Fact Check

Statue of Liberty Amidst a Hurricane

Photographs show the Statue of Liberty amidst a hurricane?

Published Oct 2, 2010

Claim:   Photographs show the Statue of Liberty amidst a hurricane.



[Collected via e-mail, October 2012]

This picture is circulating on Facebook claiming to be storm surge from Hurricane Sandy.


[Collected via e-mail, September 2010]

Photo taken 9/16/10 - it may look pretty but it is NYC in the storm that brought torrents of rain and a tornado with it too - lots of trees down everywhere and mass transit (LIRR) at a standstill in a matter of about 10 minutes.


Origins:   These images of the Statue of Liberty in the midst of a hurricane might be described by viewers using any number of adjectives: beautiful, ominous, prophetic, majestic, etc. For our purposes, however, the single most relevant adjective is ... fake.

The first image, which was circulated in October 2012 in conjunction with Hurricane Sandy's hitting the upper Atlantic Coast of the United States, is simply a promotional still taken from the 2004 action-adventure film The Day After Tomorrow:

The second image originally appeared in the latter part of September 2010, prompted by the occurrence of a tornado that hit New York City on 16 September 2010.

However, that isn't a genuine photograph of any New York storm either: it's a digital manipulation created by merging a picture of the Statue of Liberty with a separate photograph of a supercell thunderstorm snapped in Nebraska by photographer Mike Hollingshead on 28 May 2004:

Click to enlarge

The original storm photo is a familiar one on these pages, as it (along with other examples of Mike Hollingshead's work) has been circulated on the Internet on numerous occasions as depicting a variety of different storms throughout the world, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Last updated:   29 October 2012

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