Fact Check

Hurricane Lili

Photograph shows a triple waterspout associated with the storms of Hurricane Lili.

Published Oct 9, 2002

Claim:   Photograph shows a triple waterspout associated with the storms of Hurricane Lili.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2002]

This is a picture taken this morning (10/02/02) in the Gulf of Mexico of three tornadoes associated with the storms in the front storm bands of Hurricane Lili as she approaches the Louisiana coastline. The picture was
taken by a Seacor hand.

Hurricane Lili

Origins:   Our

job is made so much easier when people manipulate photos available on the Internet, because sooner or later someone turns up the original(s).

The picture shown above is purportedly a spectacular photograph of a "triple tornado" accompanying Hurricane Lili, which made landfall in Louisiana in early October 2002, becoming the first hurricane to touch the US since Hurricane Irene in 1999. (Not to be confused with a previous Hurricane Lili, which hit Cuba in mid-October 1996.)

However, the same photo appeared on page 6 of the Fall 2001 issue of

Anchor Lines (a newsletter for Edison Chouest Offshore and affiliated maritime companies operating in the Louisiana Gulf):

Not Lili

That photograph, of a single waterspout, was taken in the Gulf of Mexico back in June 2001 by a crewmember of the C-Rambler, a 240-foot supply boat. Someone manipulated the original and turned it into a photograph of three waterspouts, a picture that began circulating as an amazing image of a triple tornado associated with the storms of Hurricane Lili in October 2002.

Last updated:   21 September 2006


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

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