KFOR meteorologist Mike Morgan is taking criticism on social media for telling viewers in the path of a tornado that hit the area Friday night to hit the road if they couldn’t find shelter.
Viewers and meteorologists from stations as far away as Dallas, TX, say Morgan should have told viewers to stay put. Friday night the interstates were clogged with a combination of rush hour traffic and residents fleeing the path of yet another set of tornadoes to hit the area in recent weeks.
“Call your neighbor. Go to that place. If you can’t, you need to be going,” Morgan told viewers Friday night as the tornado approached Yukon, OK. “I would recommend going Southbound. You need to part the water with this. You need to part the water and get out of its way…I’d go Southbound do it now….Just take I-44 and just go down to Newcastle.”
At one point Morgan also said, “No one should be traveling westbound out of Oklahoma City on I-40. The tornado’s totally encompassing I-40, coming right down I-40.” He tossed to KFOR’s Mark Dillard in the field who also warned motorists to stay off Interstate 40.
Rick Mitchell, meteorologist for Dallas NBC owned KXAS joined Damon Lane and Danielle Dozier from rival ABC affiliate KOCO, along with Tony Cristaldi a meteorologists from the National Weather Service in Melbourne, FL, and multiple viewers in tweeting their feelings about Morgan.
After tweeting, “Not to get on my soapbox, but we really need to address this new message of having to leave a storm’s path in order to survive…” Mitchell told TVSpy, “I’m not a believer in witch hunts,” adding he thinks this can be what they call a “teaching moment” for meteorologists and viewers alike.
“I believe we need to eliminate this one sentence from weather coverage: “if you are not below ground, you will die,” Mitchell added. “That is an incorrect and misleading statement that makes some people feel they have no choice other than to get in their cars and try to outrun the storm. If one is going to leave their home, they must do so BEFORE a warning is issued so there is plenty of time.”
Below, you can watch a viewers recorded footage of Morgan’s warning to viewers.
We’ve reached out to KFOR for comment. We will update when we hear back.
[The Lost Ogle]
>CORRECTION: TVSpy attributed a quote to Patrick Marsh that was not his. Marsh tweeted, “Horrified by what I saw and heard today. Media gave really bad safety advice & condoned horrendous behavior by showing the videos they did.” The quote used in the original piece “What KFOR told people to do could probably be considered a form of negligence,” was tweeted as part of Marsh’s conversation by Jeremy Grams who is not associated with NOAA. We apologize for the mistake.