6/17/2013

Is an Oklahoma Meteorologist going to be Sued for telling people to Take Cover during the Tornado?

Posted by Brian

Meteorologist Mike Morgan is being blamed for the deaths of five people, including four children, in Yukon, Oklahoma in last months tornado.

The tornado measured an F5 on the Fujita scale, the most devastating and powerful rating given.
Morgan, who has received eleven Emmy's for his meteorology reporting, told viewers as the tornado was bearing down on them:

“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.”

Virginia Shrum said that she and her family were watching the report while deciding what course of action to take.  Upon seeing Morgan's announcement to get below ground, she and her family headed behind their apartment to take cover in a drainage tunnel.  Though the twister missed them, heavy rains caused flash flooding which swept all eleven people taking refuge there, sweeping them into the Oklahoma River where the five died.

On Fox News, Megyn Kelly discussed the tragedy with Fox Legal Analyst Lis Wiehl and defense attorney Mike Eiglarsh.

Wiehl opined that obviously Mike Morgan does not have blood on his hands, and that telling people to take cover below ground, or to get out of the path of the tornado if you have time, is standard advice for surviving a tornado, asking “Could he have foreseen, in the legal sense, the flash flooding? […] No, so there’s not civil liability.”

Eiglarsh saw it differently, saying that what Morgan told viewers was "completely irresponsible", referring to Morgan's advice to go South.

There is no doubt that this is a horrific tragedy, and every parent's worst nightmare. I won't even attempt to say I know how this family feels.  I don't, and I hope I never have to go thrugh what this family is suffering.  However, my question is this: Are we seriously at the point where weathermen or meteorologists are held responsible for advice given during natural weather events?

Eiglarsh certainly thinks so.  Like other slip-and-fall lawyers with no case, he uses legal sleight of hand to paint a false picture, focusing not on Morgan's advice that people get underground, which the Shrum family did and which is standard safety advice fr a powerful twister like this one, but instead diverting the focus to Morgan's advice to "head South", out of the path of the tornado.

Eiglarsh also says that Morgan's culpability is that he veered from reporting on the tornado to issuing advice. Lis Wiehl  interjected that other stations were also doing the same thing, to which Eiglarsh retorted "Everybody else was speeding! Oh Please."

So according to Mike Eiglarsh, tell people there are tornados which are headed your way, but as for what you should do, your on your own!
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

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