According to a report from the Washington Post, staffers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were warned to not issue any corrections on statements President Donald Trump made about Hurricane Dorian.
With one official now backing the president’s remarks about the possibility of Alabama being hit by the tropical hurricane — that came long after it changed course and moved up the eastern seaboard — the Post notes the NOAA wanted staffers and scientists to remain silent.
“In an agencywide directive sent Sept. 1 to National Weather Service personnel, hours after Trump asserted, with no evidence, that Alabama ‘would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated,’ staff was told to ‘only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts if questions arise from some national level social media posts which hit the news this afternoon,'” the Post reports.
According to a copy of the internal email obtained by the Post, staffers were instructed to not “provide any opinion.”
Speaking with the Post, one meteorologist who asked to not be named said the email was widely believed “internally to be referring to Trump and came after the National Weather Service office in Birmingham contradicted the president in a statement.
“This is the first time I’ve felt pressure from above to not say what truly is the forecast,” the meteorologist explained. “It’s hard for me to wrap my head around. One of the things we train on is to dispel inaccurate rumors and ultimately that is what was occurring — ultimately what the Alabama office did is provide a forecast with their tweet, that is what they get paid to do.”