Mike Morgan, chief meteorologist at Oklahoma City’s KFOR Channel 4, is taking a lot of heat for telling people to drive away from Friday night’s tornadoes.
Did he or didn’t he? I suppose there’s room for misinterpretation. I suppose he could have meant drive south if you’re already in your car. After all, it was rush hour. The roads were already gridlocked with a combination of local and interstate traffic. Surely he knew this.
Personally, I’d have stayed home, sheltering in place. (Admittedly, if I were still a commuter there, I’d have been trying to get home, which was to the north.) You never want to be caught outside with tornadoes in the area. Longtime residents of central Oklahoma know this. (Of course, there are always newcomers who need instructions.)
Yet Morgan himself is a longtime resident. So what were people to think when he said “drive south” while the meteorologists at the other two major stations were saying “take cover indoors”? What was he thinking?
In this video, Morgan first says “go south” at about 1:15. Again at about 4:35 and 4:54. His most emphatic warning comes near the end, at about 8:45.
Then there’s this from his radio feed, which many people already on the road would have heard:
Eleven people died in the storm, most of them caught in their cars. Three were stormchasers.
What do you think? What would you have done if you’d been listening to Mike Morgan?