1. Hurricane

Scammer for fraudulent Hurricane Dorian relief fund poses as Denis Phillips, meteorologist says

The ABC Action News chief meteorologist, known for his hurricane rules, warned followers about the scam in a Facebook post.
Someone posing as forecaster Denis Phillips is asking people for money for a fraudulent hurricane relief fund. [Facebook]
Published Sep. 3
Updated Sep. 3

Click here to read this story in Spanish.

Hurricanes can bring out the best in people: welcoming evacuees into their homes, helping neighbors clean up or rebuild, volunteering to assist with relief efforts.

They also can bring out the worst: fights over water or gasoline, looting, price-gouging.

At the nexus of the two are scammers preying on people’s generosity for their own personal gain.

RELATED: High pressure: TV meteorologists try to predict an unpredictable Dorian

A particularly devious example surfaced Monday.

ABC Action News chief meteorologist Denis Phillips, whose frequent posts are a source of comfort for many during hurricane season, posted on Facebook that someone posing as him had asked people for money to fund a fraudulent Bahamas hurricane relief site.

I can't believe I have to write this, it's so disheartening. Someone has created fake posts, looking like me, and is...

Posted by Denis Phillips on Monday, September 2, 2019

In a post published around 10 p.m. Monday, Phillips warned his Facebook followers about the scam, cautioning, “DO NOT SEND THEM ANY MONEY.” He shared a link to a story about trusted sites and organizations where people can donate to help hurricane victims.

“I can’t believe I have to write this,” Phillips began. “This is so disheartening.”

Phillips is known for his hurricane rules, intended to lessen hype about approaching storms and “ease a few folks minds," he writes on his Facebook page. He is best known for his rule No. 7: “Stop freaking out ... until I tell you to. We’re fine.”

RELATED: Dorian got you thirsty for Crooked Thumb’s Denis Phillips beer? Good luck finding a can

2019 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at

PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm

BUILD YOUR KIT: The stuff you’ll need to stay safe — and comfortable — for the storm

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter

What Michael taught the Panhandle and Tampa Bay

What the Panhandle’s top emergency officials learned from Michael

‘We’re not going to give up.’ What a school superintendent learned from Michael

What Tampa Bay school leaders fear most from a storm

Tampa Bay’s top cops fear for those who stay behind


  1. The projected path of Tropical Storm Olga National Hurricane Center
    The storm is expected to merge with a cold front and become post-tropical before impacting Louisiana late tonight.
  2. The low-pressure system in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico has a 60-percent chance of development over the next two to five days. National Hurricane Center
    Most models don’t project the system to become anything stronger than a tropical depression. And a short-lived one, at that.
  3. The projected path of Nestor National Hurricane Center
    Nestor is expected to dump two to four inches of rain in Tampa Bay, along with the threat of tornadoes.
  4. The projected path for Tropical Storm Nestor, according to the National Hurricane Center. National Hurricane Center
    Tampa Bay should expect wind and rain tonight into Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service
  5. The sun sets over a slab which once served as a foundation for a home on Mexico Beach in May. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Area leaders fear lower population numbers will lead to reduced federal funding and political representation.
  6. The projected path for Potential Tropical Cyclone 16, according to the National Hurricane Center. National Hurricane Center
    Thunderstorms have been spotted off the west coast of Florida as Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 moves over the central Gulf of Mexico.
  7. The tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico that’s projected to strengthen as it approaches Florida could put a crimp ― or much worse ― in Tampa Bay’s weekend plans. National Hurricane Center
    The National Weather Service warns that the Gulf of Mexico disturbance could strengthen and bring wind, rain and possibly tornadoes to the bay area.
  8. A broad area of low pressure headed toward the Gulf of Mexico will bring wind, rain and possibly tornadoes to the Tampa Bay area this weekend. National Hurricane Center
    The National Hurricane Center has issued a storm surge watch for Florida’s Gulf Coast from Indian Pass to Clearwater.
  9. This satellite image shows Hurricane Michael on Oct. 9, 2018, as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. It made landfall near Mexico Beach in the Panhandle as a Category 5 storm. Florida State University professor Wenyuan Fan said the storm probably created "stormquakes" offshore in the gulf, too. [Photo courtesy of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration]] NOAA
    Analysis of a decade of records shows hurricanes causing seismic activity on continental shelf
  10. Tropical depression 15 has formed in the eastern Atlantic. National Weather Service
    The newly formed system joins a tropical wave off the coast of South America.