FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Tornado Hitting A Rainbow?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims to show the result of a tornado colliding with a rainbow.

Facebook/Screenshot

Verdict: False

The image is not a genuine photo of a tornado and rainbow colliding. It was created in Photoshop by an artist.

Fact Check:

The image, which has been shared over 130 times, shows a grassy field with a rainbow on the right side and what appears to be a tornado shaded with the colors of the rainbow on the left. “A tornado hit a rainbow and this is what happened,” text in the image states.

The photo does not, however, show a genuine tornado colliding with a rainbow. Ohio University atmospheric scientist Dr. Jana Houser told Check Your Fact via email that it is “100% a photo shopped image.” (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show Multiple Tornadoes Simultaneously Ripping Through Kansas)

“There is no possibility that a tornado can wrap up a rainbow as is being shown in this image,” Houser said. “Rainbows are formed by the refraction of water droplets as sunlight hits them at a relatively low angle. Well I have seen tornadoes and rainbows occurring at the same time, a tornado will never actually wrap in the rainbow light, so to speak.”

Real photos of rainbows near tornados have been included in reports by The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, San Francisco-based ABC 7 News and The Washington Post. None of the photos show a tornado that looks similar to the one in the Facebook post.

“A person can take a photo where the rainbow passes in front of the tornado, but it cannot ‘suck’ color into the circulation,” Dr. William Gallus, professor of meteorology at Iowa State University said in an email to Check Your Fact.

Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found the picture published by the now-defunct Primal Urge Magazine, according to the journal’s former website. The artwork in the magazine includes a watermark reading: “Tornado Versus Rainbow,” and is described as “Digital Artwork by Corey Cowan (Photoshop manipulation).”

The piece was also included in a February 2019 list published by The Weather Channel titled, “Fake and Overused Weather Photos: Avoid Sharing These Viral Images.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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