Is Oklahoma Meteorologist to Blame for Tornado Deaths?
A meteorologist in Oklahoma is facing serious criticism that he’s to blame for the deaths of five people in last month’s tornado. A woman named Virginia Shrum said she and her family were watching coverage on KFOR, an NBC affiliate, while discussing whether to hide in the house or leave.
That’s when they say meteorologist Mike Morgan settled the debate when he said the following on air: “It’s heading right down Interstate 40. You cannot be above ground in Yukon. You got to go south and you need to go now. And you need to be below ground – interior bathroom or closet’s not going to do it.”
The group of 11 family and friends ran to the drainage tunnel. The tornado missed them, but flash flooding swept all of them into the Oklahoma River. Four of the five who died were children. One child’s body still has not been recovered.
Morgan reportedly posted that he’s shed many tears over the criticism about him, though many are also coming to his defense. KFOR said in a statement: “After every major storm, we review our coverage and the many things that make each weather event unique for the purpose of improving our coverage and our ability to forecast.”
Kelly’s Court debated whether the meteorologist should be held accountable for these deaths. Megyn Kelly commented, “Your heart goes out to the family of those who were killed, but you also have to feel for this meteorologist who was just trying to help the people of his community.”
Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl does not believe Morgan has blood on his hands. She argued that he followed standard procedure by telling people to take cover. “Could he have foreseen, in the legal sense, the flash flooding? […] No, so there’s not civil liability.”
Defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh disagreed. He said experts seem to indicate that the line where Morgan told people to “go south” was “completely irresponsible.”
However, Kelly pointed out that one man has publicly said that his daughter was saved by heeding Morgan’s advice. Wiehl added that it’s unclear how many others were spared by following his directions.
Eiglarsh said that certainly helps his case, “but it doesn’t negate what he did, assuming what he did was irresponsible.”
The family has not filed a lawsuit.
Watch part one of Kelly's Court above and part two below.