Oklahoma TV Meteorologist Under Fire for Tornado ReportingKFOR's Mike Morgan told viewers without shelters to flee in their cars
Oklahoma television meteorologist Mike Morgan is being criticized for his reporting on the tornadoes that hit the Oklahoma City area on Friday, May 31. Morgan, chief meteorologist for Oklahoma City TV station KFOR, told viewers that if they couldn't take shelter underground or in a safe room, they should take to the roads and flee.
"If you can't get below ground, get out of its way," he tells viewers at 14:40 in the video above. "But you don't have any time left. You can't wait any longer. It's got to be done immediately. Just drive to the east, away from it."
According to Reuters, some people say they took Morgan's advice and found themselves in stalled traffic on major highways.
The Oklahoman reports that at least eight of the 20 people who died in the storms were in their vehicles.
The news organization pointed out that a former Oklahoma City TV meteorologist who is currently working in Dallas disagreed with Morgan's advice. "Not to get on my soapbox," Rick Mitchell tweeted Saturday morning, "but we really need to address this new message of having to leave a storm's path in order to survive ..."
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin called the situation on the roads a "nightmare."
Ernst Kiesling, research professor at Texas Tech's National Wind Institute, also criticized the advice. "Irresponsible reporting of that kind is unconscionable in my mind," Kiesling told Reuters. "You have the responsibility to give more than your off-the-cuff opinions."
Morgan has worked at KFOR since 1993 and has won numerous awards, including five Emmys. Morgan has not appeared on the station since Friday's report. KFOR said the meteorologist is on vacation and will return Thursday.
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