Conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh seems to have abandoned his plans to ride out Hurricane Irma at his Palm Beach home, where he records his radio show, after originally downplaying the risk of the storm as the product of a giant conspiracy.
Irma is currently grazing by Cuba, possibly on its way to make landfall on Limbaugh’s doorstep, though forecasts still provide for a wide variety of possibilities. The National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. ET advisory Friday placed all of coastal South Florida in hurricane and storm surge warnings.
More than 100,000 Palm Beach residents were ordered to evacuate as of Friday at 10 a.m., the Miami Herald reported, including President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. The uber-wealthy area hosts a gaggle of conservative celebrities’ homes.
On Tuesday, Limbaugh said that he wasn’t a meteorologist, but rather the “go-to-guy” in his circles for hurricane advice. He painted the storm’s early forecasts as a grand conspiracy between local retailers and media, meteorologists and public officials hungry to sell the public on the reality of climate change.
“Because you have people in all of these government areas who believe man is causing climate change, and they’re hell-bent on proving it, they’re hell-bent on demonstrating it, they’re hell-bent on persuading people of it,” he said of the latter group.
He added later: “Another thing I’ve found, folks, these storms, once they actually hit, are never as strong as they’re reported.”
“My point to you is, folks, that even though we are all here, we at the EIB Network are all in the crosshairs, we have that bull’s-eye painted, we’re going to be devoted the usual 125% of this program to you,” he said near the segment’s conclusion.
Some in the community were excited at the prospect. Frank Cerabino of the Palm Beach Post optioned a “pay-per-view event”: “I’m guessing that even those Americans who can’t stomach Limbaugh’s show under normal circumstances would pay to listen to his Hurricane Irma live broadcast.”
“The Irma/Limbaugh bout could be promoted as an epic battle between two mighty winds,” he wrote.
But three days later, the shock jock changed his tune. Limbaugh announced Thursday that he would be off-air the following day. “I’m not going to get into details, because of the security nature of things, but it turns out that we will not be able to do the program here tomorrow,” he said. “We’ll be on the air next week, folks, from parts unknown.”
ThinkProgress captured the audio: