The Weather Channel is defending its coverage of Hurricane Florence after a widely criticized video went viral showing a reporter who appears to be struggling to stay upright in high winds while two people are seen casually walking in the background.
As Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Friday, veteran meteorologist with the Weather Channel, Mike Seidel, was among the dozens of broadcast journalists who put themselves in the direct path of the deadly storm.
However, a short clip of one of Seidel’s live hits went viral over the weekend, showing the reporter exaggerating the intensity of the storm.
WATCH: Online video coverage of Hurricane Florence.
The video features Seidel appearing to struggle to stay upright as he’s pummelled by strong winds and rain.
“This is about as nasty as it’s been,” reported Seidel.
Meanwhile, as the camera pans away from the reporter, two people slowly, calmly walk in the background, seemingly having little issue braving the wind. Twitter user @gourdnibler shared the video of Seidel, which has since been viewed 27.6 million times.
“So dramatic! Dude from the weather channel bracing for his life, as 2 dudes just stroll past,” he tweeted.
Needless to say, the internet had a field day with Seidel’s coverage.
Some social media users decided to recreate the “dramatic” coverage.
The Weather Channel issued a statement Saturday, defending Seidel’s coverage.
“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 news network said.
Officials said Monday that Hurricane Florence had claimed at least 17 lives since the storm roared ashore Friday, leaving widespread flooding and knocking out power to some 500,000 homes and businesses.