He laid out a terrifying scenario to urge people living on or near Florida’s eastern coast to evacuate before the storm made landfall on Friday.
“This moves 20 miles to the west, and you and everyone you know are dead — all of you — because you can’t survive it,” he said. ”It’s not possible unless you’re very, very lucky. And your kids die, too.”
When Palm Beach Gardens resident Dolores Berhalter ― who also happens to be Smith’s longtime friend ― called in to the show to say she was not leaving her home because she didn’t think the hurricane would be that bad, Smith reiterated the seriousness of the situation.
”I’m hoping it’s not going to be as serious as they’re saying,” Berhalter told Smith.
“They were hopeful in South Miami-Dade and Kendall and Homestead back when Andrew,” he replied. “They were very, very hopeful ― until they were dead.”
“Hope is not a strategy, Dolores!” Smith admonished his friend. “Why didn’t you come up and visit us for the weekend?”
While many on social media have praised Smith’s forthright approach to the seriousness of the storm, others have accused him of fear-mongering.
Hurricane Matthew killed at least 339 people in Haiti this week before heading north. The U.S. National Weather Service says it is “unlike any hurricane in the modern era” and could be the most powerful to strike northeast Florida in 118 years.