Al Roker has a fierce response for critics saying he should not be out covering Hurricane Ida in the storm itself. Roker stood right out in the wind and rain this weekend to show viewers just how intense the conditions were, and many people expressed concern for him on social media. Roker bluntly challenged them to "try to keep up" during an interview on The Sunday Show on MSNBC.
Roker assured viewers that he had "volunteered" to cover Hurricane Ida, and was not pressured to do so by any of his employers. "This is what I do, I've done this for 40 years. Our crews all make sure we're safe, we're not going to do something that puts ourselves in harm's way. As much as I love the weather and I love NBC, I'm not going to risk my life for it!" he said. Roker then got on to the part of the criticism that really bothered him, saying he had seen people commenting things like, "he's too old, he shouldn't be doing this!"
"Well, hey, guess what? Screw you!" Roker said in answer to those comments. For those wondering, Roker is 67 years old. He continued: "Try to keep up. Keep up, okay! These young punks, I will come after them! I will drop them like a bag of dirt!"
Roker shared a similar sentiment on his own Twitter account, where he posted a video of himself taking off a rubber boot and dumping a substantial amount of water out of it into his hotel bathtub. He got many encouraging comments from viewers who said that they appreciated his attitude and enjoyed his coverage.
Others thought that Roker was missing the point of their criticism. Some argued that no one should be out there in the storm itself, regardless of their age of preparation. They thought that it was a way to sensationalize coverage without adding any real value beyond entertainment, and it might lead impressionable viewers to try to go out there themselves.
"I will never understand the need for television journalists to stand outside in bad weather just to prove there is bad weather. Stop putting these people [in] danger, regardless of their age," one person tweeted. Another added: "It's not the age, it's the irresponsibility of telling people they needed to evacuate and then going out and standing in an oncoming storm. It's stupid and unnecessary no matter how old he is."
Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast on Sunday, causing extreme flooding and wind damage in the New Orleans, Louisiana area. The remnants of the storm continue to push inland and are expected to cut across the southeast diagonally up towards the mid-Atlantic states throughout the week. For the latest information on the storm, visit the National Weather Service's website.