With another extreme weather event hitting the United States in the form of Hurricane Ida, it’s that time again when poor weather reporters are seen outside getting battered by the elements.
And at the age of 67, viewers are concerned about NBC weatherman Al Roker, who was seen dealing with strong waves on the coast of New Orleans on the network’s Meet The Press programme on Sunday.
150mph winds were reported when the storm made landfall later that day, causing New Orleans homes to lose power and making it a category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
The rating means “catastrophic damage will occur”, with the possibility for “well-built framed homes” sustaining “severe damage” as trees fall and power poles are struck down.
BBC News reports that one person has died after a tree hit their home in Louisiana’s capital city, Baton Rouge.
In a statement on Sunday, US President Joe Biden described the storm as “life-threatening”, adding that “we shouldn’t kid ourselves”.
“This is going to be … a devastating hurricane, a life-threatening storm. So, please, all you folks in Mississippi – and in Louisiana, Mississippi, and, God knows, maybe even further east – take precautions.
“Listen. Take it seriously — really, very seriously,” he said.
Given the very real threat of Hurricane Ida, people were concerned to see Roker out there braving the storm to report on it:
Yet, speaking to The Sunday Show’s Jonathan Capehart later that day, the weatherman brushed off fears from those online, saying the news package was “one of these things”.
“Folks on Twitter were, ‘first of all, why is NBC putting him out there?’ I volunteered to come out here. This is what I do.
“I’ve done this for 40 years … We all make sure we’re safe. We’re not going to do something that puts ourselves in harm’s way.”
He then turned to those who said that he is “too old” to be out covering severe storms for the news programme.
“Well, hey, guess what? Screw you, okay?
“Try to keep up. Keep up, okay?
“These young punks. I will come after them. I will drop them like a bag of dirt,” Roker joked, as Capehart burst into laughter.
People have since responded to the broadcaster’s remarks, heaping praise on Roker for his comments:
However, despite the presenter’s reassurances that him and his team are safe when covering the extreme weather event, some still criticised the reporting:
Roker also took to Twitter himself in an attempt to calm people’s worries, showing a video of him emptying his boots of water and writing that it was “part of the job”.
“My crew and I were safe and we are back at our hotel and … for those who think I’m too old to be doing this, try and keep up,” his post read.