WASHINGTON — A flurry of newly released emails from scientists and top officials at the federal agency responsible for weather forecasting clearly illustrates the consternation and outright alarm caused by President Donald Trump's false claim that Hurricane Dorian could hit Alabama.
What the scientists and officials found even more troubling was a statement later issued by an unnamed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokesman that supported Trump's claim and repudiated the agency's own forecasters. The emails were released late Friday in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. They give an inside picture of the scramble to respond to the president and the turmoil it caused inside the federal agency.
Craig McLean, NOAA’s acting chief scientist sent an email in which he wrote, “What’s next? Climate science is a hoax?” The weather scientist went on to write, “Flabbergasted to leave our forecasters hanging in the political wind.”
In a separate letter McLean wrote that the White House "is eroding the public trust in NOAA for an apparent political recovery from an ill timed and imprecise comment from the President.”
Reports at the time stated that NOAA sent an unsigned statement saying that Trump has received some data indicating that Alabama could be hit by the hurricane. The Birmingham office was apparently scolded. The incident was known as Sharpie-gate after Trump showed an NOAA map to reporters in the White House which had been altered using a black marker to extend Dorian's projected path.