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The latest track of Hurricane Dorian is causing more disruption and dislocation as it moves up the East Coast today and tomorrow, with South and North Carolina and even Virginia in harm’s way as the storm re-strengthened to a strong Category 3, and its storm surge, torrential rains, and wind are expected to cause flooding and power outages in five states. Meanwhile, President Trump repeated in the Oval Office yesterday his reckless claim that the storm had been forecast to hit Alabama, and it appeared that the White House doctored a storm track poster in order to defend his incorrect statement about that, even when the National Weather Service in Alabama made clear that the storm was not heading their way.
Why This Matters: Hurricane Dorian may not have been a direct hit on the U.S. at its strongest as a strong Category 5 storm (like it was when it hit the Bahamas), but it is still wreaking havoc. This storm is causing billions in damages — from lost revenues for impacted businesses to flooding to lost wages for many workers. With the public’s patience being tested by a slow-moving storm with an uncertain track, it is really shameful and just plain wrong for the President to confuse things by altering the forecast to suit his whims. Previous administrations — Democratic and Republican — would never have changed the storm track forecast by the professional scientists in the National Weather Service. NEVER. By taking out a sharpie and doctoring the Weather Service storm track, the President did something even more historically bad and dangerous than this storm.
Dorian’s wind field has now grown larger — tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) now spread out more than 195 miles from the eye, while hurricane-force winds (74-plus mph) extend up to 70 miles from the eye.
According to CNN, Dorian’s storm surge in Charleston could be higher than 10 feet, which is just 2 feet shy of the record set by Hurricane Hugo thirty years ago.
Local forecasters have issued storm surge warnings because there is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline, and they have urged people located along the coast to take all necessary actions to protect themselves and their property.
President Trump’s Storm Track
Late yesterday, the President released to the press a video of a meeting in the Oval Office in which he used this map to show that the storm was originally forecast to hit and then track into the state of Florida — which is true. But then he went further and argued that it was going to go into the Gulf of Mexico. What reporters noticed, on closer inspection, is that the map had an extra line added to it — the black line that extends from the white forecast cone.
Hurricane Sally, now a category 2 storm (winds at 110 mph) has slowed and intensified in the last 24 hours, with landfall now shifting to the east (fortunately away from New Orleans), but crawling toward the Eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida Panhandle coastline with its high winds whipping the shore, the storm surge and huge rainfall amounts are expected to last for the next 36 hours.
Why This Matters: As President Trump denies the science, which he literally did today in California, the Gulf Coast gets ready for rainfall totals measured in feet not inches.
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