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Alabama weather service employee who sent tweet wasn't aware of Trump's Dorian post: report

The Alabama National Weather Service employee who tweeted that the state had little to worry about from Hurricane Dorian was not aware of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE's claim that the state would be hit, the person's coworkers told The New York Times on Sunday.

Trump faced widespread backlash earlier this month after stating that Alabama would likely be hit “harder than anticipated” and then refusing to back down from that claim.

At the time, the National Weather Service’s (NWS) forecast guidance showed only a very small risk to the state from tropical storm–force winds.

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The NWS’s Birmingham, Ala., division corrected the president on Sept. 1 without naming him.

According to coworkers who spoke to the Times, the employee who sent the tweet was reacting to a flurry of calls from the public and was not aware of Trump's remarks. 

That contradiction set off a weeklong clash between the president and government weather experts.

Trump reportedly pressured the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which oversees the NWS, to reverse the local forecaster's prediction.

NOAA officials released an unsigned statement affirming Trump's claims and admonishing the Birmingham division for speaking “in absolute terms.”

Meteorologists and former officials criticized the statement, which was reportedly being probed by the agency's inspector general

Employees of the NWS's Birmingham division defended the tweet in interviews with the Times.

“You try to navigate these tricky waters that science people are not used to navigating,” said Kevin Laws, the office’s science and operations officer, who added that some employees worried about how many people the controversy would sweep up. “What do you do in situations like this?”

Several forecasters said the employee who sent the tweet hadn’t even been aware of Trump's claim.

“We don’t monitor the president’s tweets,” Michael Garrison, who manages the office’s data on rainfall and temperatures, told the Times. “Up until this point, it has nothing to do with what we do.”