as Ivan, Hurricane Sally was a much slower-moving storm. The category 2 system dragged ashore at miles per hour, slower than people walk, and that gave it more time to dump rain on Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

Between 10 and 35 inches were possible in the region. Significant downfalls were expected in Central Georgia and the Carolinas as well. Power was knocked out for more than 500,000 customers and fallen trees, flooded streets and water rescues were all part of the scene Wednesday in Pensacola, Florida.

That's where CNN's Gary Tuchman made this report.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pensacola Beach this barrier island south of the city of Pensacola Florida is a beautiful place to live and visit, but certainly not right now. This feels like the hurricane that will never end, it's now been torrentially raining for about 15 hours straight.

And now, the winds are picking up. We have hurricane force gusts, 16 mile per hour sustained winds, but the winds are not the story. The hurricane's 105 miles per hour right now, it's the rain. Catastrophic, historic flooding is expected.

Here in this resort town, the roads are covered. It is an island and the bridge is in our closed if you're here like we are, you're here for the duration now you can't get off it. Just to let you know, we're safe, we're taking the precautions necessary in this kind of situation. We're staying away from the wreckage that's blowing around, but the real concern is this flooding.

There's just nowhere for this water to go and it's expected except for more hours. There's no mandatory evacuation order. It's a voluntary evacuation order, partially because there's concern for some people about going into shelters in the COVID pandemic. But people are taking it very seriously, we haven't seen anyone walking around during daylight yesterday and certainly no one walking around right now in the middle of this danger.


AZUZ: As one part of the U.S. prays for the rain to stop, another is hoping it will start. Weeks of hot dry weather on the U.S. West Coast have made conditions worse for the wildfires burning there. Dozens of people have been killed, thousands of homes have been lost, and more than 4.7 million acres have burned.

Dry grass and high winds have fueled the spread of the flames. Relief may be on the way for parts of the Pacific Northwest. Rain is in the forecast and that could make things much easier for firefighters in Oregon and Washington.

But it comes too late for places like Talent in Southwest Oregon. One fire burned much of the city to rubble and ash covered by the red fire retardant you see in these pictures.

CNN 10 contributor Tyler Mauldin shows how even in places that haven't been burned, the air tells the story of the disaster -- Tyler.


TYLER MAULDIN, CNN 10 CONTRIBUTOR: It's been a record-setting wildfire season for the west coast of the U.S., Carl, and all those fires recently made it appear as if we are now the inhabitants of Mars. Rapid, uncontained fires caused the sky to have an out of this world orange and red hue all over. These eerie, apocalyptic views are due to smoke and ash from fires being pulled into the air. You could see it from space on satellite imagery. That's how much of it was in the air. The image on your left shows clear skies, not a cloud in sight which is what one would see on a normal sunny day.

Meanwhile the image on your right shows a different view. There's a lot of brown blanketing in the region, which is the smoke and ash from the wildfires thousands of feet up. The smoke and ash are the main ingredients for creating this aura of something only seen in sci-fi acting very much like Mother Nature's own Instagram or Snapchat filter.

The reason for this is the same reason as to why the sky is blue or why you see colorful sunrises or sunsets.

Remember the acronym ROYGBIV? Sure you do. Each letter stands for a different wavelength on the visible spectrum, which correlates with a different color seen with the naked eye -- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. When the sun's rays move through the sky, it hits these particles of smoke and ash lofted in the air. The particles then force the smaller wavelengths, blues and greens, to be scattered all about, making us unable to see the colors on that side of the spectrum.

Instead, the longer wavelengths of red to yellow are able to pass through these particles and reach the surface of the earth, giving way to this haunting effect for us to see.

Unfortunately, Carl, we could see more events similar to this one. There's a lot of wildfire season left to go and all signs point to no significant improvement in fire conditions in the months to come.



AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

What do tomatoes, jalapenos, eggplants and okra all have in common?

Are they all vegetables, fruits, gourds or seedless?

Believe it or not, these are all technically fruits, though they're often cooked and eaten as vegetables.


AZUZ: Biodiversity is our next subject today. I told you this was all about nature.

Ten years ago, the leaders of 196 countries got together in Japan. Among the goals of their convention were to protect ecosystems and to conserve biodiversity, the many different species of animals and plants living in the world. Their deadline was 2020. The United Nations published a report this week that said not a single goal of the conference was reached.

But there are individuals taking steps on a small scale to do what the summit had aimed for on a larger one, and one of those people is the subject of today's "Great Big Story".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If just over a hundred years ago, you went to the market and say you wanted to buy tomatoes, you would have 400-plus varieties of tomatoes, 400-plus types of squashes, 300-plus types of just peas. It would be mind boggling.

We have lost of the biodiversity we've had in vegetables and the shocking thing is how few people are aware of what's happening.

You know, seed-keeping was a tradition that existed for thousands of years, but in the past hundred years or so, we've lost that tradition and today, farmers buy seeds from the market. There are no desi native seeds that are actually sold by commercial companies in India today.

So I felt that if I didn't start to preserve whatever is left now, this would be a disaster. I have probably tested about varieties of indigenous vegetables and made sure that they grow in the environment suitably.

This is a Hanuman Gada. Gada in Sanskrit means a mace. It's what gods used to fight with. We call this the blue tomato. We will have to think of a better name.

We have more than five types of okras. We have white, green, purple and then we have got this painted lady. It's like somebody took a paintbrush and nicely sort of streaked the ridges.

The reason why these vegetables have gone extinct, we introduced industrial agriculture. Until then, farmers were the producers of seeds and they were the keepers of seeds. So if there were varieties of indigenous vegetables, they were not included in this new business model.

My greatest hope is that the urban gardeners will be the ones who will save what biodiversity is left. You can grow this in your balcony or terrace on your kitchen garden and you've saved something.

As far as I am concerned, we cannot afford to even lose out on one vegetable variety that's facing extinction. We have to preserve them. We don't have a choice.

Genetic biodiversity is essential for the survival of the entire planet. This variety could have just slipped out of this planet without anybody knowing. Yet, it's somehow still there and I have a small role to play in that. To me, that is my biggest reward.


AZUZ: Monkey accused of stealing phone taking selfies -- 10 out of 10. A Malaysian man says he lost his phone on Saturday and thought it was stolen he says he was still trying to call it Sunday when he heard a ringing from the jungle behind his house not far from where a monkey had been spotted.

According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, the man checked the photo gallery and said it was stocked with pictures of the possible thief, along with nature shots.

Of course the evidence might simian circumstantial, some lawyers might not be giving it much credence, especially if they can't chimpanzee their way to winning the case. But you got to grieve (ph) it some credit because once you look tamer into the facts, they tell a lion tale that gives a baboon to the argument over what the primate or tried to.

Hinckley-Finlayson High School is in Hinckley, Minnesota. We heard from you guys on YouTube. You guys are awesome.

I m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.