Hurricane Dorian has provided one of the stupidest events I believe I’ve ever witnessed. Not only did we get a chance to see the “climate isn’t weather” goons in full bloom after a forecast that Florida was going to be hit within 24 hours turned out to be spectacularly wrong, we got a chance to see our national media at war with President Trump over him merely reiterating a forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
On September 1, President Trump mentioned that Alabama might possibly be hit heavier by Hurricane Dorian than expected.
In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2019
While the public NOAA forecasts until August 31 showed Alabama in the danger zone of the projected track, by September 1 the projected track had hung a sharp right turn and was paralleling the Eastern Seaboard.
Just as I said, Alabama was originally projected to be hit. The Fake News denies it! pic.twitter.com/elJ7ROfm2p
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2019
Later that day, the forces of the #Resistance sprang into action
— NWS Birmingham (@NWSBirmingham) September 1, 2019
They claim they were being inundated by calls but that doesn’t pass the smell test. There is exactly one reason that a regional NOAA office would interject itself into a presidential conversation, some little Resistance toad taking the opportunity to try to make the President look bad for political reasons. Questions could have been answered by simply repeating the current forecast, if we believe enough people actually knew there is a National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Alabama, to actually make a difference in call volume. Later that day, NOAA headquarters issued a directive that they were not to offer opinions but were to stick with official NOAA forecasts…which, if they’d done that there would have been no controversy.
Instead of this being the nothingburger that it was, there was a perfect marriage of the climate change dunces who are still all gritty-panties over Trump calling bullsh** on their gravy train and their media enablers. The Alabama tweet became an exhibit in their Trump-is-stupid campaign. Trump dug in and I think on September 4 executed a trolling maneuver that went wrong. My assessment is that Trump and his advisers misread just how freakin stupid and vicious there opposition was and there was this incident:
The black outlined area on this very outdated @NHC_Atlantic #Dorian graphic that Trump just used in his update was added and not a part of the official forecast. @WhiteHouse pic.twitter.com/XMQmepPyj6
— Kait Parker (@WeatherKait) September 4, 2019
To me, this is a pretty obvious poke at the controversy. With the White House graphics department available, it would have been child’s play to extend the line of hurricane effects had they intended for anyone to take it seriously. But they hadn’t counted on the sheer nitwittery of the people who hate Trump. By now, there was a range of morons claiming that Trump had broken federal law by issuing a fake weather forecast. In this case, issuing meant that it had never been issued and forecast meant that it was a single map with a Sharpie markings that was four days old.
It's a federal crime to knowingly issue a "counterfeit weather forecast or warning" falsely claiming it was issued by the Weather Bureau." 18 USC 2074. Is Trump claiming his statement including Alabama in the path of Dorian was based on an official govt weather map or forecast? https://t.co/FX3QSBlb65 pic.twitter.com/eC7bxPpTn1
— Larry Noble (@LarryNoble_DC) September 4, 2019
"Altering official government weather forecasts isn’t just a cause for concern — it’s illegal. Per 18 U.S. Code 2074, which addresses false weather reports…"https://t.co/nL6vYg2IRp
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) September 5, 2019
President Trump showed a doctored hurricane chart.
It's actually illegal to distribute false U.S. gov't weather reports.
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) September 5, 2019
By Friday, the White House was taking the damage seriously. A national security council staffer, Rear Admiral Peter Brown, issued a statement
The White House circulated a statement on official letterhead from Rear Adm. Peter Brown, a Homeland Security and counterterrorism adviser, who said he briefed Trump multiple times about Dorian as well as models that showed the potential path of the eye of the storm.
“These products showed possible storm impacts well outside the official forecast cone,” Brown said.
“While speaking to the press on Sunday, Sept. 1, the President addressed Hurricane Dorian and its potential impact on multiple states, including Alabama,” he continued. “The president’s comments were based on that morning’s Hurricane Dorian briefing, which included the possibility of tropical storm force winds in southeastern Alabama.”
The statement marked an escalation of the White House’s efforts to defend Trump’s assertion that Alabama would be hit by the storm, despite a National Weather Service tweet stating otherwise. It came days after Trump originally made the claim and as the storm lashed the Carolinas on Thursday with heavy rain, intense wind and tornadoes.
Brown noted that Florida, Puerto Rico and other areas were originally predicted to fall in Dorian’s path, but that the storm shifted track.
He also referenced forecasts from the National Hurricane Center from Aug. 27 through Sept. 2, noting they did show a chance of tropical storm force winds hitting parts of Alabama.
And NOAA issued this statement:
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.
Now the story breaks that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross intervened, personally, to un-screw this mess.
The Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at the federal scientific agency responsible for weather forecasts last Friday after the agency’s Birmingham officecontradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, according to three people familiar with the discussion.
You would have thought the world had ended:
The report by @peterbakernyt at the NY Times that Wilbur Ross threatened to fire NOAA's top appointees should send chills down your spine. Waiting in the wings is Barry Myers—whose nomination to lead NOAA has stalled for good reason, @hiltzikm reminds us. https://t.co/pjXALecrcH
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) September 9, 2019
Rep. Don Beyer, a member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology: "Wilbur Ross must resign. His direct attacks on the scientists and federal employees, whom he threatened to fire for doing their jobs by accurately reporting the weather, are an embarrassing new low."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 9, 2019
Wilbur Ross should be fired and a criminal investigation commenced immediately.
NYT: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire top NOAA employees – CNNPolitics https://t.co/J89cull4ax
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) September 9, 2019
Ross’s spokesman denies the story and the Commerce IG is investigating (this is literally a nothingburger beyond throwing a bone to the Resistance), but even if it is true, so f***ing what?
Political appointees are totally at-will employees and can be fired because you don’t like the color of lipstick or the style of shoes. If they don’t want to do what they’ve been told to do, they can quit in protest. Ross was well within his rights to bring the hammer down on a weak and gutless leadership team that not only allowed a field office to actively try to make President Trump look bad but stood by, while in possession of evidence that proved the silliness of the whole matter, and let it dominate a news cycle for a week. The real scandal is that these people are still employed and that the Birmingham NWS office hasn’t felt any negative repercussions for this douchebaggery. The reaction Ross drew is a function of him upping the ante for rogue federal emp
I must admit, I’ve had my doubts about how strong a secretary Ross actually is, but this shows that no matter how slow moving he appears, he can be motivated to crack the whip.