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Weather Channel Defends Reporter Accused of Exaggerating Hurricane Winds

Viral clip shows reporter struggling to stand during Hurricane Florence while two others casually walk in background

The Weather Channel released a statement in defense of a reporter who was accused of faking the strength of Hurricane Florence’s winds in a clip that went viral Friday.

The clip took place on Friday afternoon, as Hurricane Florence swept over the Carolinas with sustained wind speeds of 75 miles per hour. Weather Channel reporter Mike Seidel could be seen with his knees bent and spread apart, looking like he was struggling to remain standing against the wind.

But as the camera zoomed out, it inadvertently caught two other people walking casually in the background, able to stay upright without much effort. The clip quickly became a joke on Twitter, with tweets accusing Seidel of exaggerating for dramatic effect.

In a statement sent to The Washington Post, The Weather Channel said there were other factors that explained why Seidel was struggling to stay up.

“It’s important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete, and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1:00 a.m. ET this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted,” the statement read.

Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a tropical storm late Friday night, though it is still battering the Carolinas with storm surge and rainfall in some areas of up to 30 inches. Seven people have been killed during the storm, with over 1 million residents losing power.