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Issue 120 - November 2011 - Page 11

Hoax Warning - 300km Winds for Johannesburg Region This Weekend

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Email forward warns that winds of up to 300 kilometres per hour are set to strike the Johannesburg region this weekend.

Brief Analysis
The claims in the message are false. No such storm is expected. The South African Weather Service has dismissed the warning as a hoax.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

Last updated: 14th October 2011
First published: 14th October 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer

Breaking News Please notify your friends and families!!

BREAKING NEWS Gail force winds of up to 300km are expected for the Johannesburg region during the course of the weekend. This bad weather that is approaching will reach Johannesburg region later this afternoon approaching from the west rand and heading towards the east rand with possibilities of stronger tornado’s experienced last weekend. Please make sure that you get home early as the roads are going to be chaotic due to the weather. Please make sure you and your loved ones are in doors when the wind starts to pick up, please make sure that pets are indoors as well.

Please see the photo attached from HAARP weather institute.

Hurricane Image

This satelite image was taken 12hours ago by the HAARP weather monitoring satelite and the weather system is fast approaching Gauteng Province.

Detailed Analysis
According to a widely circulated warning email, which bills itself as "breaking news", a huge tornado with "gail force" winds of up to 300 kilometres per hour is set to hit the Johannesburg region of South Africa "during the course of the weekend". The email includes a photograph of a massive weather system which it claims was supplied by the "HAARP weather institute".

However, the claims in the supposed warning are utter nonsense and should be disregarded. No such storm is currently approaching Johannesburg. The South African Weather Service has publicly dismissed the warning as a hoax, noting on its website:
eMail Hoax: Please ignore silly emails about tornadoes, even though they may have Media24 graphics included
Moreover, the supposedly current photograph of the "tornado" is certainly not recent. In fact, it was first published on various websites back in 2008. And, of course, the weather system shown in the image is not a tornado at all, but rather a hurricane. Several sources identify the storm in the image as Hurricane Gustav, an Atlantic hurricane that caused series damage in August and September 2008.

The poor spelling in the message also suggests that it is certainly not an official news story. Even a sloppily constructed weather warning would not refer to strong winds as "gail force" rather than "gale force". Nor would such a warning misidentify a hurricane as a tornado.

Alas, the "warning" does not include a specific date but instead refers vaguely to "this afternoon" and "during the course of the weekend". Unfortunately, this lack of a specific date means that the hoax may continue to circulate for weeks or months to come.

If you receive this false warning, please do not send it on to others. And please, let the sender know that the message is a hoax.

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South African Weather Service
At least 13 dead, 6,000 displaced by Hurricane Gustav on Hispaniola
Hurricane Gustav, The Republican Convention, and The Laws of Karma
KCin60 online: Hurricane Gustav

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Issue 120 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Facebook 'Add Pink Tinge to Your Profile' Virus Warning
  2. Hoax - UNICEF Receives 5 Euros Every Time You Share a Picture
  3. False Warnings - 'Cleaning out Friends List' Questions on Facebook Contain Viruses or are Posted by Hackers
  4. Image of Police Officer Macing a Child
  5. Hoax - SPCA South Africa is Closing Down
  6. Facebook '1 Lost Message' Pharmacy Spam Email
  7. Energy Saver Globe Warning Message - Mercury Exposure Foot Injury Images
  8. Westpac 'Quick Survey' Phishing Scam
  9. Free Heart Surgery for Children - Facebook Share
  10. Brighton Area 'Black or Dark Blue Dodge Caravan' Child Abduction Rumour
  11. Hoax Warning - 300km Winds for Johannesburg Region This Weekend
  12. Bogus Windows Firewall and Security Center Update Email Links To Malware
  13. Facebook Prayer Request For Baby Found in the Bin
  14. BlackBerry Messenger Resend to Save Account Hoax
  15. AT&T Phishing Scam
  16. Bill Cosby - 'I'm 76 and I'm Tired'
  17. Boy Shot By Step Dad Charity Hoax