KZN Tornado fake news

Photo: Storm Report / Twitter

KZN tornado: Three fake news stories you need to avoid

From the misinformed to the completely absurd, there have been a few “fake news” claims about the KZN tornado which appeared in Bergville on Thursday.

KZN Tornado fake news

Photo: Storm Report / Twitter

One of the more understated frustrations about extreme weather events is that there are always a few opportunists who want to circulate misinformation, for no reason other than to draw attention to themselves. A few purveyors of “fake news” have been at it again with the KZN tornadoes.

SAWS fight with fake news

Let’s establish some facts, first. A tornado definitely hit Bergville in KZN on Thursday afternoon. That’s irrefutable, and was confirmed by the South African Weather Service (SAWS) earlier in the day. There was also an identical weather event in New Hanover, which occured on Tuesday. However, the organisation have been left furious by a number of “hoax communications” doing the rounds:

“While the South African Weather Service appreciates authentic footage on this confirmed tornado (and other weather phenomena), it is unfortunate that, once again, the phenomenon of fake or hoax news on certain platforms occurred, which could create confusion, fear and panic amongst the public.”

“A hoax message contains of part of the truth, with added inaccuracies.  We therefore urge the public to respond only to severe storm information sourced from reputable agencies with the mandate to issue and distribute weather-related warnings, such as SAWS and the national and provincial Disaster Management.”

SAWS statement

But what exactly are they talking about? We’ve picked out three false posts that have been officially discredited.

KZN tornado: Fake news and false claims

Waterspout in Umhlanga? Not today…

No, the incy-wincy spider won’t be climbing up this particular waterspout in Umhlanga. It’d be seven months too late. Not only is a waterspout different from a tornado, but this video clip spreading on social media was captured in April 2019, during the last intense storms that battered Durban. You can disregard this:

No tornado in Pinetown

Sadly, Durban keeps getting linked to the tornadoes that keep popping up elsewhere in KwaZulu-Natal. Just to confirm, as of 15:45 on Thursday, no twisters have been reported in or around the eThekwini Municipality. A video purporting to show a tornado in Pinetown from this week is certifiable fake news. There have also been claims of this event happening in Howick and Hammarsdale, but it’s simply not true.

There are no dragons in the sky, either

This isn’t easy to explain, because the video has since gone missing from Twitter. We’re pained to even mention it, but due to it being shared multiple times, we feel we must stress the obvious: One clearly-edited video allegedly shows a tornado forming in the sky, only for it to morph into a dragon-like creature before the clip ends.

Yes. We know. And you probably know as well. But we’ve all got the one gullible friend or family member who will genuinely believe that Game of Thrones has opened up in the skies above KZN. Please, just use your noodle for some of these, and be quick to nip anything that raises suspicion right in the bud.