Many commenters expressed their concern for The TODAY Show‘s Al Roker this weekend as he covered Hurrican Ida, and he had a blunt response. Roker posted a video on Twitter on Sunday where he took of his boot revealing it was full of water and dumped it into his bathtub. He challenged his viewers: “try and keep up.”
Roker is 67 years old and he has been covering extreme weather for many years over at NBC. He let fans know that he has no interest in stopping, both on Twitter and on the air. The meteorologist rejected viewers’ spin that he is being somehow “forced” to cover the hurricane battering Louisiana right now, writing: “I volunteered to do this. Part of the job.” Meanwhile, in a viral clip from his coverage, he said: “These young punks, I will come after them! I will drop them like a bag of dirt!”
For all those who were worried about me out on #lakepontchartrain covering #Ida a) I volunteered to do this. Part of the job. b) My crew and I were safe and we are back at our hotel and c) for those who think I’m too old to to be doing this, try and keep up pic.twitter.com/DctJBFKD0D
— Al Roker (@alroker) August 29, 2021
Fans at least got a good laugh out of Roker’s bold statements, if nothing else. Many thought that he was helping to make light of an otherwise grim story, as Hurricane Ida seems poised to cause serious damage when it lands. At the time of this writing, the National Weather Service lists it as a Category 4 hurricane, which is likely to cause major flooding and force evacuations.
“You are a national treasure!! Well done, sir! I have to admit, I was worried and yelling at the television to get you to safety,” one person tweeted at Roker. Another wrote: “I wouldn’t trust hearing the reports from anyone else. That’s because your vast experience has proven your integrity to put forth reliable information. Don’t let inexperienced and arrogant youth come between you and what is important. You are so loved and appreciated.”
— The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart (@TheSundayShow) August 29, 2021
Still, others continued to argue that Roker was taking unnecessary risks to sensationalize coverage when he could convey the same information from the safety of a studio. Many argued that he was contributing to the mixed messaging that leads some stubborn people to ignore evacuation orders when a storm like this approaches since they see news crews on the scene.
The eye of Hurricane Ida made landfall at about 4 p.m. CT on Sunday, and the NWS has reported flooding of up to 9 feet above ground level so far. The agency is urging anyone still in the area to seek help in getting evacuated before more “catastrophic damage” ensues.