FLORIDA – Fox News anchor Shepard Smith has a clear message for Floridians thinking about ignoring Hurricane Matthew evacuations – death is imminent.
"This moves 20 miles to the west, you and everyone you know are dead. All of you...and your kids die, too."
Meteorologists and anchors have a difficult job every time a serious weather event looms – finding the proper tone and message to keep people safe while simultaneously avoiding later accusations of over-hype.
Earlier in the day, he had some strong words for one Florida woman determined to ride out the storm at home:
Smith wasn't alone in offering the stark choice of death or evacuation, Florida Gov. Rick Scott had this to say at a press conference on Hurricane Matthew:
After all, on August 28, 2005, meteorologist Robert Ricks foresaw Katrina's devastation and drafted one of the most terrifying weather bulletins ever, but, whether they were unable or unwilling to evacuate, there were still residents who stayed in their homes.
Ricks warned that "WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS" and that PERSONS…PETS…AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK."
In an interview with NBC Nightly News after the storm, Ricks was asked, "If you knew the damage was going to be like this, you did everything in your power to tell people a monster was coming, did the response break your heart?"
Ricks replied, "Yes, it did. Because we always prepare for the big one; we just didn't think it was going to come this soon."
See Ricks' weather bulletin in its entirety below:
Urgent – Weather Message
National Weather Service New Orleans LA
1011AM CDT Sun Aug 28 2005
…Devastating Damage Expected…
.Hurricane Katrina…a most powerful hurricane with unprecedented strength…rivaling the intensity of Hurricane Camille of 1969.
Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks…perhaps longer. At least one half of well constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fail…leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed.
The majority of industrial buildings will become non functional. Partial to complete wall and roof failure is expected. All wood framed low rising apartment buildings will be destroyed. Concrete block low rise apartments will sustain major damage…including some wall and roof failure.
High rise office and apartment buildings will sway dangerously…a few to the point of total collapse. All windows will blow out.
Airborne debris will be widespread…and may include heavy items such as household appliances and even light vehicles. Sport utility vehicles and light trucks will be moved. The blow debris will create additional destruction. Persons…pets…and livestock exposed to the winds will face certain death if struck.
Power outages will last for weeks…as most power poles will be down and transformers destroyed. Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards.
The vast majority of native trees will be snapped or uprooted. Only the heartiest will remain standing…but be totally defoliated. Few crops will remain. Livestock left exposed to the winds will be killed.
An inland hurricane wind warning is issued when sustained winds near hurricane force…or frequent gusts at or above hurricane force…are certain within the next 12 to 24 hours.
Once tropical storm and hurricane force winds onset…do not venture outside!