By: Ishita Goel
October 4 2023
X and Facebook posts claiming that videos are from New York floods in September 2023 (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshot)
Old videos are being misrepresented as flooding in New York in September 2023.
Torrential rains in the northeastern U.S. on September 29, 2023, caused major flooding in the region, with New York City being particularly hard hit.
The Associated Press reports that flash floods knocked out subway lines, flooded basements, and caused a terminal at La Guardia airport to be shut for hours. The situation prompted the city’s governor, Kathy Hochul, to declare a state of emergency on Friday.
What is the claim?
Numerous visuals of the flooding are circulating on social media, many of them involving old and unrelated events.
One such clip shows people at a grocery store filled with water up to the knees. A Facebook user shared the video and wrote, "Ppl shopping in flood waters in N.Y." An X user captioned the video, "WATCH: How people went shopping in New York City during the flood." The archived versions of the posts are here and here.
Similarly, a six-second clip shows a subway filled with water and a lady in a pink blouse struggling down the inundated stairs. One X user shared the video and captioned it, "NYC SUBWAY STATION FLOODING." Others said, "Floods in the New York subway. Avoid using subways." Archive links of the posts can be seen here and here.
A third clip also shows a subway flooding, with water gushing out through pipes running over the trains, and filling a station with water. The inlaid text on the video reads, "New York subway ruined with Flood.” Another X user captioned the video, "Scary. The New York City subway looking like an end of times waterpark." Another wrote, "New York Subway is ruined by the flood. I have been living in the city for past 11 years and have never seen anything like this before." Archive links are here and here.
Screenshot of viral posts making the false claim. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
What are the facts?
Through reverse image search, we found that all the above videos are old and unrelated to the September 2023 New York floods.
The supermarket video
The first clip of a supermarket is from Auckland, New Zealand. On January 28, 2023, media website news.com.au. posted the video with the description, "A New Zealand supermarket in Wairau has completely flooded as state of emergency declared across the country."
Several Australian news websites, including The Chronicle and Herald Sun, published the video in January 2023. Yahoo News also shared images matching the viral video and wrote, "Shoppers were filmed in deep water at the Glenfield supermarket."
Video on Australian news websites (Source: news.com.au/Herald Sun/Screenshot)
Reuters reported in January that due to heavy rains in New Zealand, the country remained under a state of emergency after floods and landslides hit the north island.
The subway video
The second clip of a subway and a woman in a pink blouse walking down the stairs was taken in New York City in July 2021.
The Telegraph posted a longer video that included the viral clip on July 9, 2021, with the caption, "Commuters wade through water as Storm Elsa floods New York subway stations." The description read, "Several subway stations were flooded and major roads were cut in New York," waiting for the arrival of storm Elsa after wind and rains lashed Florida.
Similarly, C.B.S. New York shared a video of its news broadcast on Storm Elsa on July 9, 2021, saying, "N.Y.C. Roadways, Subway Stations Flood After Thunderstorms Move Through Area." At the 0:01 timestamp of the video, a screen behind the anchors in the studio displays the viral footage. The Independent published a report on July 9, 2021, detailing the situation in the city and added an X post featuring the viral video.
Video reported by news websites (Source: YouTube/Screenshot)
U.S.A. Today reported that before the arrival of tropical storm Elsa in New York, thunderstorms caused strong winds, and heavy rains led water to gush through subway stations and roadways in the city.
The subway and the train station video
The third video, beginning with a subway and a station filled with gushing water, was taken in New York in September 2021. The New York Times published a video that included two clips from the viral video on September 2, 2021, and wrote: "Videos Show Flooded N.Y.C. Transit System."
We also found that The Weather Channel used the same two clips from the viral video in a video published on September 11, 2021. The video description reads: "Record rain and flooding from the remnants of Ida swamp New York City's subway system, leaving service largely suspended." U.S.A. Today also published the two clips of the viral video in a longer video.
Video reported by news websites (Source: New YorkTimes(L)/USA Today(R)/ Screenshots)
Other frames of the viral video - showing various shots of flooded stations and commuters climbing up a flight of stairs - were posted by Newsflare on Facebook on September 13, 2021, with the caption, “Watch how the effects of Hurricane Ida causes massive flooding in the subways and streets of New York! These clips will astonish you!”
Subwaycreatures, an Instagram account, also posted these clips from the viral video on September 2, 2021.
Video reported by news websites (Source: Instagram(L)/Facebook(R)/ Screenshots)
The Guardian reported in September 2021 that after Hurricane Ida and heavy rains flooding the subway lines and streets in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey, the National Weather Service (N.W.S.) issued its first-ever flash flood emergency warning for New York City.
Various visuals from old incidents and places are being shared as recent disruptions in New York after flooding due to heavy rainfall. We have located all these visuals in older videos dating back to July 2021 or originating in New Zealand. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.