While many people across the United States are bracing for the onslaught of Hurricane Florence, the internet is both amused and horrified by how quickly things turned according to a recent broadcast by The Weather Channel.
Anyone who has ever watched the evening news knows that meteorologists typically deliver the weather by standing in front of a green screen, but no one was quite prepared for Erika Navarro’s coverage of the hurricane that’s barrelling towards the coast.
In a clip that has since gone viral on social media, the report starts off like most do. Navarro can be heard calmly explaining the seriousness of the hurricane, which is posing major threat to North Carolina’s southern coast. She details the areas of the state most at risk of the storm surge, which is predicted to reach above 2.7 metres along coastal areas and inland riverside areas.
And, while many people are told to remain calm in natural disasters, Navarro takes her coverage up a notch by detailing what could happen in a worst-case scenario with a frightening simulation.
“But this is just what it looks like on the map,” she explains. “We can show you what this could look like if you were to find yourself in this scenario.”
Out of nowhere, it appears that the storm surge has ravaged the studio Navarro is reporting from and with the help of the green screen and technology, it looks like she’s in the middle of a storm.
“Once that water comes up to three feet, you can see it would be coming up my shins, up towards my waist,” she says. Images of flooding water can be seen surrounding the host as she continues her report.
“This could be enough to knock you off your feet,” she warns. “It could even float some cars. That could be cars on the side of the road way.”
While those images are bad enough, she warns that it could get worse as the hurricane rages on.
“Once we get up into that six-foot range, look at how high this water goes,” she continues. “Winds pick everything up, cars will be floating at this point, this water’s over my head. I wouldn’t be able to stand here, even withstand the force of the water coming in.”
Navarro adds that chemicals and exposed power lines could be lurking in the water, while water reaching nine feet would reach the second floor of a home and threaten life.
“If you find yourself here, please get out,” she warns. “If you’re told to go, you need to go.”
People have flooded Twitter with their opinion on the broadcast, unable to agree whether the coverage was appropriate or if it went to far.
One person wrote: “Nobody does news like the US. They scaremonger their audience perfectly to continue tuning in to learn more about the horrors that face them, sponsored by Bud Light.”
Another comment wrote: “It’s not scaremongering when it’s true and real. #TruthIsTruth Also in times of natural disasters, it’s better to be conservative and assume the worst scenarios then hedge that things get better.”
A third added: “Amazing and terrifying simulation….”
Others have turned Navarro’s coverage into memes.
More than a million people have been forced to evacuate the coasts of North and South Carolina and Virginia. Thousands of homes have already lost power.