The crazy photograph of Hurricane Isaac approaching the Gulf Coast that emerged on the web and went viral, has in fact, turned out to be a fake. The photo was posted on Twitter and retweeted thousands of times and also even used by media outlets during their news coverage.
Bay News 9 meteorologist Josh Linker said of the photoshopped ominous image, "It is a Photoshopped picture of a supercell thunderstorm that seems to pop up with a new foreground every time there is a hurricane threat anywhere."
That photo has in fact been around for quite some time and isn't of Hurricane Isaac at all. A supercell thunderstorm is a thundercloud that forms in the Great Plains when a pocket of vapor-filled hot air rises in the presence of a certain amount of change in wind speed and height.
Tropical storms and hurricanes are less tightly packed and don't appear as photographic as supercells when taken at ground level.
Supercell's are beautifully structured and Chris Walcek a meteorologist at the State University of New York, Albany said to Life's Little Mysteries, "The condensation pattern at cloud base forms a 'belt' or 'wall' appearance as air is lifted and sucked into the swirling storm."
Similarly, a fake of last August's Hurricane Irene went viral on the web, which was also of a supercell thunderstorm, photoshopped onto a Florida beach. Same goes for fakes of Hurricane Katrina making landfall.
It was unclear where the photo originated and who linked it to Tropical Isaac, but since the photo was leaked, over 3,000 people have retweeted it since Saturday.