President Trump incorrectly claimed on Wednesday that Category 4 Hurricane Michael was “close to 200 miles per hour” at landfall and exagerrated the storm’s size during a White House breifing to the nation.
“We are watching Hurricane Michael. It’s just hitting shore now. Winds are going up to close to 200 miles per hour. You don’t hear about that. Category four, you don’t hear about that,” Trump incorrectly stated. The hurricane had strengthened into a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour at the time of his remarks.
“This is gonna be a big one,” he added. “The winds are going to be so tremendous. This will be a lot of water but this will be tremendous wind…It’s gonna be a rough one. It’s gonna be a very dangerous one.”
A few hours earlier, Trump met with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FEMA administrator Brock Long for a briefing on Hurricane Michael.
At the time of the Oval office briefing, Trump asked Long to factcheck media reports that Hurricane Michael would be one of the strongest hurricanes on record to strike the Gulf coast.
“So they’re reporting that this is one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit our country. Is that actually a fact?” Trump asked.
“In this area, this would be the most instense hurricane that has sturck this area since 1851, if I remember correctly,” Long responded.
Trump then incorrectly claimed that the storm was “almost the entire size of the Gulf” of Mexico. It was actually less than half the size of the entire gulf.
“It’s almost the entire size of the Gulf,” Trump said. “When you look at it topically, it’s almost the entire size of the Gulf. And they haven’t seen that.”
“Maybe they haven’t seen that at all. Nobody’s seen that before,” Trump claimed.
On August 14, 1969, Hurricane Camille made landfall in Waveland, Mississippi, as a Category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds of 175 mph. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana, with 125 mph winds, a strong Category 3 storm.