An irate man confronted NBC News’ Shaquille Brewster on live television Monday as the correspondent was reporting on Tropical Storm Ida in coastal Mississippi.
Brewster was doing a live MSNBC shot from Gulfport when a white pickup truck could be seen pulling up behind him as a man jumped out and sprinted toward the reporter.
Moments later, the man got in Brewster’s face before the correspondent calmly ended the report. The man could be heard shouting at Brewster to “report accurately.”
“Hey, hey, hey,” concerned anchor Craig Melvin said. “We’re going to check in with Shaq Brewster just to make sure all is well. There’s a lot of crazy out there, a lot of crazy.”
Moments later, Brewster tweeted that he was OK and Melvin also told viewers the correspondent wasn’t hurt.
“You probably saw or heard a few moments ago, one of our correspondents was disrupted by some wacky guy during his live shot there in Mississippi,” Melvin said. “Pleased to report that Shaquille Brewster is doing just fine. Shaq is OK.”
Graphic: The Atlantic is seeing more major hurricanes
There have been more major hurricanes in the Atlantic in recent years, but whether this is part of what experts say is a global trend toward stronger storms is difficult to say.
“[Major hurricanes in the Atlantic are] such a rare event that the statistics are limited,” said Michael Bell, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
There have been an average of four major Atlantic hurricanes per season from 2016 to 2020, up from an average of two per season from 2011 to 2015. Looking at hurricanes since 2010 the average sits at about three major storms per year.
A major hurricane is one with sustained wind speeds of 111 mph and stronger.
Ida is the second major hurricane of the season so far, with the season normally picking up in intensity in late August, Bell said.
“We’re really getting going right now.”
More than 5,000 National Guard members sent to Louisiana and Mississippi in wake of Hurricane Ida
More than 5,000 National Guard members from four states have been sent to assist in New Orleans and Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Ida’s destructive path, federal officials said.
The bulk of the Guard members, about 5,000, were from the Louisiana National Guard, according to a statement from the Army National Guard.
Guard members will help ensure continuity of government rescue and relief operations, officials said. About 300 additional Guard members are from Mississippi, Alabama and Texas, authorities said.
In addition to Guard members, 195 high-water vehicles and 73 rescue boats were staged across southern Louisiana, the National Guard said. Thirty-four helicopters were available for rescue, evacuation and reconnaissance purposes, according to the Guard.
Hurricane Ida made landfall Sunday in Louisiana, dumping rain and causing flooding throughout the region. In total, more than 1 million homes and business lost power. Another 100,000 lost power in Mississippi.
Ida weakened to a tropical storm Monday and was moving through Mississippi knocking down trees and power lines.
Photos show flooding and destruction from Hurricane Ida
Al Roker says ‘screw you’ to those claiming he’s too old to report in storm
Al Roker says he’s not too old to cover severe weather.
The 67-year-old was trending on Twitter on Sunday as many asked why he was out in the middle of the Category 4 Hurricane Ida as it battered Louisiana.
“Get 67-year-old Al Roker out of the hurricane,” wrote one person after viewing the TV hit in which Roker stayed standing in heavy winds and a barrage of water that soaked his entire body.
But Roker said later on MSNBC that he volunteered to cover the storm from New Orleans. “This is what I do,” said the meteorologist. “I’ve done this for 40 years.”
“We all make sure we’re safe — we’re not going to do something that’s going to put ourselves in harm’s way,” Roker said. “As much as I love the weather and I love NBC, not going to risk my life for it.”
To those saying, “Well, he’s too old to be doing this,” Roker said, “Well guess what, screw you and try to keep up, keep up OK?”
“These young punks, I will go after them, I will drop them like a bag of dirt,” he joked.
Tropical Storm Ida turns toward western and central Mississippi
Tropical Storm Ida finally departed southeast Louisiana on Monday and began making its way through neighboring Mississippi, forecasters said.
The storm’s center was about 40 miles southwest of Jackson, Mississippi, at 10 a.m. CDT, as it moves “inland over western and central Mississippi this afternoon,” according to the National Hurricane Center.
Ida is a on northeast path, headed toward the middle Tennessee and Ohio valleys, dropping heavy rain and potential flash floods in its wake.
