From an accidental hurricane forecast, followed by a bizarre weather map, could develop a political issue, maybe even a tangible scandal. State of the art of this bizarre and now unclearly farce: US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, in his capacity also head of the “National Ocean and Atmosphere Authority” (NOAA), the country's most important weather institute, should have threatened scientists with dismissal, if they do not hers Opposition against a semi-true storm warning of the US president should withdraw. That's what the New York Times writes.
If the report is confirmed, it would be an outrageous process. To understand the full extent, the story from the front:
In late August, the US Hurricane Warning Center (NHC) warned of hurricane “Dorian”, which was heading for the southeastern US coast at the time. The exact direction was still unclear, but Florida would be on the way, as Donald Trump announced. “It looks like he's going to move to South Carolina and North Carolina, and Georgia and Alabama will also be affected,” he wrote on Twitter.
This started the whole thing, because the vulnerable areas began to declare a state of emergency. Except Alabama.
Hurricane experts vs. Donald Trump
For less than an hour after Trump's tweet, the NHC corrected him: Alabama would not be affected, no need to worry. Later it became known that the state could feel harmless foothills of “Dorian”. Maybe, the chance was five percent. Despite this, the US president insisted that the hurricane could hit Alabama and tweeted that the residents should take care of themselves.
As is so often the case with this kind of Trump's dogmatism, media and social media users began to taunt the president – but instead of abandoning the cause of oblivion, the scold lingered.
On Twitter and before journalists, he described the reports about his alleged false statement as artificially excited and untrue. At a hurricane briefing in his White House office, he presented an official map of the hurricane's progress Wednesday – someone had apparently used a black marker to increase the area of potential storm propagation so that even Alabama would be touched.
Because then after rumors made the round, Trump had repaired the card itself, reporters asked again how it came to the changed card. “I do not know, I do not know, I do not know,” the president said, sticking to his statement: An early hurricane forecast would have shown 95 percent probability that Alabama would be affected as well. But that was not the case, Trump admitted. “Alabama should have been hit hard,” he claimed.
– NWS Birmingham (@NWSBirmingham) September 1, 2019
As if this spectacle had not been dignified enough, it took even more twists after that: To prove that he was right, Trump invited a reporter from his well-disposed TV channel “Fox News”. He had then written to his editor in an e-mail that the president had just acknowledged “that he was not wrong when he said that Alabama had been threatened at some point – even as the situation unfolded he had published the tweet, had changed “. In addition, the head of state is said to have complained to the journalist about the critical Alabama forecast reporting in “Fox News”.
Did the NOAA give their people a muzzle?
But that's not all. A few days later, the Washington Post reported that NOAA, the top weather agency, was circulating a directive on September 1 that would, in simple terms, have suggested that employees publicly disagree with the president. An anonymous scientist told the paper, “It's the first time I've felt pressure from above to keep silent about real predictions.”
How it came to this alleged announcement, now wants to investigate the acting chief researcher of the NOAA. In an e-mail he defended the original prediction (which did not see Alabama in danger) and denounced the “incorrect contradiction” as a “political” reaction. “In my understanding, this is an interference that is not based on science, but on external factors, including reputation and appearance, put simply: that are political.
And so now the report on alleged dismissal threats by Wilbury Ross, the de facto head of the weather authority. Specifically: According to the New York Times, Ross had on Monday summoned NOAA boss Neil Jacobs to “take care” of the contradiction in the weather service, but he refused. As a result, Ross allegedly threatened to knock out key personnel, including employees of the National Weather Service Sub-Department in Birmingham, who had made the prediction and ultimately denied Donald Trump. A spokesman for Ross's Department of Commerce dismissed the New York Times.
Whether the matter is really done with it?
Sources: “New York Times”, “Vanity Fair”, CNN, DPA, AFP, “Washington Post”, Donald Trump on Twitter