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They are not out of the clear

James Joseph, senior FEMA administrator, on CNN, told people in Florida not to ignore warnings and think themselves safe from the effects of the oncoming hurricane Dorian.  It’s a congruent conflation of “out of the woods” and “in the clear”, both meaning to be free of danger.  Perhaps the speaker was thinking of a clearing in the woods.  “Out of danger”, also meaning to be free of danger, might also be in the mix.  A big thanks to “my ol’ pal”  Beatrice Zablocki for hearing this one.

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