In speech to forecasters, NOAA chief tries to tamp down Sharpie controversy

President Donald Trump has continued to insist Alabama was threatened by Hurricane Dorian.

Enlarge / President Donald
Trump has continued to insist Alabama was threatened by Hurricane
Dorian. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A soft-spoken, contrite, and at times emotional Neil Jacobs,
acting head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
addressed the annual meeting of the National Weather Association on
Tuesday morning in Huntsville, Alabama. Intertwining anecdotes on
his own career path with comments about Hurricane Dorian, Jacobs
expressed his support for the National Weather Service in the wake
of the storm. “Weather should not be a partisan issue,” Jacobs
emphasized toward the end of his speech.

The weather community has been buffeted by a storm of its own
following President Donald Trump’s insistence that his comments
about Dorian threatening Alabama were valid (although
they were not
, and in fact were a distraction to forecasters),

his doctoring
of a forecast map, the issuance of a questionable,
unsigned statement
from NOAA on Friday, and reports that
Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
threatened to fire
top employees at NOAA after the agency’s
Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s claim.

“(Friday’s) statement did not say that we understand and fully
support the good intent of the Birmingham office to calm fears and
support public safety,” Jacobs said, adding he was proud of the
work of all National Weather Service forecast offices. He also
acted to reassure Weather Service employees that their jobs, and
how they perform them, are not in jeopardy. “There is no pressure
to change the way you communicate forecast risk into the future,”
Jacobs noted.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
In speech to forecasters, NOAA chief tries to tamp down Sharpie controversy