Fact Check

Hurricane Who?

A series of photographs purportedly showing Hurricane Patricia began circulating on social media in October 2015 but are completely unrelated to that storm.

Published Oct 24, 2015

[green-label]Claim:[/green-label]  A series of photographs show Hurricane Patricia.


[green-label]Example:[/green-label] [green-small][Collected via Twitter, October 2015][/green-small]

hurricane patricia?

[green-label]Origins:[/green-label]  As Hurricane Patricia made its way toward Mexico in October 2015, social media users started sharing several fake photographs purportedly showing the record-breaking storm — specifically, the above-displayed images, which were taken by NASA but do not show Hurricane Patricia. These images were actually taken in March 2015 and show  Typhoon Maysak:

Typhoon Maysak strengthened into a super typhoon on March 31, reaching Category 5 hurricane status on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti captured this image while flying over the weather system on board the International Space Station.

Several other images purportedly showing Hurricane Patricia were also passed around the Internet:

hurricane Collage

Again, neither of these photographs was taken in 2015 nor captures Hurricane Patricia. The left-hand portion of the above-displayed image was taken from the 2004 movie The Day After Tomorrow. The sequence can be glimpsed in the trailer embedded below around the 50-second mark:

The other portion of the image does show a natural occurrence, but one that is unrelated to Hurricane Patricia. That image was taken of a waterspout near Oldsmar, Florida, that appeared in July 2013.


[green-label]Last updated:[/green-label] 24 October 2015

[green-label]Originally published:[/green-label] 24 October 2015

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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