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Trump insists incorrect ‘Sharpiegate’ hurricane map is accurate

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Unable to let a good fight with the media go to waste, Donald Trump insisted again on Thursday that his warning that Alabama could be hit by Hurricane Dorian was accurate.

The federal National Weather Service (NWS) has said it was not.

Related: Trump shows fake hurricane map in apparent bid to validate incorrect tweet

Dorian, meanwhile, moved back up to category 3 strength, threatening life-endangering storm surge and flooding in the Carolinas and prompting evacuations there and along the coast of Georgia. It had left at least 20 people dead in the Bahamas.

The president tweeted his fury about his own side of the matter a day after he displayed a National Hurricane Center (NHC) map in the Oval Office which appeared to have been altered with a Sharpie, or marker pen, to show the storm’s predicted path reaching into the Yellowhammer state.

Trump insisted later on Wednesday that his original briefings on Dorian showed a “95% chance probability” that Alabama would be hit. Asked if the chart showing a government weather forecast had been altered – which would be a crime under US law – he said: “I don’t know, I don’t know.”

The incident prompted scorn and hilarity online, with some christening the scandal “Sharpiegate”.

On Wednesday night, Trump demanded apologies from the media.

On Thursday morning, typically unabashed, he tweeted: “In the early days of the hurricane, when it was predicted that Dorian would go through Miami or West Palm Beach, even before it reached the Bahamas, certain models strongly suggested that Alabama [and] Georgia would be hit as it made its way through Florida [and] to the Gulf.

“Instead it turned North and went up the coast, where it continues now. In the one model through Florida, the Great State of Alabama would have been hit or grazed. In the path it took, no. Read my FULL FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] statement. What I said was accurate! All Fake News in order to demean!”

Saying Alabama had been predicted to be “hit or grazed” was a downgrade from Trump’s initial tweet about the state, which counted it among states likely to be “hit (much) harder than anticipated”.

Trump also retweeted an NHC map from last Wednesday which showed outer strands of the storm crossing the Georgia-Alabama line.

The first warnings of Dorian’s potency began to spread across the media late last week. The NHC map showing the forecast path of the storm which Trump displayed in the Oval Office was published last Thursday. It can still be seen online. It does not show the hurricane reaching Alabama.

Regardless, on Sunday, Trump tweeted: “In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!”

Shortly after that, the National Weather Service tweeted: “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.”

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