Fact Check

Hurricane Isabel

Photographs show the approach of Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

Published Sep 20, 2003

Claim:   Photographs show the approach of Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2003]

Hurricane Isabelle up close and personal

Hi everybody,here is a pic that a friend sent me — it was taken on the deck of a oil tanker yesterday the 17th!

Hurricane Isabel(Click to enlarge)

Hurricane Isabel(Click to enlarge)

This came off the weather net this afternoon. These are shots from a ship of the hurricane that is coming our way by Thursday night, Friday morning. They say it will be worse than Hazel, if any one is old enough to remember that one. Better batten down the hatches friends.

Origins:   Meteorologists (including Dr. Steve Lyons, the Weather Channel's hurricane expert) agree that the photos displayed above are not pictures of any

hurricane at all, much less Hurricane Isabel, which struck the eastern United States in September 2003 — they depict shelf clouds or wall clouds typically associated with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes rather than hurricanes, and the water in the first picture appears too smooth for the area of an approaching hurricane. (Even if these images did depict the approach of a hurricane, they're too old to be photographs of Hurricane Isabel — these same pictures were circulating as photographs of Hurricane Claudette back in July 2003 and of Cyclone Indigo in April 2003.)

Some believe the photographs to have been taken in the midwestern U.S. or Great Lakes region, although at least one source identifies the first image as being a picture of Tropical Cyclone Graham, which hit northwest Australia in February 2003.

Last updated:   18 September 2006

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.