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NOAA Takes on NWS in Trump Storm Controversy

NOAA backs Trump; head of NWS Employees Organization calls NOAA remarks 'disgusting'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2019 6:30 AM CDT
President Trump talks with reporters after receiving a briefing on Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – We're in Day 6 of the metaphorical storm swirling around President Trump regarding a literal storm, and now the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been dragged into it. CNN reports the government agency issued a statement Friday backing the president's claim on Sunday that the state of Alabama had been likely to take a "harder than anticipated" hit from Hurricane Dorian. The National Weather Service's office in Birmingham quickly refuted Trump's claim on Sunday, but the NOAA now says the NWS erred. "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 NOAA statement reads, putting up links to hurricane advisories that it says show it was indeed possible Alabama could receive tropical-storm-force winds.

CNN notes, however, that at the time Trump spoke on Sunday, Alabama wasn't in the storm's path, and that earlier forecasts had shown just small parts of the state with a low chance of being affected. The AP adds that in 75 National Hurricane Center advisories sent out between Aug. 27 and Sept. 2, Alabama wasn't brought up. Meteorologists around the US back the NWS, saying its assertion on Sunday was the most accurate, per NPR. Dan Sobien, head of the NWS Employees Organization, is especially miffed. "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," he tweeted Friday. Meanwhile, a White House official tells the Washington Post it was Trump himself who circled Alabama on an NOAA map shown Wednesday to put it in the storm's possible path. "No one else writes like that on a map with a black Sharpie," the official said. (Read more Hurricane Dorian stories.)

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