Old visuals falsely shared as current floods in Germany

By: Vivek J
January 11 2024

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Old visuals falsely shared as current floods in Germany

Screenshots of the viral videos claiming to show visuals from the 2024 Germany floods. (Source: TikTok/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

Multiple visuals from the viral video are either old or from incidents unrelated to the recent floods in Germany.

Claim ID 73b8f4f7

What's the claim?

European countries including Germany, France, and the Netherlands have witnessed heavy flooding in recent weeks. Several German cities and towns were flooded in the heavy rains that began in late December 2023. 

One TikTok post claimed to show the devastation in Germany in the first week of January  (archived here). This video contains several clips of high waves in the sea and flooded streets. Archives of posts with similar footage can be seen here, and here

Screenshots of the viral video. (Source: TikTok/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, many of these clips are unrelated to the recent floods in Germany.

What we found

Video of waves splashing onto a bridge

In one video, (archived here), at 00:17, we can see high waves splashing onto a bridge. We conducted a reverse image search of multiple keyframes and found the same visuals shared in a TikTok video by a user named “Huddle Adventures” dated December 29, 2023. The video noted that this was at the Pacifica Pier in Pacifica, on the Californian coast in the U.S.

The Daily Mail has also shared the same video along with a screenshot in its report about the high waves in California in late December 2023. The visuals in the viral video appear to mirror the actual video shared by Daily Mail, citing other TikTok users from the U.S.  

Comparison of the screenshots from the viral video and the Daily Mail claiming to be from California. (Source: TikTok/Daily Mail/Screenshot)

We geolocated the viral video to the Pacifica Municipal Pier, Pacifica, California, on Google Maps.

Comparison of the screenshots from the viral video and Google Maps. (Source: TikTok/Google Maps)

The Californian coast witnessed high waves and a flood-like situation in late December 2023. A Reuters report noted, “The National Weather Service (NWS) posted high surf and coastal flood warnings for much of the California shoreline from San Diego north to the San Francisco Bay area, with breaking waves expected to reach 20, 25, and even 40 feet (12 m) in height in some areas.”

Visuals of flood water rushing through streets

Visuals seen around the 45-second timeframe (archived here) show floodwater rushing through a street with buildings on either side. A reverse image search from this visual led us to multiple Facebook (archived here) and X (archived here) posts from July 2021. These posts noted that these visuals were from Germany during the massive floods in July 2021 in multiple European countries including France and Belgium. 

Comparison of the screenshots from the viral video and the posts from July 2021. (Source: TikTok/X/Screenshot)

We geolocated this to Orchheimer Street in the town of Bad Muenstereifel, Euskirchen District, Germany. In July 2021, several European countries witnessed massive floods resulting in over 180 deaths in Germany and Belgium. A report on these floods by Builders Project EU noted that several central and western European countries witnessed massive floods with Germany being one of the worst affected.

Video of waves splashing onto the beach

At the 00:40 mark of another viral video (archived here), we can see water splashing onto the beach near what appears to be a children’s park. Upon conducting a reverse image search of the keyframes of this video, we found the same video shared on X (archived here) on November 27, 2023. The caption of this post read, “Terrible floods hit a number of cities in southern Russia. Scenes showing the streets of Sochi flooded with water.” 

Further, we found multiple Russian news outlets using a screenshot from this video and reporting on the severe storms that hit several Southern Russian cities in the Black Sea region, including Sochi and Crimea. 

Comparison of the screenshots from the viral video and the November 2023 video shared on X. (Source: TikTok/X/Screenshot)

While we were not able to independently geolocate this place and verify the video’s origin, it is clear that this visual predates the recent floods in Germany by at least one month.  

The verdict

Viral videos claiming to be from the recent floods in Germany contained multiple pieces of footage. We found that at least three of these video clips were unrelated to the recent floods in Germany. Therefore, we have marked the claims as false. 

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