NOAA now backs Trump and says Hurricane Dorian could have impacted Alabama, contradicting its own experts
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in an unsigned statement that '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'.
President Trump's claims about Hurricane Dorian impacting Alabama seemed to have received credence after the federal agency that monitors hurricanes backed his claims on Friday about the storm affecting the state.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in an unsigned statement that "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." According to the agency, these advisories were dated from Wednesday, August 28 to Monday, September 2, Fox News reports.
Trump's claims were backed by a couple of graphics issued by the National Hurricane Center depicting the percentage possibility of tropical storm-force winds in the United States. The maps clearly showed parts of Alabama covered with 5 percent to 30 percent chances of being hit by Dorian.
The controversy first made landfall on Sunday, when the president tweeted that Florida, "South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit [much] harder than anticipated" by the hurricane. But the National Weather Service's Birmingham office responded to Trump by tweeting 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," the office wrote in a follow-up tweet. However, on Friday, NOAA claimed that the NWS tweet "spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time." NOAA's statement contrasts with what the agency's spokesman Chris Vaccaro said on Sunday. "The current forecast path of Dorian does not include Alabama," he said at the time.
Dan Sobien, president of the union representing weather service employees, tweeted on Friday saying, "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."
Just as I said, Alabama was originally projected to be hit. The Fake News denies it! pic.twitter.com/elJ7ROfm2p— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2019
Sobien was not the only meteorologist raising concerns about NOAA's actions. Speaking to The Associated Press, Oklahoma University meteorology professor Jason Furtado said he was "disappointed to see this statement come out from NOAA."
"I am thankful for the folks at NWS Birmingham for their work in keeping the citizens of Alabama informed and up to date on weather hazards," he added. On Friday, September 6, Trump attacked the "fake news media" for criticizing him over the forecast. “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," he tweeted. "They went Crazy, hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn’t). Check out maps.....”
A couple of hours later, he followed it up by tweeting, "Just as I said, Alabama was originally projected to be hit. The Fake News denies it!"