A bunch of fake photos of Hurricane sandy

Is that really a picture of Hurricane Sandy descending on New York?

No Its not!

It’s actually a picture from 2011, of a thunderstorm over Manhattan during a tornado alert (which turned out to be uneventful in the end, although the US and other countries were struck with an unusually high number of tornados that year). The original source appears to be this Wall Street Journal article, and the picture was taken through a tinted window by a finance professional called Charles Menjivar (from his workplace, most likely – his current employers are situated pretty much where this picture looks to be taken from).

It is traditional, when the US is menaced by a weather event, for people to tweet pictures of things that aren’t it. Generally they’re pictures of supercell thunderstorms, because they look way cool and a lot more threatening than actual hurricanes, which mostly just look sort of grey and wet and blurry unless you’re looking at them from above. Here are some of the more usual supercell picture suspects, which have previously been claimed to be hurricanes Isaac, Irene and (from the pre-Twitter days) Isabel, but weren’t. Keep a weather eye out for them.

That is actually a stock picture of the George Washington Bridge from 2009.

It’s also not true – the picture is from September, as the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (aka The Old Guard), the regiment that keeps watch over the Tomb.

That’s from the well-known cinéma vérité documentary The Day After Tomorrow, in case you hadn’t spotted it. Here’s what it actually looks like at the Statue of Liberty right now. It’s… a bit grey and blurry. And very noisy.)

UPDATE ^ 5: Special congratulations to BuzzFeed, who in their post debunking misattributed pictures that aren’t Sandy manage to misattribute the very first picture:



But this one:

In case you’re in any doubt, Alexis produced this nice overlay of the two (alsoavailable in GIF form in The Atlantic’s article). They’re identical:

  • We can’t confirm it 100%, but… this Twitter account seems to be the original source for the image, supposedly of a trampoline entangled in power lines in Milford, Connecticut. However, they then give credit to a different Twitter user, who has a protected account. But a Spokeo search gives an address for someone of that name in Milford, CT, and both Bing and StreetView show images of houses on that street which seem to match the building in that picture (as does the layout of the power lines.) So on balance, we’re happy to call this one real.

If you’ve spotted any non-Sandy pictures that are being tweeted (or facebooked, or instagrammed) as Sandy, do give us a shout at soldierofthecross18@yahoo.com


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