NOAA publicly releases internal memo criticizing 'political' influence on Hurricane Dorian controversy

Commerce Chief Wilbur Ross threatened firings at NOAA after Trump’s Hurricane tweets Sources

Meteorologists found themselves at the center of a political storm this month, and some are anxious that it could have long term consequences for their field.

The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration both defended the administration on Tuesday and thanked a local weather office that contradicted President Donald Trump's claims about Hurricane Dorian threatening Alabama.

It all started with Trump's claim that Hurricane Dorian would affect Alabama.

The National Weather Service's (NWS) Alabama division corrected the president just minutes later, tweeting: "Alabama will NOT see any impacts from [Hurricane Dorian]".

The map "appeared to have been modified to suggest a forecasted impact to Alabama". "And we felt like we needed to make a statement on where this storm was going to go and to reassure our people".

Uccellini did so this week on the ongoing assembly of the Nationwide Climate Affiliation, coincidentally being held in Alabama, telling the Related Press "They did that with one thing in mind: public safety".

Elbert Friday, the former director of the National Weather Service, went even further, calling the unsigned statement "deplorable" in a public statement on Facebook: "This rewriting history to satisfy an ego diminishes NOAA".

HORSLEY: Laws and his colleagues learned only later what sparked those anxious phone calls - a tweet from President Trump mistakenly including Alabama in a list of states that could be hard-hit by the storm.

A separate Commerce Department spokesman said "Secretary Ross did not threaten to fire any NOAA staff over forecasting and public statements about Hurricane Dorian".

The acting administrator of the agency, Neil Jacobs, is set to speak Tuesday to a meeting of the National Weather Association in Huntsville, Alabama. "Gravity is gravity. Heat is heat", Alan Sealls, a meteorologist from Mobile said.

"My understanding is that this intervention to contradict the forecaster was not based on science but on external factors including reputation and appearance, or simply put, political", McLean said. The National Weather Service, an agency within NOAA, issues forecasts and warnings that are based on science and focused squarely on public safety. He also said that the Trump administration "is committed" to the important mission of weather forecasting, including how forecasts are communicated. "They are trained experts, very competent people, and people's lives can depend on the quality of the information they provide". "Any office would have jumped on that right away".

NOAA's unsigned statement, meanwhile, was a problem, he added.

"This kind of political directive puts government scientists in the impossible position of having to decide between risking their jobs and careers to do the right thing-ensuring the public, local leaders, first responders and other emergency managers are getting reliable data and information-or doing what they are told by political leadership and allowing false and potentially risky information to spread", he said.

Mr Trump tweeted over the weekend that the so-called "Sharpie-gate" scandal was "fake news" kept alive artificially by a hostile media. The original, unaltered map did not show this. In reality, neither predicts the storm barreling across Alabama - but to a layperson, that's not obvious.

DAN ALEXANDER: We estimate that he's worth about $600 million, and what's sad - somebody who has been so successful and is so wealthy - still, for him, it wasn't enough, you know?

"As everybody in this room understands, prediction models vary", he explained.



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