Fox News covered the pending landfall of Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida on Wednesday much in the same way several networks did, with a reporter and camera on the ground in the brunt of the storm, showing first-hand how powerful the surge and winds had become.
But Fox News reporter Robert Ray took a unique tact in Fort Myers, where the storm later made landfall, using the water plumes of an open fire hydrant to punctuate its early impact.
A Fox News anchor set up his dispatch with a brief lead-in.
“Words like ‘catastrophic’ and ‘historic events’ — experts are describing the potential damage and destruction that Hurricane Ian could bring,” the anchor said. “Conditions are intensifying in Fort Myers, Florida. Robert Ray is with us now for more.”
Ray then takes it away.
“Yeah guys, this is the worst we’ve seen it right now — hurricane-force winds,” said Ray, bracing and bending over in a deep puddle, away from sheets of what viewers could presume to be rain until discovering it was simply water spouting from a fire hydrant and whipping toward Ray from the powerful winds, which seemed to be authentic, with no warehouse fans in sight.
“In Fort Myers, downtown at a harbor. That is a fire extinguisher that has come out of the ground,” Ray finally revealed, motioning up and down and off camera before the shot panned right to find the source of the water — an open marina-side fire hydrant with a plume of water shooting into the air and around the area, including into the lens, which the camera operator then wiped off to good effect.
“It is whipping,” Ray said of the open hydrant. “We have trees down. There are boats with the tarps unraveling. There are trees just getting knocked around. Our camera, our equipment — we are going to try to find some sort of shelter as this just came in, in the past moments here,” Ray said.
Ray then dramatically shielded himself from the plume of water — that the hydrant dumped as the winds shifted — as the segment continued.
“It’s gonna make its way to the north, but we’re gonna get smashed here,” Ray said, continuing to brace as the plume of water lashed him and continued to for the rest of the two-minute segment as he delivered the nuggets of information that become staples of newscasts across the board Wednesday. “There are downed trees literally all over this area. And we thought it was bad this morning seeing the surge come in at Fort Myers Beach and now here, this afternoon.”
Watch the full Fox News video below.