President Donald Trump has reportedly asked Homeland Security and national security officials if the military could drop nuclear bombs on hurricanes to stop them from making landfall in the US.
A senior Trump administration official said the requests were well-intentioned in an effort to save American lives.
In a meeting with top national security and homeland security officials, according to US news website Axios, when informed of the future threat of hurricanes, Trump replied: "I got it. I got it. Why don't we nuke them?
"They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they're moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can't we do that?"
One official reportedly said to the president: "We'll look into this."
Another White House official said Trump's hurricane query was "not bad".
"His goal — to keep a catastrophic hurricane from hitting the mainland — is not bad," the official told Axios. "His objective is not bad."
"What people near the president do is they say 'I love a president who asks questions like that, who's willing to ask tough questions'," the official said. "It takes strong people to respond to him in the right way when stuff like this comes up. For me, alarm bells weren't going off when I heard about it, but I did think somebody is going to use this to feed into 'the president is crazy' narrative."
The White House declined to comment on the Axios report. "We don't comment on private discussions that the president may or may not have had with his national security team," it said.
The idea of using nuclear weapons to disrupt hurricanes has been floated before and is addressed in a US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fact sheet entitled Nuking Hurricane: The Surprising History of a Really Bad Idea.
"Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems," the sheet reads.
"Needless to say, this is not a good idea," it adds.