6 September 2019

NOAA Issues False Statement About Alabama Hurricane Impacts

Posted by Dan Satterfield

On Sunday the NWS in Birmingham put this tweet out:

It was correct based on the guidance and on the public forecasts issued by the National Hurricane Center. Their forecast was actually nearly spot-on as well. 

Tonight an unnamed person at NOAA issued this statement (below) Friday evening.

This statement is false. The tweet from the NWS in Birmingham was correct.

This is a dark day for NOAA. I have asked NOAA who the author of the statement was and will add to this post if I can find out.

Below is the NHC track from the day before at 2 PM (Sat. 31 August at 2 PM EDT). It was very clear even by then that Dorian would curve up the East Coast.

Update 9 PM Friday 6 Sept.

There has been strong blowback from the head of the NWS Employees Union:

…and from my friend James Spann at the ABC TV Affiliate in Birmingham, AL.

From Dr. Marshall Shepherd, past President of the AMS:

From another fellow broadcast meteorologist:

Jason Samenow, Matthew Cappucci and Andrew Freedman at the WAPO Capital Weather Gang have a late story on this as well.

Update: AP Science writer Seth Borenstein has the story up on the wire now.

I must say, I have never seen anything like this in my 40 years as a meteorologist. I know the Birmingham NWS Meteorologist who posted that tweet Sunday. He/She is a superb atmospheric scientist who did the right thing, and what NOAA did tonight is appalling and astounding. I expect a statement from the AMS on this as well soon.

If you work for the NWS/NOAA and wish to contact me with background information about this, I will keep your name confidential if you wish.