Trump displays map with Dorian’s original path extended toward Alabama

President Trump on Wednesday displayed a map that he said reflected Hurricane Dorian’s original path, but the image appeared to be manually altered with a marker to show the storm’s trajectory continuing toward Alabama.

Trump later told reporters that he did not know anything about the changed map, but was adamant that original forecasts called for Alabama to be impacted by the hurricane.{mosads}

The president referenced the map during an Oval Office briefing on the government’s efforts to monitor and respond to Dorian as it made its way up the East Coast. The White House later released a video of some of his remarks that featured the chart.

“We got lucky in Florida. Very, very lucky indeed,” Trump told reporters. “We had actually, our original chart was that it was going to be hitting Florida directly.”

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan then pulled up the chart and displayed it on the Resolute Desk. The map featured what appeared to be a marker-drawn addition to the end of the Dorian’s previously expected path, extending it toward the Gulf of Mexico and the southern edge of Alabama.

“And that would have affected a lot of other states,” Trump said, reviewing the image. “But that was the original chart. It was going to hit not only Florida, but Georgia. It could have — it was going toward the Gulf. That was what was originally projected, and it took a right turn, and ultimately, hopefully we’re going to be lucky.”

Reporters and observers on social media quickly noted the alteration to the map, and observed that the National Hurricane Center’s own projections did not feature a similar shift in the storm’s path.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declined to comment on the record about the map. The White House did not respond to a request for comment about the alteration.

Dennis Mersereau, a Forbes contributor who writes about the weather, tweeted that it’s illegal to falsify a forecast. 

As coverage of the altered map made the rounds online and on cable news Wednesday evening, Trump tweeted an image from a week ago of forecast models from the early stages of the hurricane overlaid onto a map. The president claimed “almost all models” predicted Dorian would hit Georgia and Alabama, when in fact it was only some outliers that showed Alabama in the path of the storm.

“I accept the Fake News apologies!” Trump said.

The president had shared his own forecasts of the storm in recent days as it made its way up the Atlantic and toward the mainland U.S. He has continued to defend his claims about Alabama’s risk of being hit by the storm even after it shifted paths and began impacting other states.

Trump tweeted Sunday that Alabama could be among the states affected by Dorian. But the National Weather Service in Birmingham tweeted a short time later that was not the case, and that the hurricane system would remain too far east.

The president later lashed out at ABC News for including his inaccurate reference to Alabama in its reporting on Dorian and insisted the state could have been affected “under certain original scenarios.”

Updated at 6:34 p.m.

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