When the National Weather Service’s office in Birmingham tweeted on September 1 that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian,” it was correct. Alabama did not see any impacts from Hurricane Dorian.
Yet that accurate weather forecast has sent an ever-growing part of the federal government into convulsions. On Friday, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross threatened to fire senior officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration if that (correct) forecast was not adjusted to match President Donald Trump’s claim that Dorian was on track to hit Alabama, according to The New York Times.
Neil Jacobs, who directs NOAA, initially resisted Ross’s demand, according to the Times. But then he gave in. Late on Friday, NOAA published an unprecedented, unsigned statement that took Trump’s side and chided the Birmingham office for speaking “in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.” The statement did not bear Jacobs’s name.
In other words, NOAA’s leadership—under threat from a Cabinet official—discredited its professional employees for correctly forecasting that Hurricane Dorian would not hit Alabama.
Robinson Meyer, A Fight for the Soul of NOAA
I don’t believe I’ve had a single occasion, since January 20, 2017, to use the category “Zombie Reaganism” for one of my blogs. I never thought I’d miss it.
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