The Media Keeps Pushing This ‘False’ Narrative About Hurricane Florence

Spc. Andrea Salgado Rivera/Handout via REUTERS

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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  • The New York Times continued to push a “false” narrative about Hurricane Florence.
  • The media keeps saying above-normal ocean temperatures strengthened Florence.
  • However, this isn’t true, according to actual temperature data.

The New York Times published an article on the alleged link between global warming and Hurricane Florence that continued to push a misleading narrative about the storm.

TheNYT’s article published Wednesday claimed “the oceans are heating up,” adding “[t]he waters Florence encountered were, in fact, warmer than normal.”

To reinforce that point, TheNYT’s article, “Humans Are Making Hurricanes Worse. Here’s How,” linked to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) piece on warm ocean waters off New England and eastern Canada.

A Times reporter made a similar claim in a video posted the day before Florence made landfall in North Carolina on Friday. The report in the video claimed Florence formed in “unusually warm waters” in the Atlantic Ocean, heated up by man-made global warming.

“This is false,” tweeted Cato Institute meteorologist Ryan Maue in response to TheNYT’s latest hurricane article.

Florence spent most of its lifespan tracking through “abnormally cool” waters, according to sea surface temperature analyses done by Maue.

Maue’s analysis not only showed that Florence formed, then strengthened, over relatively cool waters, but rapidly weakened once it reached warmer waters near the U.S. coast. Forecasters expected the storm to strengthen, but it was torn apart by wind shear.

Florence did eventually enter warmer waters close to the U.S. coast, where it did the opposite of what forecasters expected — it weakened.

“Ryan Maue is absolutely correct,” University of Washington climate scientist Cliff Mass told The Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Scientists Throw Cold Water On Claims Linking Hurricane Florence To Global Warming)

“First, Florence spent most of its life cycle over water that was COLDER than normal,” Mass said via email. “In fact, its greatest strengthening occurred over this cool water.”

“When it approached a narrow zone of warm water near the coast, it weakened rapidly due to large amounts of vertical shear,” Mass said. “Second, when it did hit the coast, it was a marginal Cat 1 storm, not a monster.”

National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasters initially expected Florence to make landfall as a major hurricane — Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale. But the storm made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane.

Florence, however, still brought heavy rainfall, storm surge and hurricane-force winds. The storm was slowed by a high pressure blocking system over land, meaning it spent more time dumping rain over the Carolinas.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to TheNYT’s John Schwartz, who wrote “Humans Are Making Hurricanes Worse. Here’s How,” and did not receive a response in time for publication.

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