FACT CHECK: Viral X Video Predates Hurricane Idalia

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A viral video shared on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, purports to show Hurricane Idalia in Florida.

Verdict: Misleading

The video shows a waterspout that struck Clearwater Beach, Florida, in June 2023, according to reports from WFTS-Tampa and the Daily Mail, respectively.

Fact Check:

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Hurricane Idalia has caused “significant damage,” according to Fox News. The hurricane struck Florida on Aug. 30, bringing 125 mph winds, the outlet reported.

“BREAKING. Hurricane Idalia has started,” the X video, viewed over 45,000 times, purports. In the video, beachgoers can be seen running as the wind picks up, knocking over nearby umbrellas, and debris begins flying.

The claim is misleading, however. Check Your Fact performed a reverse image search using a screenshot captured from the video, which led us to reports from WFTS-Tampa and the Daily Mail covering a waterspout that struck Clearwater Beach, Florida in June 2023. Two tourists experienced minor injuries after being hit with flying debris as a result of the cyclone, according to the Daily Mail.

Dr. Mike Tarjoman, who appears to have captured the video of the event used in the WFTS-Tampa report, said it was “very unexpected” and “very sudden.”

“People’s stuff was flying all over the place and hitting people. It was crazy. Just, it was very unexpected. It was very sudden. You know, just one minute everyone’s having fun at the beach and literally within five minutes, this thing came from the water and just started going [and] making landfall and did what it did that you saw in that video,” Tarjoman told the outlet.

In addition to the reports from WFTS-Tampa and the Daily Mail, video of the waterspout was also shared on the Weather Channel’s website on July 2. Likewise, an iteration of the video indicating it showed a waterspout in Clearwater Beach, Florida was posted to X shortly after the incident in June 2023.

Furthermore, Check Your Fact did not find the viral X video referenced in any credible news reports about Hurricane Idalia. (RELATED: Video Showing Sidewalk Of Fire Is Not From Maui)

Check Your Fact has contacted WFTS-Tampa and the Daily Mail for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter