“I am not the National Hurricane Center,” Rush Limbaugh told his millions of listeners, by way of modest disclaimer.
“I am not a climatologist, a meteorologist,” he added, now 25 seconds into Tuesday’s radio show, which had so far been accurate.
But, Limbaugh continued, he was something of a hurricane analyst, having lived and broadcast for 20 years in Palm Beach County, Fla., a perennial target of sea storms, now directly in the predicted path of Hurricane Irma.
“When it comes to a hurricane bearing down on South Florida, I’m the go-to guy,” Limbaugh said, and then spent the next 24 minutes dispensing hurricane advice that no meteorologist or federal agency would likely dare utter.
Below, we offer Limbaugh’s tips and tricks on preparing for Hurricane Irma — for stocking up on supplies without leaving your house; for predicting the storm’s path without relying on the government; and for seeing through a vast media conspiracy that exaggerates the storm’s size in a cynical ploy to sell bottled water.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s competing advice will run alongside Limbaugh’s, in flashing red letters so as to avoid any possible confusion.
It’s never too early to start preparing for a hurricane, stocking up on supplies, planning evacuation routes and keeping informed on the weather. The agency often works with local news outlets to inform residents of looming disasters and recommends checking the TV and radio often. The National Weather Service sends out an official warning before a hurricane is expected to hit.
Rush Limbaugh’s advice:
During last year’s hurricane season, Limbaugh told his listeners that the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center had both been corrupted by the Obama administration and a wider conspiracy of climate change activists.
His suspicion of the weather agency continued into the Trump administration, when he accused it of “fake” predictions in March.
Limbaugh expanded on his conspiracy theory Tuesday, adding to his cast of villains local reporters, South Florida businesses and what he called “Big Water” — all of them manipulating the public into a panic to sell emergency supplies and TV ads.
“Local media goes on the air: ‘Big hurricane coming, oh, my God! Make sure you got batteries. Make sure you got water,’” Limbaugh said, and explained the scam:
“People run to the stores, they stock up everything, and they hoard. And they end up with vacant stores, nothing there. And it’s a big success. TV stations got eyeballs, the advertising businesses have sold out of business, gotta restock, and the cycle repeats.”
In fact, Limbaugh said, the storms “are never as strong as they’re reported. And he contended that Irma wasn’t as big or deadly as it looks in satellite images on TV.
“The whole thing is not Category 5,” he said. “The whole thing is not 30 inches of rain. It’s a much more compact area of the storm.”
A hurricane watch advisory is issued 48 hours before a possible storm, according to FEMA, and an official hurricane warning can follow several hours later. Residents should review their escape plans, make sure their supply kits are in order and follow any evacuation orders issued by local authorities.
Rush Limbaugh’s advice:
From his Palm Beach studio, Limbaugh said he would prefer to stay put and ride Irma out — except that he won’t be able to broadcast without power.
“Unlike UFOs which only land in trailer parks, hurricanes are always forecast to hit major population centers,” he said. “Because, after all, major population centers is where the major damage will take place and where we can demonstrate that these things are getting bigger, and they’re getting more frequent and they’re getting worse. All because of climate change.”
But the predictions were virtually useless, he continued: “There’s just no way to predict where these storms are gonna go until probably the day before.”
And yet, he continued, there might be one way. And that way was Rush Limbaugh.
Although he is, as he said, not a meteorologist, Limbaugh claimed to have his own secret weather prediction model, which he would not divulge on air, but which had proved more accurate than the National Hurricane Center.
“I’ve been exactly right since last Friday,” Limbaugh said. That’s when, he said, “I told my buddies” exactly where the hurricane would strike the U.S. coast.
There’s a government checklist of all the things you should keep ready in your home, workplace and car: from a can opener to extra batteries. At the top of the list is water, of which you should have at least three gallons per person for three days — or twice that much in hot weather.
And you can’t just fill old milk jugs from the bathtub and forget about it. FEMA says to buy commercially bottled water if at all possible. If not, you need to use food-grade water containers, thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, and replace them every six months.
Rush Limbaugh’s advice:
“Has anybody ever heard of the tap?” Limbaugh asked his listeners. Throughout the program, he chastised his fellow Floridians, who “in panic” had bought out all the bottled water in Palm Beach.
Digressing to lambaste “Big Water” companies he claimed had duped the public into eschewing their faucets, the host suggested various options.
“Rain barrel. You get a rain barrel,” he said at one point, before acknowledging, “that’s not an immediate fix.”
This might be, though: “When you finish your low-fat skim milk, rinse it out, fill it up with water, put it in the fridge and keep it chilled until the hurricane.”