Today the news keeps mentioning how Hurricane Ike is bearing down on the Texas coast. Their repeated quote is that
The National Weather Service warned residents of smaller structures on Galveston they could "face certain death" if they ignored an order to evacuate.
Why is everyone saying "could face certain death"? Shouldn't it be "will face certain death"? If you could face it (but maybe not), then it's not really certain, is it. And if they really do think it's certain death, they should probably be using more unambiguous language.