- Today show weather anchor Al Roker came under fire while reporting on Tropical Storm Barry last Friday.
- The longtime Today co-star "misspoke" when he labeled last October's Hurricane Michael as "a Category 3 or 4, even almost reaching a 5" while warning about Barry.
- Al responded to the backlash on Twitter with an apology.
On Saturday, Today's weather anchor Al Roker issued an apology for his coverage of Tropical Storm Barry.
The controversy began last Friday when Al began talking about Barry's estimated rainfall amounts and wind gusts across Louisiana, Mississippi, and other neighboring states.
"It's a massive storm in size, 800 miles across, almost across the entire Gulf Coast," Al said about Barry. "In comparison, Hurricane Michael was 500 miles last year ... difference was Michael was a Category 3 or 4 storm, even almost reaching a 5, and that caused all that damage."
Comparing Barry to Hurricane Michael, a storm that devastated the Florida Panhandle in October 2018, offended a lot of people, who were quick to point out that the 2018 hurricane was definitively declared a Category 5.
"Dear Al, Hurricane Michael...cat 5. Sincerely, Everyone in the FL panhandle still living with its devastation," one person commented on Facebook. "As you can see the survivors of the 3rd LARGEST storm ever are PISSED ... How dare you down play what most still can’t get over. Very disappointed in this," another wrote. Many more demanded that Al issue an apology for mischaracterizing the impact Michael had in the area.
And so, Al did just that the next day. On Twitter, the longtime Today co-anchor wrote: "Yes. Michael was Cat. 5 and I misspoke during yesterday’s broadcast during live TV. I covered it and came down to help bring aid to folks and first responders after. So I apologize for the mistake." While many people thanked Al for his apology, some still seemed upset with him about the misstep.
Yes. Michael was Cat. 5 and I misspoke during yesterday’s broadcast during live TV. I covered it and came down to help bring aid to folks and first responders after. So I apologize for the mistake— Al Roker (@alroker) July 13, 2019
As Al's followers rightfully noted, Hurricane Michael was upgraded to a Category 5 at the time at landfall on October 10, 2018 near Mexico Beach and Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. It was the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States as a Category-5 storm since 1992 when Hurricane Andrew hit.
Floridians still continue to recover from Michael's destruction to this day, while Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas are currently dealing with the aftermath of substantial rainfall from Barry, which made landfall as a hurricane this past Saturday.