Debunking email hoaxes and exposing Internet scams since 2003!

Hoax-Slayer Logo Hoax-Slayer Logo

DividerDivider
Home    About    New Articles    RSS Feed    Subscriptions    Contact
DividerDivider


Site Navigation








Hoax Warning - 300km Winds for Johannesburg Region This Weekend

Outline
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.

Bookmark and Share
Detailed analysis and references below example.

Enter your email address to subscribe to the Hoax-Slayer Newsletter:




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


Example
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.

Bookmark and Share

References
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



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