Finally, Mike Morgan breaks his silence on Friday’s storm coverage…
10:51 AM EDT on June 6, 2013
As you probably know, it has not been the best week ever for KFOR Meteorologist Mike Morgan. After we published a round up of tweets that were highly critical of the sparkly bedazzled tie wearer's Friday night storm coverage, The Oklahoman, Gazette and even Reuters piled on with their own write-ups of Get-out-of-the-way-gate.
To make matters worse, Mike has been noticeably absent from KFOR's recent news broadcasts. His disappearance from television has led to a lot of speculation in the Ogle Mole Network. Theories and rumors have ranged from the simple (suspended by KFOR) to the elaborate (kidnapped by KOKH's Jeff George) to the sickening (eloped with one of Dr. Reed Timmer the Scientist's Dominators).
Fortunately, it was none of those things. It looks like Magic Mike is (or was) simply on vacation. We know this because he responded to a question about his whereabouts that a viewer left on KFOR's Facebook Page. If you're looking for Mike to admit that he made or mistake or give an apology, you're going to be disappointed. Check it out:
Hi Linda, and everyone else showing concern for my well being. I am here....all is well. I am taking a couple of days off, which was already planned before the terrible day on Friday. Folks in the weather office all have time off coming (summertime!) so I had to take the time while it was available. I took my kids to the movies today!! I do want to say a couple of things to you all....The tornado fatalities from last Friday were ALL out near El Reno. I was REPEATADLY telling folks to AVOID I-40 completely....do not travel westbound out of OKC into Canadian County! Also, I want to say, full well knowing that tornado was a very large violent monster, and Reed Timmer in full agreement, and moving directly towards OKC, I was, for lack of a better word, desparate to help you in any way I could. With I -40 already shut down on the west side of town, plus visions of Moore tragically burned into everyone's mind from May 20th, the advice of "if you do not feel safe where you are, then get out of its way" blew up into a conjested nightmare of folks trying to get safe. I have cried over this more than once since Friday. Your safety is my/our number 1 priority, and that will NEVER change....ask Reed, ask Emily, ask Jon Welsh. I cherish our relationship....lord knows Oklahoma weather has put us all thru too much lately, but we will never stop giving you the information you deserve before and during severe weather. See you soon , Mike Morgan
Yeah, don't worry Oklahoma. Mike's just on vacation. And that whole "get out of the way" thing? It was nothing but a big misunderstanding. How was he supposed to know that people would actually take his advice? He was just desperate to help, and wants to continue to help. Please feel sorry for him. That's all.
Actually, I think Mike is giving himself too much credit. His advice to flee south sure didn't help things, but the highways would have been a clusterf*ck regardless of what he did or didn't say. I was out and about at 4:00pm and the streets were already crazy. You would have thought the aliens from Independence Day were hovered over Devon Tower. People were floating stop signs, swerving in and out of traffic, cutting each other off, hopping curbs (not really), etc. Mike Morgan could have told everyone to stay at home and eat roast beef and the highways still would have been at a standstill. Also, were the people fleeing the storms really that surprised by the congestion? Have none of them ever driven in Oklahoma City during the rain? All it takes is one little sprinkle to fall from the sky and traffic slows to a standstill.
That being said, perception is reality and the reality is the Mike Morgan screwed up. And he did. He advised that Oklahoma City residents disregard standard tornado safety procedures and put some of them in harms way by doing so. Instead of trying to defend his actions or make us feel sorry for him, he should swallow some pride and just apologize. He'll win back a lot more trust by doing that than by coming up with excuses and / or putting on a sparkly tie pretending the whole thing didn't happen.
Anyway, some of other random thoughts and observations:
1. Remember when the Oklahoman asked each local weatherman about their approach to tornado coverage? In case you forget, this was Mike's response:
“I’m a basket case and I’m a basket case for days ahead of time. I don’t think I’m ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). I would argue I’m definitely post-traumatic stress. I try to really regulate where I am these days at the age of 49. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I have been a basket case many, many times in this state because I see these things coming. I can see the future, I can.
And we're surprised by all of this?
2. I can't believe Mike didn't refer to Reed Timmer as a scientist or doctor.
3. Emily Sutton's on vacation, too. Please respect our privacy during this time.
4. This probably deserves its own post, but check out how Mike Morgan, then with Channel 5, covered a tornado that was heading down a similar path on May 15th, 1990. For better or for worse, there is no hype, no panic and no bionic stormchaser running around the thing in a Dominator. It's your "Moment of Zen."