Waterspout's video captured in June shared as recent footage of Hurricane Idalia

By: Praveen Kumar
August 31 2023

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Waterspout's video captured in June shared as recent footage of Hurricane Idalia


The Verdict False

The video, reportedly from June, shows a waterspout at Clearwater Beach, Florida. It is being shared to claim it shows the effect of Hurricane Idalia.

Claim ID 194f87af

With maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region on Wednesday, August 30. According to CNN, apart from being the third hurricane to hit Florida in the last twelve months, Idalia is the strongest storm to make landfall in the Big Bend region in over 125 years. 

 What is the claim?

As the hurricane spells havoc, an old video is being widely shared on social media users with the claim that it captures Idalia in action. The video shows a whirlwind moving from the sea towards the coast and further inwards. It whips up chairs and umbrellas on its way as some beachgoers try to flee. This video is circulating with the caption, “Hurricane Idalia has started,” along with hashtags related to Florida and Hurricane Idalia. Some posts have been viewed as many as 389,000 times.

The Florida beach waterspout video was shared on X with thousands of views. (Source: X / Altered by Logically Facts)

 We also found similar posts on Facebook as well. The archived posts can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

Screenshots of the same video and claim shared on Facebook. (Source: Facebook / Altered by Logically Facts)

However, this video is reportedly from June and does not show Hurricane Idalia.

What we found

We reverse-searched screenshots from the viral clip and found the same video posted on YouTube channels of media outlets of USA Today on June 18 and ABC7 News Bay Area on June 20. Their captions for the video stated that it showed the waterspout that was spotted at Clearwater Beach in Florida. 

The same video was also posted by the weather forecast service AccuWeather on YouTube on June 17. Its caption added that the event took place on June 16. We noted that the abovementioned YouTube videos credit the clip to “Dr Mike & Danielle Tarjoman via Storyful.”

Screenshots of the video shared by several news organizations bearing a text crediting it to video-based news outlet Storyful. (Source: YouTube / Altered by Logically Facts)

We found that Storyful, a video-based news outlet, had posted this video on its website on June 17 with the description, “Beachgoers in Clearwater Beach, Florida, were seen running from a waterspout that spun ashore and beach equipment on June 16. Video recorded by Danielle Tarjoman shows the waterspout spinning through the surf and across the sand, sending beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas flying through the air.”

Logically Facts has contacted Tarjoman for more information on when the video was recorded. This story will be updated if and when we receive a response.

Television station FOX 35 Orlando also reported the waterspout incident with a video filmed from a different angle, posted on June 17. It credited the video to a kayaking and tourism service named ‘BK Adventure.’

Screenshot of a video of the June 16 waterspout at Clearwater Beach, Florida, filmed from a different angle. (Source: Fox 35 Orlando / Altered by Logically Facts)

Florida-based news station WKMG-TV (also known as  ClickOrlando) reported on June 16 that, according to fire officials, the waterspout appeared around 4 p.m., “causing winds that blew several items along the beach flying into the air, including tents and beach chairs.”

We were able to locate the beach seen in the viral video by comparing the pier visible in it to a Facebook photo by Visit St.Pete/Clearwater, a tourism information center for St.Petersburg, Florida, and a photograph of the Clearwater Beach available on the stock image website Getty Images.

Comparison of viral video screenshots to a photograph of Clearwater Beach, Florida. (Source: X / Facebook / Altered by Logically Facts)


A stock image of Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach, Florida. (Source: Getty Images / Altered by Logically Facts)

This confirms that the beach featured in the viral video is Clearwater Beach, Florida.

The verdict

An old video of a waterspout at Clearwater Beach, Florida, has been recirculated to claim that it shows Hurricane Idalia. Therefore, mark this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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