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Sat Sep 7, 2019, 08:19 PM

Former NOAA Leadership Weighs In On The Agency's Rebuke Of A National Weather Service Office

Sep 7, 2019, 10:46am

Marshall Shepherd
Marshall Shepherd Senior Contributor
Science

We witnessed a human tragedy this past week as Hurricane Dorian devastated parts of the Bahamas and caused damage to the coastal Carolinas. The well-being of human beings and their recovery should be the dominant headline, but it is actually a press release issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang headline read, “NOAA backs Trump on Alabama hurricane forecast, rebukes Weather Service for accurately contradicting him.” This stems from the flap over whether Hurricane Dorian was going to threaten Alabama and “Sharpie-gate.” Weather experts who consumed the probability maps correctly and understand how to interpret spaghetti plots knew that wasn’t going to happen (more on that later) as the week progressed. Models clearly latched on to a recurvature scenario up the coastline, and the National Hurricane Center forecasts reflected this fact as seen in the graphic below. Though claims about Alabama being impacted were propagating around social media and in Washington, the National Weather Service Birmingham office and prominent Alabama TV meteorologists like James Spann quickly refuted them. Amazingly, the drama dragged on for days and culminated Friday with NOAA issuing a statement that stunned many people, including former NOAA leadership.



Fvery forecast cone ever drawn by the National Hurricane Center for Hurricane Dorian through Friday. SAM LILLO VIA TWITTER

Before I dive into the madness, let’s take a look at the facts. Meteorologist and University of Oklahoma doctoral candidate Sam Lillo tweeted the graphic above with the statement,

Because the gaslighting is getting real strong now, and it's all too easy to start questioning reality, here is every forecast cone ever drawn by the NHC for #Hurricane #Dorian. Plus an arbitrarily-chosen state labeled

Sam Lillo, Doctoral candidate in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma


More:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallshepherd/2019/09/07/former-noaa-leadership-weighs-in-on-the-agencys-rebuke-of-a-national-weather-service-office/#14dff4d51eff

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