Published: Thu, September 05, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump accused of using Sharpie-doctored Dorian Alabama map

Trump accused of using Sharpie-doctored Dorian Alabama map

Seemingly loathe to admit his erroneous claim that the state of Alabama would face a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian-the powerful storm that devastated the Bahamas in recent days and is now threatening the coasts of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas-President Donald Trump was again the subject of widespread online ridicule on Wednesday after he presented a government-generated map with Alabama additionally circled with a Sharpie pen. The map he displayed included what appeared to be a hand-drawn half-circle that extended the cone of uncertainty over a swath of Alabama.

Asked Sunday if Trump had been briefed about potential impact to Alabama, Christopher Vaccaro, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wrote in an email, "The current forecast path of Dorian does not include Alabama".

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

As weather analyst Dennis Mersereau noted on Twitter Wednesday, it is a federal crime to knowingly issue a "counterfeit weather forecast" or other weather-related warning that "falsely" implies the forecast is a publication of the USA government.

Asked about the discrepancies between the original map and the one that had been crudely edited and shown to the public today, Trump said, "I don't know".

As the storm was approaching the US on Sunday, Trump said at a briefing that it could threaten much of the southeast including Alabama - despite official projections that didn't show the hurricane approaching the Gulf Coast state.

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According to the National Weather Service, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and some of southeastern Virginia will bear the brunt of Hurricane Dorian.

Not long after, the National Weather Service's (NWS) office in Birmingham, Alabama appeared to respond to the contrary, though it did not explicitly mention Trump's tweet. But a similar image released by the White House last week did not include any impact on Alabama in its forecast. The far western extent of the cone was located more than 240km east of the Alabama border.

Mr Trump said he did not know how the discrepancy appeared on the chart.

On Monday, media organisations said Mr Trump was incorrect about Alabama.

Alabama is going to get a piece of it, it looks like. They actually have that a 95% chance probability. I think that's probably three, four days old.

CBS News has requested a comment from the White House and from NOAA.

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