Real or fake? News13 meteorologist weighs in on Hurricane Irma rumors


MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Hurricane Irma is trending on social media; from Facebook to Twitter, people have shared thousands of posts on the storm.

Some of those posts, though, are lies and can often do more harm than good.

Many of our viewers have reached out to News13 asking if certain reports are true. It’s easier than ever to get information thanks to social media, but experts say there are a lot of misinformation out on Irma.

“It’s always frustrating when one of these fake forecasts or forecasts that’s not true gets a lot more shares, a lot more hits or a lot more likes than a genuine, real forecast,” said News13 Chief Meteorologist Frank Johnson. “I think where it could hurt us in the Carolinas is if somebody sees that and believes it, they’re like ‘I don’t have to worry about the storm … it’s not coming here.'”

Tracking Hurricane Irma

Rumors out there now include Hurricane Irma hitting Texas and turning into a category 6 storm.

“There’s no such thing as a category 6. Category 5 is bad enough. That’s the top end of it and once you get past 157 miles per hour, it’s catastrophic damage,” said Frank Johnson.

So how can you differentiate the real from the fake? Experts warn of photo-shopped models, rogue website addresses and spelling errors in reports.

But if you want to avoid it all, Frank has one piece of advice.

“One computer model is not going to give you an accurate forecast. You want a forecast from a meteorologist who’s looked at several computer models and put together a well thought out forecast.”