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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke September 6, 2023

Old video of Clearwater Beach mischaracterized online

If Your Time is short

  • This video shows a waterspout on Clearwater Beach, Florida, in June, not Hurricane Idalia making landfall in August.

A whirling column of mist moves from sea to shore, whipping up beach towels, chairs and more in a recent Facebook video labeled "Clearwater Beach, Florida." 

"Hurricane Idalia has started," the video’s caption says. 

But this video doesn’t show Hurricane Idalia making landfall Aug. 30. It was taken at Clearwater Beach and shows a waterspout moving ashore there in June. 

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

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The Clearwater Police Department posted a similar video on Facebook in June — well before Hurricane Idalia struck two months later — writing: "A small #waterspout moved ashore quickly on #ClearwaterBeach near lifeguard Tower 2."

Two people went to the hospital with minor injuries after being struck by debris, the department said. 

In both videos, plenty of people can be seen on the beach. But before Hurricane Idalia made landfall, Pinellas County, which includes Clearwater, ordered the mandatory evacuation of some areas, such as the coast.

We rate claims this video shows Clearwater Beach during the recent Hurricane False. 


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Old video of Clearwater Beach mischaracterized online

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