Weather Community In Uproar Over Trump’s Dorian-Alabama Claim

President Donald Trump holds a chart as he talks with reporters after receiving a briefing on Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP/Evan Vucci

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service are at odds over President Trump’s inaccurate assertion that Hurricane Dorian was on course to hit Alabama.

In a statement posted on its website Friday, the NOAA insisted Trump had not pulled the prediction out of thin air, and had in fact been given information that Dorian “could impact Alabama.”

“From Wednesday, August 28, through Monday, September 2, the information provided by NOAA and the National Hurricane Center to President Trump and the wider public demonstrated that tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama,” read the statement, which included a link to back up its claim.

The NOAA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, then criticized the Birmingham office of the NWS for providing forecasts in “absolute terms.”

“The Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time,” the statement continued.

That didn’t sit well with Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, who called the NOAA “utterly disgusting.”

“Let me assure you the hard working employees of the NWS had nothing to do with the utterly disgusting and disingenuous tweet sent out by NOAA management tonight,” Sobien tweeted Friday evening.

Sobien wasn’t alone. Elbert Friday, former director of the NWS, also criticized the NOAA.

“We don’t want to get to the point where science is determined by politics rather than science and facts. And I’m afraid this is an example where this is beginning to occur,” he told The Associated Press today.

The back-and-forth was sparked by a tweet last weekend from Trump, saying Alabama was among the states that “will most likely be hit” by Dorian.

After being called into question, Trump presented a weather map that appeared to have been altered by a black sharpie.

[See the photo above]

Dorian was expected to make landfall in Canada this evening. The storm has left more than 40 people dead in the Bahamas.

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