Fake forecast maps imply Hurricane Irma will hit Houston
HOUSTON - Official-looking maps are making the rounds on social media that suggest Houston is in the crosshairs of another hurricane. But meteorologists, including FOX 26's Mike Iscovitz, are trying to help stop the spread of this online rumor.
As of Friday morning, Irma is a Category 3 hurricane in the Altantic Ocean, more than 3,000 miles from Texas.
"Beware of #FakeNews!" Iscovitz posted to his Facebook page Friday. "Some trolls are creating incorrect maps that show Hurricane Irma moving toward Houston. These are fake maps. We will monitor Irma in the Atlantic, but believe me, none of the computer models points at Houston and even if they did, the hurricane center would never in a million years forecast a landfall two weeks away."'
Meteorologist Jeff Lindner, of the Harris County Flood Control District, reiterated Iscovitz's sentiments during an appearance Friday morning on FOX 26.
"Well, the first thing is everybody should be following official sources," Lindner said. "The National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service and the news media have a lot of the most official information. Be very careful what you see on social media. I saw the graphic this morning, also. It is completely false. That storm is way out in the Atlantic. The closest forecast even to it takes it into the Caribbean islands. There's no indication right now it would head toward the Gulf of Mexico."
September is a peak month for hurricane season. There is the potential for storms to still develop and, in fact, Irma's path could take it anywhere from the gulf to eastern Canada or out to sea.
It seems even the National Weather Service has caught wind of the maps swirling around online.
"Keep your eyes out for fake forecasts," the NWS posted to its main Twitter account. "THIS is what an official NOAA advisory looks like. Note: forecast only goes out 5 days. #Irma."
Iscovitz added, "None of us, you, I, none of us can guarantee no tropical system will hit Houston. We can't do that. What we don't want to do is to spread false, fake information because people are suffering. The last thing they need is more anxiety."