Ida is another blow to Louisiana hospitals already strained by Covid
In the years since Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana has taken steps to shore up its defenses against natural disasters. But many hospitals and medical centers probably did not anticipate they would need to deal with a severe storm on top of a devastating pandemic.
Louisiana hospitals that are already packed with Covid-19 patients were preparing Monday for a wave of hurricane victims, straining resources and putting new burdens on healthcare providers who have been pushed to the limit by the coronavirus crisis.
In an interview Monday with MSNBC, Dr. Kavita Patel — a primary care physician in Washington and a scholar at the Brookings Institution — said Louisiana hospital staffers will be forced to care for patients amid extraordinary difficulties.
“You’re doing this through an active tropical storm where you have power out for millions … so this is going to be a challenge in the coming weeks” said Patel, an MSNBC contributor.
In normal times, New Orleans hospitals would evacuate critical patients to facilities in other states, such as Texas. But in the era of Covid-19, most hospitals in the region are nearly at full capacity. Louisiana has seen more than 679,000 confirmed cases and more than 12,000 Covid-related deaths as of this week.
Patel said that the number of Covid infections in Louisiana could rise in the coming days as people shelter in close quarters inside amphitheaters and other large indoor spaces, raising the risk of a “superspreader” event.
However, Patel added, “we know so much more about how to contain this” virus than we did in the early days of the pandemic. It will be incumbent on locals to wear masks, get tested and make sure symptomatic people are isolated, she said.
Mayor of second-largest Mississippi city says area is in ‘really good shape’
The mayor of the second-largest city in Mississippi said Monday morning that his area is in “really good shape” compared to the hard-hit New Orleans, adding that local officials have not seen “any emergency situations that we are exceedingly concerned about” in hospitals and shelters.
“We were fortunate in the fact that the storm surge, while it came in, it did not manifest to the degree we feared it might, and that is probably going to be the difference in a huge way,” said Billy Hewes, the mayor of Gulfport, Mississippi, in an interview with MSNBC.
“We are looking at making sure things are in good shape here, telling folks to stay out of low-lying areas still, wait for the all-clear signal, and then try to figure out what we can do to pay it forward and help the folks in Louisiana,” Hewes added.
Hewes said his “most severe concern” was the risk of flash flooding in Gulfport, which has a total population of nearly 70,000 people.
Re-entry efforts into Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, delayed for at least a week
Re-entry efforts into Lafourche Parish could be delayed for at least a week as crews and first responders assess the damage caused by Hurricane Ida, the parish said in an announcement.
“Lafourche Parish roads are currently unpassable and will be for some time,” officials said. “First responders will be working around the clock to clear the road for residents to return. … Local officials are asking all residents to wait for the all-clear before returning.”
Parish president Archie Chaisson said in a news conference Sunday night officials are working to clear the roads to deal with downed power lines.
“It’s going to take us a while to pick up the pieces. I’m committed to fixing it. I’m committed to building Lafourche better,” he said. “God has always taken care of us and God will continue to take care of us.”
The parish, which has a population of nearly 98,000, is under a boil water advisory with most residents south of Raceland being without water due to a mainline break.
Some good news: A levee that officials thought had failed now appears to be intact
A levee in Alliance, Louisiana, that officials had said had failed early Monday morning now appears to be intact.
In a Facebook post overnight, the Plaquemines Parish government had urged residents to “evacuate the area immediately” due to a failure near Highway 23 in Alliance, which is about 20 miles away from New Orleans. Residents were told to go to a local auditorium if they were in need of shelter.
Later Monday morning, Lt. Chaun Domingue, the public information officer with the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office, clarified to NBC News that it had been determined that there had been no failure to the levee. Instead, a temporary levee built by a local refinery had been breached.
Officials had gone door-to-door to urge residents to evacuate as a precaution nonetheless, Domingue said.
“We are currently assessing the situation to assure there wasn’t any breach to the permanent levee system,” he added. “At this point, residences affected by this storm surge is minimal, but we are still monitoring the situation as winds from Hurricane Ida are still pushing water into the Myrtle Grove area.”