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After President Donald Trump insisted on Sept. 1 that, contrary to National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts, Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama “harder than expected,” the agency’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) leadership publicly defended him and instructed forecasters in internal memos not to contradict his claims, according to The Washington Post. Several staffers have since pushed back, and NOAA’s chief scientist on Sept. 9 vowed to investigate whether the move constitutes a violation of the agency’s principles.
The episode is the latest example of how NOAA, and the NWS within it, is reportedly facing unprecedented political pressures under the current administration that could threaten public forecasting operations.