Trouble is raining down on US President Donald Trump, who appears to have given Americans incorrect information on hHurricane Dorian’s trajectory.
During an Oval Office press conference Wednesday, Trump displayed a map from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) showing the devastating storm’s initial predicted path.
As he held up the poster board to give the journalists present a better view, it became clear the map had been edited: Dorian’s cone had been extended with what appeared to be a black marker to include the state of Alabama.
It is against the law to falsify a National Weather Service forecast and pass it off as official, according to the non-profit Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School. It was unclear who altered the chart.
When asked a few hours later about the surprising addition, Trump responded, “I don’t know. I don’t know,” while continuing to maintain that the initial storm predictions included the possibility that Dorian would make landfall in the southern state.
Trump had incorrectly tweeted Sunday that Alabama was among the states – as well as Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas – that could be affected by the hurricane.
Not long after, the National Weather Service’s (NWS) office in Birmingham, Alabama appeared to respond to the contrary, though it did not explicitly mention Trump’s tweet.
“Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian,” it tweeted.
“We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east.”
After White House ABC correspondent Jonathon Karl fact-checked Trump, the president lashed out, tweeting “Such a phony hurricane report by lightweight reporter”, before doubling-down on his original claim that Alabama could have been impacted by Dorian.
He tweeted: “Under certain original scenarios, it was in fact correct that Alabama could have received some ‘hurt’.”
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has regular bulletins on the storm’s progress, but has not issued any Alabama warnings.
And on Wednesday night, the president tweeted a map from August 28 and wrote: “As you can see, almost all models predicted it to go through Florida also hitting Georgia and Alabama. I accept the Fake News apologies!”
This was the originally projected path of the Hurricane in its early stages. As you can see, almost all models predicted it to go through Florida also hitting Georgia and Alabama. I accept the Fake News apologies! pic.twitter.com/0uCT0Qvyo6
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2019
The map was issued by the South Florida Water Management District and, as many online users pointed out, contains this caveat: “If anything on this graphic causes confusion, ignore the entire product.”