- On September 1, Trump said that Hurricane Dorian was headed to Alabama.
- It wasn’t.
- A staffer at National Weather Service’s office in Birmingham set the record straight in a tweet.
- Employees told the New York Times that they still stand behind the tweet, despite the controversy surrounding Alabama (see: Sharpiegate).
- One employee, Michael Garrison, told the New York Times that the tweet wasn’t politically motivated.
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But Trump’s preoccupation was stateside.
“In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated,” he tweeted. “Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!”
The thing is, Alabama wasn’t in Dorian’s path. So the National Weather Service’s office in Birmingham – concerned about quelling public panic – set the record straight, posting on both Twitter and Facebook about the storm’s path.
— NWS Birmingham (@NWSBirmingham) September 1, 2019
In a new interview with the New York Times, employees at the office say they stand behind the tweet. Although one single person did, in fact, type out the letters that appear on the social media platforms, the group is standing together in an “I am Spartacus” display claiming that they all wrote the tweet, staffers told the Times.
Shortly after Trump’s September 1 tweet, employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received an email instructing them not to “provide any opinion” and to “only stick with the official National Hurricane Center forecasts,” according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.
After the NWS issued the tweet, Trump refused to take back his claims. Instead, he altered a map from the National Hurricane Center showing the hurricane’s outdated path headed toward Alabama. The incident has since been dubbed Sharpiegate.
Michael Garrison, who works at the office, told the New York Times the tweet wasn’t meant to be a political statement or a direct hit at Trump. Garrison said that the tweet was in response to calls from the public.
“We don’t monitor the president’s tweets,” the forecaster said. “Up until this point, it has nothing to do with what we do.”
- Read more:
- NOAA staff were reportedly warned against publicly contradicting Trump about his claim that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama
- Federal weather workers are furious at the NOAA’s ‘utterly disgusting’ statement defending Trump’s claim Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama
- Trump may have broken federal law by altering Hurricane Dorian’s path on a map to validate his false claim that it could hit Alabama
- Alabamans are relieved Trump’s Sharpie was wrong about Dorian, just like the National Weather Service said he was