Al Roker shames Limbaugh for dismissal of Hurricane Irma 'panic'

NBC meteorologist Al Roker clashed with Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday after the conservative radio host suggested warnings about Hurricane Irma were driven by political agendas around climate change.

The longtime "Today" personality took to Twitter to slam Limbaugh in two tweets while using a #ShameOnRush hashtag in a message to his 1.7 million followers.

"Do not listen to @rushlimbaugh when he says #Irma is not a dangerous #storm and is hype. He is putting people's lives at risk," wrote the 63-year-old Roker.

"To have @rushlimbaugh suggest the warnings about #Irma are #fake or about profit and to ignore them borders on criminal. #ShameOnRush," he wrote in subsequent tweet.

 

Limbaugh fired back at Roker on his radio show Wednesday, insisting he never called Hurricane Irma, currently a Category 5 storm, "fake."

"I don't think any of these people actually listen. They probably got an out-of-context, erroneous report of things I didn't say yesterday and tweeted that I'm a hurricane denier," said Limbaugh. "Which, by the way, does that prove that these people are using the storm to advance the climate change agenda?"

Roker's criticism appeared to be in response to Limbaugh's Tuesday commentary on the storm, during which he suggested the warnings serve to advance climate change agendas and local businesses that profit off of customers stocking up on supplies.

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The 66-year-old Palm Beach, Fla., resident said while he's "not a meteorologist," and nothing he says "should be considered to be a forecast or a prediction," creating panic around hurricanes helps advance an agenda around climate change.

"There is a desire to advance this climate change agenda, and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it. You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic," Limbaugh said Tuesday. "You don’t need a hurricane to hit anywhere. All you need is to create the fear and panic accompanied by talk that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more frequent and bigger and more dangerous, and you create the panic, and it’s mission accomplished, agenda advanced."

"Now, how do you do this? Well, any number of ways," he continued. "Let’s take south Florida television, for example. There is a symbiotic relationship between retailers and local media, and it’s related to money. It revolves around money. You have major, major industries and businesses which prosper during times of crisis and panic, such as a hurricane, which could destroy or greatly damage people’s homes, and it could interrupt the flow of water and electricity. So what happens?"

"Well, the TV stations begin reporting this and the panic begins to increase," he added. "And then people end up going to various stores to stock up on water and whatever they might need for home repairs and batteries and all this that they’re advised to get, and a vicious circle is created. You have these various retail outlets who spend a lot of advertising dollars with the local media." 

Limbaugh and Roker have butt heads before. In 2014 after Limbaugh said that meteorologists pointing to a polar vortex as a driver behind record-low temperatures recorded at the time were part of a "liberal media conspiracy" to keep climate change agendas alive. 

"We are having a record-breaking cold snap in many parts of the country," Limbaugh said on Jan. 8, 2014. 

"And right on schedule, the media have to come up with a way to make it sound like it's completely unprecedented. Because they've got to find a way to attach this to the global warming agenda, and they have. It's called the 'polar vortex.' The dreaded polar vortex."

"The hoax continues," he added.
 
Roker responded on Twitter with a photo from the American Meteorological Society showing the definition of a polar vortex.