- Federal weather workers have reacted furiously to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) defence of US President Donald Trump’s repeated assertions that Hurricane Dorian was set to hit Alabama.
- “Never ever before has their management thrown them under the bus like this,” Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization said in reaction to the NOAA’s Friday statement.
- The NOAA on Friday disavowed a tweet sent by the Alabama outpost of the National Weather Service Sunday, which refuted Trump’s claim that the state was in the path of Hurricane Dorian.
- David Titley, the former chief operating officer of the NOAA said Friday was the “darkest day ever” for the leadership of the agency, and accused them of “moral cowardice.”
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Federal weather workers have reacted furiously to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) defence of US President Donald Trump’s repeated assertions that Hurricane Dorian was set to hit Alabama, saying they have been “thrown under the bus” by the agency.
The NOAA on Friday said that its information about how Alabama could be impacted by Hurricane Dorian and Trump’s subsequent claims about it were an accurate reflection of their analysis.
Trump had first claimed last Sunday that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian, an assertion that was almost immediately rebuked by the National Weather Service’s Alabama outpost, which tweeted that the state would “NOT see any impacts.”
The NOAA disavowed itself from that tweet, saying that the Birmingham National Weather Service “spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”
Those statements from the NOAA Friday have sparked outrage among many federal workers in the weather and climate science sectors, with the president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO) accusing the agency of undermining the work of its staff.
“Never ever before has their management thrown them under the bus like this,” Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization told the Daily Beast.
“These are the people risking their lives flying into hurricanes and putting out forecasts that save lives. Never before has their management undercut their scientifically sound reasoning and forecasts.”
He added that weather workers are “shocked, stunned and irate” at the statement.
As well as comments made to the Daily Beast, Sobien sent a series of tweets Friday criticizing the NOAA’s statement, calling it “utterly disgusting and disingenuous.”
Let me assure you the hard working employees of the NWS had nothing to do with the utterly disgusting and disingenuous tweet sent out by NOAA management tonight #NOAA
— Dan Sobien (@pres_nwseo) September 6, 2019
In another tweet, Sobien said he was “embarrassed” by the NOAA.
I have never been so embarrassed by NOAA. What they did is just disgusting.
— Dan Sobien (@pres_nwseo) September 6, 2019
Sobien’s view was backed up by other senior figures in the meteorology and climate profession, with David Titley, a former chief operating officer of the NOAA and ex-chief oceanographer for the US Navy saying that the statement sent Friday represented the “darkest day ever” for the leadership of the agency.
He went on to accuse the NOAA’s leaders of “moral cowardice.”
Perhaps the darkest day ever for @noaa leadership. Don’t know how they will ever look their workforce in the eye again. Moral cowardice.
— David Titley (@dwtitley) September 6, 2019
“Frankly the lack of support for the truth & the #NWS workforce makes me sick,” Titley said in another tweet.
Trump spent the week defending his assertion that Alabama was initially in the path of Hurricane Dorian
The NOAA’s statement came after a week in which Trump consistently defended his claim that Alabama was initially in the path of Hurricane Dorian.
His doubling-down reached a peak on Wednesday when he produced a National Hurricane Center map that was altered – apparently with a black Sharpie – to extend its predicted track to Alabama.
The president also used Twitter to defend his claims and demanded “apologies” from news reporters, who he alleged were misconstruing his statements.
In the tweet, Trump submitted an indeterminate “spaghetti plot” map as evidence that Alabama was, at one point, susceptible to the path of the hurricane.