Oct 10, 2018

Weather Channel crew tries to flee as Hurricane Michael nears

Hurricane Michael nears the Florida Panhandle, where the Weather Channel's Mike Bettes was reporting from. Image: CIRA/RAMMB

The Weather Channel's Mike Bettes tried to evacuate his crew from near the landfall location of an intensifying Hurricane Michael, but the meteorologist — who was injured in 2013 while chasing tornadoes for the network — was forced to turn back.

Why it matters: TV networks may have placed reporters in harms' way, near the water and where the core of the storm's strongest winds could cause "catastrophic" damage. The Weather Channel has some of the most experienced weather experts in the business, so for them to try to evacuate as the storm approached is a sign of the storm's fury.

The big picture: Hurricane Michael is the most intense such storm to strike the Florida Peninsula since reliable hurricane records began in the mid-19th century. The National Weather Service is warning of "widespread deep inundation, with storm surge flooding greatly accentuated by powerful battering waves," at the coast, and winds strong enough to cause structural damage to buildings.

"My crew here in Apalachicola has decided to leave," Bettes tweeted on Wednesday morning. "We feel confident in the building we're staying in is strong but not confident that US 98 will be intact and an escape route for us after the hurricane. Better safe than sorry."

An hour later, Bettes tweeted again, saying: "So, change of plans. Wx is too bad to drive now. Our crew will be staying put in Apalachicola. We have sturdy shelter, are a good distance from the water, and have a lot of supplies. Landfall just hours from now."

Go deeper: "Unprecedented event”: Hurricane Michael nears Florida Panhandle

Go deeper

The mystery of coronavirus superspreaders

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A small percentage of people — called superspreaders — may be responsible for a large number of COVID-19 infections, research is starting to indicate.

Why it matters: While there's no method to detect who these people are before they infect others, there are ways to control behaviors that cause superspreading events — a key issue as states start to reopen and debate what types of events are OK.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 5,931,112 — Total deaths: 357,929 — Total recoveries — 2,388,172Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,711,313 — Total deaths: 101,129 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  4. Public health: Louisiana Sen. Cassidy wants more frequent testing of nursing home workers.
  5. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."

Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.