Both “sharpie” and “sharpiegate” are trending on Twitter right now. If you’re wondering why, it’s because of a recent video that President Donald Trump released, which appears to show an old NOAA forecast for Hurricane Dorian doctored to extend the cone over part of Alabama. It’s unclear who made the change or why, but it’s sparked a trend on Twitter that’s quickly gaining momentum.
An Old NOAA Forecast Was Changed to Extend Dorian’s Cone to Cover Alabama
A lot of people on Twiter caught the “subtle” change made to the map during an update on Hurricane Dorian that The White House shared on its official Twitter account earlier today. You can watch the video below.
Trump shares an update on Hurricane Dorian and how lucky they got that the storm didn’t hit Florida directly. Then he shows the storm’s original projection, which he says showed it heading to Florida, Georgia, and going into the Gulf. “That was what was originally projected.”
However, the map has a strange change to it. The cone used by NOAA has a black circle extending it to cover part of Alabama.
This is not how NOAA maps typically look. Just as an example, here is a past map for the early days of Dorian. This cones does not have black circles extending from them.
Here’s another example of a past Dorian cone.
In case there’s any question, here’s the original map from the August 30 briefing.
The original map doesn’t have a black circle on it. Black circles aren’t added to official cones to extend the cone’s reach.
It’s not known if Trump added that circle himself or if someone else did, and whether it was added seriously or as a joke that accidentally got shared as an official map. Whatever, the case, many have commented that it looks a lot like it was drawn on with a sharpie, hence the “sharpiegate” tweets.
Also: falsifying government weather reports just happens to be illegal. 18 U.S. Code § 2074 reads: “Whoever knowingly issues or publishes any counterfeit weather forecast or warning of weather conditions falsely representing such forecast or warning to have been issued or published by the Weather Bureau, United States Signal Service, or other branch of the Government service, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both.”
Now Everyone’s Tweeting Memes & Jokes About ‘Sharpiegate’
Now a lot of tweets, jokes, and memes are being shared based around sharpie and sharpiegate.
The strange extended cone is especially interesting when you know the history behind it. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that Alabama was among the states that might be hit by Dorian. But Alabama was never in any possible Dorian cone.
The National Weather Service had to correct Trump. They wrote: “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east. #alwx”
And James Spann, a meteorologist, corrected Trump. He tweeted: “Alabama will not be impacted by Dorian in any way.”
Trump’s response wasn’t to admit his mistake, but to fight back. He tweeted: “Such a phony hurricane report by lightweight reporter @jonkarl of @ABCWorldNews. I suggested yesterday at FEMA that, along with Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, even Alabama could possibly come into play, which WAS true. They made a big deal about this…”
Then Trump doubled down with a spaghetti model that didn’t quite show what he said it was showing.
So now that the strange sharpie circle has appeared on a weather forecast, people have to tweet memes and jokes about it.
This is a developing story.