FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims To Show Multiple Tornadoes Simultaneously Ripping Through Kansas

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows multiple tornadoes simultaneously ripping across a field in Kansas.

Verdict: False

The image shows a time-lapse montage of a single tornado forming.

 Fact Check:

Facebook users recently shared a photo that appears to show multiple tornadoes tearing across a field in Kansas. It prompted reactions of fear and awe in the comments: one user called it “worse than my nightmares,” while another commented, “Like a menacing army of tornados march on. Wow, what a photo!”

But the Facebook caption’s claim – that it shows multiple tornadoes striking simultaneously – doesn’t hold up. (RELATED: Does Sunlight Kill The Coronavirus?)

Storm chaser Jason Weingart created the image being shared. On his website, the caption states it depicts the “evolution of the first of several tornadoes in Ford County, Ks on May 24, 2016.” Weingart also made the image available for free through Wikimedia Commons, where another description provides more detail about his process of creating the image.

“Photomontage of the evolution of a tornado,” reads the Wikimedia Commons caption. “Composite of eight images shot in two sequences as a tornado formed north of Minneola, Kansas on May 24, 2016.”

On May 24, 2016, a series of supercell thunderstorms that ultimately spawned 12 to 15 tornadoes formed across part of western Kansas, according to the National Weather Service. One of the supercells produced tornadoes north of Minneola, including the one that Weingart photographed to create the time-lapse image.

Weingart confirmed to USA Today that the photo shows the evolution of a single tornado, noting, “Someone on Facebook downloaded and posted it as a ‘mass of tornadoes’ and it went viral.”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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