Veteran meteorologist Al Roker was recently hit by waves while doing live coverage of Hurricane Ida on Sunday, 29 August 2021. The 67-year-old appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press segment from New Orleans when the hurricane lashed into the region.
In the video, the reporter was seen wearing a large wetsuit and struggling to stand amid the harsh weather as waves from the waters of Lake Pontchartrain slammed into the area. Al Roker was also heard communicating with host Chuck Wood from the venue:
“I guess we lost communication. It’s basically a 15-mile-wide F3 tornado.”
In response, the latter commented:
"Al Roker, get out of that unsafe weather there."
The clip of the coverage went viral immediately upon release, leaving several fans concerned about the weatherman. Many social media users called out the channel for risking Al Roker's life.
However, Al Roker took to Instagram to assure fans he was safe and also mentioned that he volunteered to do the coverage:
"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 be doing this, try and keep up."
Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast on Sunday and made landfall near Port Fourchon in Louisiana. The hurricane was reportedly regarded as a powerful Category 4 storm with winds ranging up to 150 mph. Strong winds and heavy rainfall left the area completely battered.
Twitter reacts to Al Roker’s live coverage of Hurricane Ida
AI Roker is an American journalist, weather forecaster, TV personality, actor and author. He is recognized as the weather reporter for NBC’s Today. He previously served as the co-host of 3rd Hour Today.
He created the Guinness World Record for longest uninterrupted live coverage on 14 November 2014 by reporting for 34 consecutive hours. In 2018, Al Rocker was honored for spending 40 years at NBC. The Today Plaza was named “Rockerfellar Plaza” to honor the broadcaster.
The forecaster recently left his fans concerned after getting hit by waves while covering the ferocious Hurricane Ida. Critics immediately questioned the network for exposing Al Roker to the threatening weather. Netizens took to Twitter to share their reactions to the situation:
Following the coverage, Al Roker appeared on MSNBC to discuss the terrific storm. He revealed:
"The water was coming up so fast, we were going to be trapped there."
However, he also mentioned that the crew maintained proper safety and assured viewers that he was not risking his life during coverage:
"I volunteered to come out here. I've done it for 40 years. Our crews, we all make sure we are safe, and we're not going to do something to put ourselves in harm's way. As much as I love the weather and love NBC, I'm not going to risk my life for it."
The TV meteorologist also jokingly responded to comments about the risk-factor associated with his age:
"Secondly, 'Well, he's too old to be doing this'? Well, hey, screw you. OK? And try to keep up. Keep up, OK?" he joked. "These young punks. I'll come after them. I will drop them like a bag of dirt."
Hurricane Ida has left the affected areas submerged in water, with several houses severely damaged. Nearly 1,082,955 people in the states of Louisiana and Mississippi were reportedly left without power following the storm.
The National Hurricane Center dubbed the storm as “catastrophic” and “life-threatening”. US President Joe Biden has already arranged emergency resources for regions badly affected by the hurricane.
The storm is expected to weaken once it moves towards the northeast by the middle of the week.