NOAA issues statement supporting Trump's claim Hurricane Dorian threatened Alabama

The agency issued its comment five days after the president's tweet.

September 6, 2019, 8:00 PM

Five days after Donald Trump said Hurricane Dorian threatened Alabama, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association issued a statement late Friday supporting the president's claim and chastising a local branch of the National Weather Service.

NOAA said the NWS Birmingham office was wrong to speak "in absolute terms" on Sunday when it tweeted: "Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian."

That tweet, at 11:11 a.m. EDT, followed 20 minutes after Trump's.

A NOAA spokesperson said: "From Wednesday, August 28, through Monday, September 2, the 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. This is clearly demonstrated in Hurricane Advisories #15 through #41, which can be viewed at the following link. 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."

That statement is technically correct. According to the map to which NOAA links, there was a 5% to 10% probability that a tiny part of southeastern Alabama would experience winds of at least 39 mph. That also was true for the entire eastern seaboard.

Trump tweeted on Thursday, referring to various weather forecasts, that "certain models strongly suggested that Alabama & Georgia would be hit" after on Sunday he'd written a tweet including that "Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated."

Trump on Wednesday was photographed holding a National Hurricane Center map that included a drawn-on semicircle extending the hurricane's "cone of uncertainty" well into Alabama.

President Donald Trump talks with reporters after receiving a briefing on Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office of the White House, Sept. 4, 2019, in Washington.
Evan Vucci/AP

A White House deputy spokesman later wrote on Twitter that it was "a black sharpie mark."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News following NOAA's statement on Friday.

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