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Dont Be Fooled: Fake Pictures From Hurricane Harvey Have Been Causing Panic

In the wake of the enormous disaster in southeast Texas, people have been sharing all sorts of information about Hurricane Harvey.

There are stories of everyday heroes, and pictures of the storm's dramatic impact, but also a fair share of phony images making the rounds on social media. Many people mean well when they share these photos, but they're helping to spread misinformation during a crisis.

So how can you tell which photos are really real? We've shared some examples of phony viral images in the past, but we wanted to highlight some of the most popular fake photos trending online - as well as some real pictures that soon totally unbelievable.

The Houston Airport

While flooding and stormy conditions have closed airports across Texas and Louisiana this week, things aren't as bad as they seem in this viral photo.

What people are claiming to be the "Houston Airport" is actually an old photoshopped image of New York City's LaGuardia Airport. It was meant to illustrate how rising sea levels caused by climate change would affect the city.

But things are dire at Houston's Hobby Airport, as this photo of flooded runways from ABC 13 shows.

Shark On The Highway

This photo of a shark swimming along a freeway from a 2005 magazine article has surfaced in every major flood since Hurricane Irene in 2011, but still manages to fool gullible people every time. This year, Fox News host Jesse Watters even mentioned it on the air.

Alligators On The Loose

There are real concerns that alligators could be displaced by the flooding, and already footage is popping up of alligators floating around people's backyards. But many of the photos claiming to show alligators moved into suburban neighborhoods by the storm aren't real.


This trend seems to have started when a local sheriff's department sent out pictures of alligators from past floods, meant to be an example of what could happen. People innocently mistook these as actual photos of gators on the loose in Houston.

If you see any photos of former President Barack Obama in Houston, take them with a grain of salt.

Obama Serving Food

One of the most shared photos from this past week claims to show former President Obama serving meals to flood victims at a shelter. The photo usually compares Obama to President Trump.

In fact, the photo of Obama and his family comes from 2015, when they served meals to the needy at a D.C. homeless shelter. So far the former president has only tweeted his support for first responders, and has no plans to visit Houston.

Meanwhile, President Trump arrived and First Lady Melania Trump arrived in the city Tuesday to survey the damage and address survivors.

The Cajun Navy

While the group of volunteer search-and-rescue boaters called the Cajun Navy are in Houston helping to rescue people stranded by rising floodwater, this photo doesn't show them arriving in the city.

It is a photo of the "Navy," but it shows them responding to a different flood a few years ago.

The Floating Fridge

Many people are escaping flooded homes in southeast Texas using makeshift rafts, but don't be fooled by this photo of a man pushing children in a fridge. It was taken during flooding in last year's floods in Houston's Greenspoint area.

La Vita Bella Nursing Home

When Timothy McIntosh shared this photo of nursing home residents waiting to be rescued in waist-high water, skeptical people assumed it was some kind of hoax.

The calm expressions on the resident's faces and the fact that one of the women in the photo seems to be knitting make this picture seem unbelievable, but it's 100% true.

Thankfully, the viral photo helped rescuers locate the care home and the women in the photo were safely evacuated. It goes to show just how hard it is to tell fake photos from real ones!

To support the victims of Hurricane Harvey you can call 1-800-REDCROSS or text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Share this list so people won't be fooled by fake photos!

[H/T: NZ Herald, USA Today]