The President, a Sharpie, and the Hurricane That Missed Alabama

By Barnard Law Collier

Despite the exceptionally clever media mockery with black Sharpie lines in absurd places, I believe it must be admitted that President Trump was NOT entirely wrong to mention Alabama as a possible destination for Hurricane Dorian.

I am a long-established weather map reader and forecast listener. I methodically followed Dorian, ”Child of the Sea,” from the afternoon of its birth on August 24 as a “depression” 800 miles southeast of  Barbados.

It became a “storm” over Barbados three days later with 65 mile an hour winds. (“Just an annoyance, no damage,” reports a Bajan friend.). Then it whipped a few stormy bands at Puerto Rico and took a track that led dead-on toward South Florida.

Dorian was by now a “mature” unisex monster with 180-plus winds moving at less than walking speed.

I studied the Weather Channel’s early strands of computer modeled spaghetti speculations and I thought, “It can cross the Florida peninsula, spin into very warm Gulf waters, gather new force, and head for New Orleans by way of Mississippi and Alabama.”

Then ensued many hours of media chatter about Dorian menacing either Miami or Mar-a-Lago, about 80 miles to the north. People of all political persuasions in and around Miami openly prayed that Dorian would visit Mar-a-Lago.

Hyper-hyped hurricane “news” echoed all over the weather channels and radio bands. It amounted to a news narrative that visualized the storm center hypothetically hitting Florida straight on and exiting into the Gulf of Mexico around Tampa, where it’s path might take it who knows?  . . . Unless it stalled and turned northward first.

President Trump obviously tuned in (on Fox?) to the same early stage spaghetti model news I was hearing. Like a shark eating a herring, President Trump swallowed all the speculation whole.

Based on flimsy, on-the-fly information, the President quickly calculated Dorian’s probable track over warm water. His thoughts were hugely attractive to all those who openly adore him in Alabama. They would appreciate that he’d take time out of his busy day to give their safety a single thought, even if he alarmed them without cause.

For President Trump, the warning to Alabama was simply business as usual, and not a soul was harmed by it.

On the plus side, the stock of the conglomerate that owns the Sharpie marker company (NWL) is on the rise.

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