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Thu Oct 10, 2019, 03:45 PM

Top Commerce Department aides orchestrated NOAA's Hurricane Dorian statement [View all]


By Jason Samenow and Andrew Freedman
October 10 at 4:13 PM

A letter sent Thursday from the chair of the House Science Committee to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reveals that it was the Commerce Department, not the leadership of its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that drafted a controversial NOAA statement on Sept. 6 that backed President Trump’s false statement about the path of Hurricane Dorian. That statement contradicted NOAA’s own meteorologists at a weather forecast office in Birmingham, Ala.

The unsigned statement has generated at least three investigations, including one by the Science Committee, another by NOAA’s chief scientist, as well as the Commerce Department’s inspector general. The new letter, from Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.), contains previously unknown information about how that statement — which may have violated NOAA’s scientific integrity policy — was written.

The background
Trump wrongly tweeted that Alabama would “most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated" on Sept. 1 even when the state was not within the National Hurricane Center’s “cone of uncertainty” — the zone most likely to be affected. The National Weather Service forecast office in Birmingham, responding to an influx of calls from worried residents in the wake of the president’s tweet, issued a tweet of its own saying Dorian would not affect Alabama.

At the time, the NWS’s forecast guidance showed only a very small risk (about 5 percent) of tropical-storm-force winds for a small portion of Alabama.

Trump’s tweet that Alabama would be affected by the storm gained national attention when, during an Oval Office press availability, he presented the version of the forecast cone from Aug. 29, extended into Alabama — modified using a Sharpie. The crudely altered map appeared to represent an effort to retroactively justify the original Alabama tweet.


File this under: "Reporting about things that seemingly happened a lifetime ago"

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Reply Top Commerce Department aides orchestrated NOAA's Hurricane Dorian statement [View all]
Dennis Donovan Oct 2019 OP
malaise Oct 2019 #1
Thomas Hurt Oct 2019 #2