Shepard Smith is normally a cool head in the face of trouble. But his dire warning about Hurricane Matthew caught a lot of internet attention yesterday.
From The Huffington Post:
[Smith] laid out a terrifying scenario to urge people living on or near Florida’s eastern coast to evacuate before the storm made landfall on Friday.
“This moves 20 miles to the west, and you and everyone you know are dead — all of you — because you can’t survive it,” he said. ”It’s not possible unless you’re very, very lucky. And your kids die, too.”
The tweet that captured these comments currently has almost 71,000 retweets.
And while Smith was perhaps a bit too melodramatic, I’m giving him a pass on this one. For one thing, Smith hails from Mississippi which has seen its own share of bad hurricanes. In another video, also below, Smith discusses friends in Mississippi in a previous hurricane. They “were as well prepared they could be until the 28-foot storm surge wiped their house off the earth," Smith warned.
Furthermore, the storm is already reportedly responsible for more than 800 deaths in Haiti.
So to my mind, it’s better that Smith may have been over-cautious than to downplay the dangers, as some conservatives have done.
Watch Smith below from Fox News' October 6 coverage of Hurricane Matthew and let me know what you think.
Thanks Fox News! pic.twitter.com/eGV2CCMSIo— Marty of Social Club (@Deathbymartymar) October 6, 2016
I lived in Florida during the ‘50s/’60s and think that people who brag about “sticking it out” are being irresponsible, not because they don’t know what they’re doing (as I’m sure you do) but because that sort of talk encourages recent arrivals to do the same. Whereas you probably live in an older house located on high ground that’s been through several storms, they are more likely to be in newer ones built in more vulnerable locations. Along Florida’s west coast during the ‘80s and ’90s, insurance companies wouldn’t give you coverage unless the ground floor of your home could be sacrificed" so that upper floors would stay standing. I think they’re called “wash-away levels” or some such thing.
“This moves 20 miles to the west, and you and everyone you know are dead — all of you — because you can’t survive it,”
This is EXACTLY the kind of shit that makes folks LESS likely to seek out shelter (or heed official warnings) in the future.
Now, there’s no doubt that storm surges are dangerous but there have to be very specific conditions for a storm surge to cause the kind of damage that Smith is hyperbolizing—and virtually none apply to Florida. For some of the barrier islands, less, a 20 foot storm surge would definitely put most of the islands under quite a bit of water—but for inland areas, they have to be close enough to a MAJOR body of water (such as a river, like the St John’s) for the surge to really have any impact as well as being VERY low-lying. Granted, there are a lot of idiots in the Matthew-affected areas of Florida who have homes and businesses built way too close to the coastline and these folks do have genuine cause for concern. But the way Smith’s talking here, he’s making it seem like places like Orlando and Gainesville will be as seriously affected as Jacksonville and the Coast. But here’s some fun information: Even Jacksonville won’t be seriously affected because much of the city is actually above what would be considered major flood zone areas. The St John’s River has a very narrow mouth—about 1/2 mile wide—and it doesn’t widen much more than that for a dozen miles. The River also has twists and turns and a number of islands for most of that distance, and then there’s a major bend in the River, turning south. But the River’s natural flow is from south to north. So combining all those factors, the bigger problem for flooding in most of Jax is from the heavy rains, rather than storm surge.
Again—this shouldn’t remotely minimize the devastation caused from storm surges but Smith was BEYOND irresponsible in his “reporting.” The man should be prosecuted for TERRORISM because that’s EXACTLY what he was doing.
I have been through a half dozen hurricanes in my life.
Of course this is the land of gov. Rick Scott. Who ripped medicare for about a billion. And they elected this SOB.
Florida man strikes again!!