US caught in storm conspiracy

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Hurricane Matthew plows into the southern United States after wrecking havoc and destruction across the Caribbean.

Does this look real to you? A popular news site has suggested it could be a conspiracy. Picture: AFP.

HURRICANE Matthew has caused a storm of controversy in the US after the founder of a popular website suggested it could be a big conspiracy in support of climate change.

Matt Drudge, the founder of news aggregator Drudge Report, tweeted that the “deplorables” were beginning to wonder if the “exaggerated” government response was to make a point on climate change. It’s in reference to the derogatory way Hillary Clinton described Trump supporters recently as a “basket of deplorables”.

He followed it up with a note that the Hurricane Centre had a “monopoly on data” and that claims of windgusts were unverified in tweets that have gone viral.

They were met with a swift reaction by Twitter users and other media outlets with Vox saying “Matt Drudge’s latest conspiracy theory is not just stupid — it’s dangerous.”

“Drudge’s conspiracy-mongering is a dangerous game. More than 1.5 million people live in the evacuation zone for Matthew. It’s already difficult to get people to take evacuation warnings seriously — so difficult that emergency managers have a slew of haunting tricks to drive home the danger of hurricanes, including asking people to write their Social Security numbers on their arms if they’re staying behind so that their bodies can be identified,” Libby Nelson wrote on the site.

Marshall Simmonds wrote “ask Haiti” while Alex Gervasi said “that’s why almost 400 people in Haiti are dead.”

The storm has already killed more than 330 people in Haiti and 300,000 are without power in Florida with more than two million urged to evacuate amid fears it could lead to another Hurricane Katrina style disaster.

President Obama has declared a state of emergency for Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, freeing up federal money and personnel to protect lives and property.

Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott has urged residents to leave, saying “this storm will kill you” and it was likely to produce “devastating impacts.”

Hurricane Matthew has been downgraded to a category three but is expected to lash Florida, South Carolina and Georgia this weekend before doubling back down towards the Bahamas.