FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show A Tornado In Wasco, California?

Ryan King | Contributor

An image shared on Facebook over 350 times purportedly shows a tornado that touched down in Wasco, California, on Oct. 25.

Verdict: False

The photo shows a tornado that touched down near Yates City, Illinois, in 2010, not Wasco in 2021.

Fact Check:

The image shows a tornado touching down in a field lined with trees. “Wasco 17:09 October 25th, 2021,” reads the image’s caption. The user who shared the photo clarified in the comment section that she was referring to Wasco, California, a small city with a population of approximately 28,000 people. (RELATED: Does This Image Show A String Of Three Tornadoes Over Virginia Tech?)

While a tornado warning was, according to the verified Twitter account of the National Weather Service (NWS) in Hanford, in effect in parts of Kern County, the county that encompasses Wasco, on Oct. 25, there do not appear to be any confirmed reports of a tornado actually touching down. Check Your Fact searched the NWS of Hanford’s Twitter account, as well as local media outlets such as the Wasco Tribune, KGET.com and 23ABC News Bakersfield, but found nothing about a tornado touching down in the area.

“There were NOT any reports of a tornado touching down,” said Jerald Meadows, the meteorologist in charge at the NWS office in Hanford, in an email to Check Your Fact. “However, there were several reports of funnel clouds that came close. There is a small chance that a funnel could have briefly touched down but again there have been NO confirmed reports or damage seen.”

A reverse image search reveals the photo in question actually shows a tornado that struck near Yates City, Illinois, on June 5, 2010. It can be found on a section of the NWS’s website dedicated to tornado activity in central Illinois on June 5, 2010, with a citation that states it was captured by Jarrod Cook near Yates City that day. The same image can also be found on Wikipedia.

This is not the first time misinformation about tornadoes has spread on social media. In September, Check Your Fact debunked a viral image that claimed to show a string of three tornadoes over Virginia Tech on Aug. 31.

Ryan King

Contributor

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