Nowhere will be safe: Can scary words save public from Irma? - Florida Politics

Nowhere will be safe: Can scary words save public from Irma?

Catastrophic, life-threatening, extremely dangerous. Scary? Forecasters hope so.

The National Weather Service are using as fearful words as they can, on purpose, to warn people about Hurricane Irma and shock them into action, just as they did last month for Hurricane Harvey.

“Words like catastrophic, get out, life-threatening, hopefully it will sink in,” said National Hurricane Center spokesman and meteorologist Dennis Feltgen.

The weather office on the Florida Keys may have done him one better.

“(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)THIS IS AS REAL AS IT GETS(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)NOWHERE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS WILL BE SAFE(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO EVACUATE(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)” The National Weather Service’s Florida Keys office tweeted Friday.

A year ago, the National Weather Service announced it would stop screaming in all capital letters unless in case of emergency. This is an emergency.

The hurricane center used all capitals some places and in other places just kept hinting at death if you don’t pay attention.

“Irma is expected to make landfall in Florida as an extremely dangerous major hurricane, and will bring life-threatening wind impacts to much of the state regardless of the exact track of the center,” a Friday posting wrote. “This is a life-threatening situation. Everyone in these areas should take all actions to protect life and property from rising water and follow evacuation instructions from local officials.”

During Harvey, Feltgen joked he was running out of words to convey how dangerous the storm was. He said the situation was the same with Irma on Friday.

“Do I need to bring a thesaurus here and see what I can do with it,” Feltgen said. “This is a storm that will kill you if you don’t get out of the way.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

1 Comment

  1. The question is, where does the government’s responsibility lie? Should they be propagandizing the storms to make morons wake up or should they just give the people the facts and let them make up their own minds. With Irma, their spaghetti models are more like snake models, writhing and convulsing in all different directions with no well defined direction of movement. That’s OK because they are man-made predictions and they are a best guess at what a storm is going to do. Sometimes, they are WAY off as in the case of Irma but. This story says NOAA is hyping the storm to get the attention of morons. Sadly, when that happens and the storm doesn’t go as predicted, those who evacuated early as they were encouraged to do, wasted their time. Those who actually should have evacuated waited thinking they would be safe. In the end, propaganda fails everyone. There will always be morons but most people want to do the right thing. In the future, NOAA, stick to the facts and screw the hype. Every time you do that to me, and you have done it a lot lately and last year, you lose credibility and my respect. I am far less likely to heed your trumped up warnings the next and I could die because of it. Just the facts, please…no hype. Most of us can make good decisions with good information and you can’t take care of everybody by addressing the morons, the lowest common denominator because the morons are the least likely to follow your instructions even if your predictions are spot on.

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