By: Ankita Kulkarni
September 4 2023
Artist Rostyslav Tsarov created the viral video using CGI. It is not real and is unrelated to Hurricane Idalia.
What is the claim?
Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the Big Bend area, Florida, U.S., on August 30, 2023, as a Category 3 storm that brought heavy rainfall to surrounding areas and flooded parts of South Carolina. On August 31, 2023, a local broadcaster, Live 5 News WCSC – affiliated with CBS News – reported a small tornado in Goose Creek, South Carolina. Emergency management officials added that a car flipped at South Goose Creek Boulevard around 12:22 during the tornado.
A video circulating on social media claims to show this tornado, with one post on X (formerly Twitter) captioning it, “The terrible storm in Perry, FL of Idalia is rolling through here. Just looking at it is enough to see how terrifying its destructive power is. #Idalia #hurricaneidalia.” The post has garnered 57,700 views and is being shared by other users with similar claims. The archived posts can be found here and here.
Screengrabs of claims made online (Source: X/@ThienJoker, @observer888888)
What are the facts?
Research revealed that the video is computer-generated imagery (CGI) being shared with false claims. Upon conducting a reverse image search of the viral clip, we found the exact video posted on TikTok, which had taken it from another account, as evidenced by the logo and username visible. This account revealed that the video was first shared on July 16, 2023 – before Hurricane Idalia – and it has around one million likes. It was also reposted on August 22. The account describes itself as “Interesting videos, real and edited.”
Screengrab showing the account name of an original video creator (Source: TikTok/@nativekentucky/Altered by Logically Facts)
We also found a corresponding YouTube channel, which creates artificial and edited videos depicting severe weather and natural disasters. The accounts have also shared several other videos that depict artificially-generated videos featuring storms, volcanoes, and tornadoes.
Logically Facts contacted the artist and owner of the TikTok and YouTube accounts, Rostyslav Tsarov, who responded, "This video was created by me using CGI, and it's not from Hurricane Idalia."
The only available video – courtesy of CNN News – from the recent tornado in South Carolina shows a car flipping over while crossing a highway. The caption reads, “A tornado crossing over a highway in Goose Creek, South Carolina, caused a car to flip over and land on another vehicle. CNN's John Berman reports.” The visuals are different from those seen in the viral clip.
An artificially-generated video showing a tornado is viral as real amid Hurricane Idalia. The video was created by visual effects artist Rostyslav Tsarov and was first posted before the recent hurricane landed in Florida. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.