During an Oval Office briefing on Hurricane Dorian, President Trump displayed what appeared to be an official National Weather Service map from last Thursday, August 29th, in which the storm’s projected path was extended to Alabama by someone using a black marker.
“We got lucky in Florida — very, very lucky indeed. We had actually, our original chart was that it was going to be hitting Florida directly,” Trump said.
Trump then asked for, and was handed, a large forecast map.
“That was the original chart, you see it was going to hit not only Florida but Georgia … and was going toward the Gulf, that’s what was originally projected. And it took a right turn. And ultimately, hopefully, we’re going to be lucky.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 4, 2019
“It’s heading up the coast, and Florida was grazed,” he said.
Meterologists and others zoomed in on the apparent Sharpie mark, and reaction to the alteration, as well as Trump’s use of an old map, was swift:
The black extension past Florida did not exist; that’s not how forecast cones are drawn. pic.twitter.com/GqHikOBYU6
— Ryan Breton (@RyanBretonWX) September 4, 2019
This is the original National Hurricane Center’s map from August 29th which the president referred to as we posted it on that day.
At a subsequent event, Trump was asked about the apparent addition to the map. “I don’t know,” he answered.
“I know that Alabama was in the original forecast they thought it would get it as a piece of it,” he said. He again insisted there were forecasts in which Alabama was considered in the storm’s path.
Some on Twitter also noted that, under law, knowingly issuing a false weather report is a violation of the law subject to imprisonment and or fine.
While Alabama remains out of Dorian’s path, coastal areas of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are under hurricane warnings as the storm is now projected to move up the Southeastern coast.
Over the weekend, President Trump also insisted that Dorian’s projected path included Alabama.
“Alabama could even be in for at least some very strong winds and something more than that, it could be,” he said Sunday. “This just came up, unfortunately. It’s the size of — the storm that we’re talking about. So, for Alabama, just please be careful also.”
At the end of last week, the National Hurricane Center did include Alabama in its prediction for tropical-force winds:
Tropical-storm-force winds from #Dorian could begin in parts of Florida *as early as* Sunday morning. Now is the time to think about what kinds of preparations you might need to make and listen to advice from your local emergency officials https://t.co/yChCF6oWL9 pic.twitter.com/KAFnJSd0Gy
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 30, 2019
But by Sunday, the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala., clarified that the state would not feel any affects of Dorian:
— NWS Birmingham (@NWSBirmingham) September 1, 2019
Trump is known to use Sharpies to sign bills and to mark up newspaper and magazine articles. But the White House has so far not commented on who altered the weather map, or if indeed a Sharpie was used.
Trump Displays Altered Map of Dorian’s Path to Include Alabama