Hoax photo of planes floating at flooded airport goes viral

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Record flooding in the Houston area related to Tropical Storm Harvey is forcing some residents to evacuate and leading many thousands of others to call for help. Here is what you need to know. Photo: Adrees Latif/Reuters

This image has been shared all over social media. But all is not what it seems. Picture: Nickolay Lamm/StorageFront

NOTHING has so terrifyingly summed up the flooding in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey than this picture.

It shows Delta planes purported to be parked at one of Houston’s two major airports, floating in dangerously high flood waters. The image has been shared over and over on social media.

This image has been shared all over social media. But all is not what it seems. Picture: Nickolay Lamm/StorageFront

This image has been shared all over social media. But all is not what it seems. Picture: Nickolay Lamm/StorageFrontSource:Supplied

But while the flooding in Houston and other parts of Texas has been devastating, this dramatic photo is not. It is fake.

The image is actually a simulation put together in 2013 by Climate Central — an independent non-profit organisation dedicated to researching and reporting on climate change — to show what would happen if sea levels were to rise 7.6m, an amount that could occur by 2100 in a worst-case scenario according to some estimates.

And it isn’t even portraying a Houston airport. It is a mock-up depicting New York’s LaGuardia Airport, serving as a warning following Hurricane Sandy, which struck New York City in October 2012.

“Hurricane Sandy should serve as a wakeup call to officials in charge of other low-lying airports across the country, since the latest climate science shows coastal airports face a growing danger from storm-surge impacts such as sea levels rise,” the article, published by Climate Central on June 18 2013, read.

Several people on Twitter shared the image with the hashtags #Houston, #Hurricane and #Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey was the fiercest hurricane to hit the US in 13 years and the strongest to strike Texas since 1961’s Hurricane Carla, the most powerful Texas hurricane on record.

The amount of water in Houston was so unprecedented that the weather service on Wednesday had to update the colour charts on its official rainfall maps to indicate the heavier totals.

As a result, more than 1600 flights on Monday were cancelled, the bulk of them at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport, according to tracking service FlightAware.com.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Bush Intercontinental was expected to reopen Thursday and Hobby on Wednesday.

But those targets might be optimistic. Bill Begley, a spokesman for the airports, said they would not reopen until officials are certain they’re safe, “and I don’t even want to put a deadline on that.”

Exceptions have been made for flights carrying people who were trapped at the airports when the storm hit. United Airlines took 272 passengers to Chicago on Sunday and planned two more such flights Monday, said Charles Hobart. Two Spirit Airlines planes took 180 passengers to Chicago and Detroit, and Southwest flew 486 passengers to Dallas on Sunday aboard five planes, according to airline and airport officials.

— With AP


Previously Featured Here

Alexandra Laverro


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