NOAA backs up Trump’s claim that Alabama could be affected by hurricane

Author: CBS NEWS Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
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)
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)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration backed up President Trump’s ongoing assertions that Alabama appeared initially to be in the path of Hurricane Dorian. His claims have attracted more attention since he appeared earlier this week holding an outdated map of the hurricane’s path that was apparently edited with a black pen to expand the reach of the hurricane to include Alabama.

But on Friday, the scientific agency in the Commerce Department that focuses on atmospheric conditions, explicitly supported Mr. Trump. A NOAA spokesman said in a statement, “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. This is clearly demonstrated in Hurricane Advisories #15 through #41, which can be viewed at the following link.”

NOAA also directly refuted a Birmingham National Weather Service tweet from late Sunday morning, at 11:11 a.m. that read, “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east.” NOAA contends that the tweet sent by Birmingham NWS was sent within the timeframe that it appeared as if Alabama would be impacted by the storm.

The Birmingham tweet came 20 minutes after President Trump’s 10:51 a.m. tweet putting Alabama in the likely path of the hurricane. “In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated,” he wrote.

The NOAA statement said, “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 National Weather Service Employees Organization pushed back against NOAA’s refutation, with the organization’s president calling the NOAA tweet “utterly disgusting and disingenuous.”

The hurricane advisories in the NOAA link show that at 8 a.m. Sunday — a couple of hours before Mr. Trump’s tweet suggesting Alabama was among the states “likely” in Dorian’s path — there was a 5% to 10% chance that tropical-storm-force winds of more than or equal to 39 miles per hour could affect the Southeast corner of Alabama. The map showed that coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas had a higher likelihood of sustaining tropical storm-force winds, closer to 50% to 70%.


The president has been railing against the media for its coverage questioning the veracity of his claim about the danger Alabama faced from Dorian.

On Thursday, the Trump campaign decided to make light of the situation, with Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeting that Trump marker “has the special ability to drive CNN and the rest of the fake news crazy!”

The black markers, hundreds of sets of which sold shortly after he announced them, come in sets of five for $15.

On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Mr. Trump himself had taken a pen to the map.

The president has continued to insist that Alabama was in grave danger in NOAA’s earlier models.

“The Fake News Media was fixated on the fact that I properly said, at the beginnings of Hurricane Dorian, that in addition to Florida & other states, Alabama may also be grazed or hit. They went Crazy, hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn’t). Check out maps…” the president tweeted Friday morning.

“Four days of corrupt reporting, still without an apology,” Mr. Trump complained in another tweet, claiming that “This nonsense has never happened to another President.”

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