Several fake videos and unverified stories about Hurricane Irma are making their way around the web.
The Category 5 hurricane and its staggering 185-mph winds have so far devastated islands in the north Caribbean, making it the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever recorded in the region.
Irma is expected to reach the U.S. over the weekend, potentially hitting Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
As interest peaks, several videos, articles and photos will be making the rounds on social media.
Don’t fall for the following hoaxes:
No, Hurricane Irma is not on track to be a Category 6 storm.
Some articles, including one from a fake news site claiming to be “CNN Business News,” wrote that the storm could become a Category 6 by the time it hits the U.S.
More than 70,000 people shared the story.
This isn’t true and the site, according to officials, is not affiliated with CNN.
There's no such thing as a Category 6 hurricane. Category 5 is as high as it goes," National Weather Service Meteorologist Thomas Winesett told USA Today.
No, Hurricane Irma is not going to destroy New York City.
NewsPunch.com posted something about Hurricane Irma potentially destroying New York City (and most of New Jersey) on Sept. 10.
The post cited falsified National Hurricane Center storm projections.
Politifact.com rated the claim “Pants on Fire” and highlighted that the site itself contained a disclaimer saying its owners “make no representations about the suitability, reliability, availability, timeliness, and accuracy of the information.”
The National Weather Service has not announced Irma’s impact on the New York or New Jersey areas.
No, Hurricane Irma isn’t a “liberal hoax.”
On Tuesday, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh suggested the media may be exaggerating the threat of Hurricane Irma to push a climate change agenda.
Headlines then implied Limbaugh suggested Irma was a “liberal hoax,” an exaggeration of his remarks that have been picked up in some conservative circles, according to the Washington Post.
From his radio show this week:
So there is a desire to advance this climate change agenda, and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it,” Limbaugh explained. “You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic. You don’t need a hurricane to hit anywhere. All you need is to create the fear and panic accompanied by talk that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more frequent and bigger and more dangerous, and you create the panic, and it’s mission accomplished, agenda advanced.
But Hurricane Irma really is one of the strongest Atlantic storms yet and has potential to cause more harm.
No, you don’t have to fear a shark attack.
Sharks are not going to attack you during a hurricane, Time.com reported as the ever-popular Sharknado hoax emerged.
Why? Because they’ll be too concerned for their own safety.
Sharks, along with other fish, are sensitive to barometric pressure, which drops when a storm comes in, said Chris Lowe, director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach.
Instead of trying to attack you, the sharks will feel the change in pressure and swim deeper into the water to be safer. “Most animals will get nature’s alerts and leave,” Lowe said.
During Hurricane Harvey, photos of sharks on Houston, Texas, freeways were also doctored.
Be careful of fake forecasts.
And don’t share these fake videos.
This video shows footage from a tornado that hit Dolores, Uruguay, in May 2016, according to Mashable.com.
Fake Facebook Live videos on continuous loop are also being shared.
One in particular was viewed more than six million times and actually comes from a 9-month-old video during Cyclone Vardah in India. Facebook has since deleted the videos, but here’s the loop on YouTube:
And the original AccuWeather video of the cyclone:
How to identify fake Hurricane Irma photos, videos, hoaxes:
- Check the source. If you’re not sure, do a Google search to find out if the source is reputable.
- Check to see if other reputable sources have reported on the same image/video/theory.
- Check Snopes.com for fact-checks.
- Rely on your local news, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Weather Channel, the National Hurricane Center, NASA and other reputable sources of weather-related news.
Have you seen any other fake Hurricane Irma videos or photos circulating the web? Let us know in the comments.