Break the Chain A Stormy Encounter At Sea

Created 9/30/2003 (9/30/2003) A picture does indeed say a thousand words. Unfortunately, it's words 1001 and up that we need to worry about. Once again, clever hoaxters and well-meaning forwarders are propagating an 'amazing' photograph as a unique view of disaster.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

This comes to me via some friends on the East Coast. I vote we all stick with a twister here and there and avoid a storm like this at all costs. Inland is safer. Take a look at this....its kind of scary. This came off the weather net this afternoon. This is a shot from a ship of the hurricane that is coming our way by Thursday night, Friday morning. They say it will be worse than Hazel, if any one is old enough to remember that one. Better batten down the hatches friends.

Thar She Blows! Thar She Blows...Again!

---

Here is picture of the back edge of hurricane Isabel taken from tanker at sea.

---

Taken from a ship's bow in the Atlantic -- pretty cool!

---

This is a picture of the hurricane from someone who was on a ship going right by it. It is scary, but a neat picture of the hurricane.

---

Check out this picture. It is awesome!

Hurricane Isabel off coast of North Carolina. Picture taken from oil tanker 9/17/03.

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

In the information age, natural disasters are no longer things we just read about in the papers or hear about on the evening news. They are things we experience first-hand through live satellite footage of intrepid reporters risking life and limb to give the viewer that "you were there" vantage point.

doteasy.com - free web hosting. Free hosting with no banners.
It is probably because of this desire for first-hand and unique views of disasters that photographs purporting to come from said catastrophes are so popular. Unfortunately, the unreliability of e-mail as a medium to share such images means that most are either complete fabrications (Northeast Blackout of 2003, Shuttle Columbia's Destruction), or real images of real events, mistaken for current events. The photo above is an example of the latter.

This is not Hurricane Isabel. The photograph actually predates that storm by at least 6 months. The first known appearance of them on the 'net dates back to April, 2003, when they were described as being of Cyclone Indigo, taken off the coast of Australia. Hurricane Isabel hit the U.S. east coast September, 2003.

Unfortunately, I can't find any reliable source that confirms the Indigo attribution, but we can say with confidence that what we are looking at above is not a Hurricane. The phenomenon pictured is actually known as "shelf clouds" or "wall clouds," and occurs more often with tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Break this chain.

What Do You Think?

Category: Picture Imperfect
References: Snopes.com

HOME | Privacy & Copyright