Image of dramatic ‘Joburg storm’ actually from Phoenix in the US

South Africa’s biggest city has been experiencing heavy rains and flooding over the past week.

While the storms pelting Johannesburg have given rise to impressive images, some have taken creative license with what they post online.

An image claiming to be of a storm in Johannesburg has been doing the rounds on social media over the weekend. The photo shows a mushroom-like cloud roiling over the city.


However, a Google reverse image search reveals that this is, in fact, an image of a microburst over Phoenix in the United States. Helicopter pilot Bruce Haffner took the photo on Monday 18 July 2016.

A “microburst” is a weather phenomenon consisting of strong winds rushing to the ground out of a thunderstorm, often at over 160 km/h, resulting in damaging downward winds (hence the mushroom cloud appearance).

This image was also posted on Reddit over the weekend, where it was rapidly debunked by residents of the US city. – 14/11/2016


Additional reading

GUIDE: How to spot fakes and hoaxes online

Top 5 fake images debunked

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