Historic, torrential rain and flooding has hit several U.S. coastal states this week. As we saw with Hurricane Sandy, hoax photos and tales run rampant across social media during a disaster. Don’t buy it! Please double check before passing on. There is no excuse for adding to panic.
Dr. David Steen warns readers not to fall for the hoax photos of crocodiles and sharks in the floodwaters.
A photo circulating of what looks like an alligator in the flood waters is from August 2015 but also only a piece of wood, not a live animal. While it’s not IMPOSSIBLE that animals are roaming the flood waters, this is NOT a true story. No additional cases of such have been confirmed. It was irresponsible of the news org to report this story without confirmation back then. It’s surging again now thanks to jokesters.
There is also a new story about a crocodile enjoying the high tides. Dr. Steen also debunks this one. There are no crocodiles in South Carolina.
And, as with Hurricane Sandy, hoaxed photos of sharks in the streets are also being passed around. I know it feels like you are doing good to pass on what seems like a fair warning of a dangerous situation but it’s not. Even the Weather Channel is promoting these tales.
Steen notes cottonmouths are always in the waters of S. Carolina, now is not the time to scare people about that. Just don’t touch them. You should not be around in such flooding conditions anyway. Get out.
TWC is saying do not get in the flood water, which is good advice for MANY reasons, but sharks, snakes or crocs are not the main ones.
The stories about animals may have been prompted by the very real occurrence of zoo animals that escaped during the Tbilisi, Georgia flooding.
In a time of stress and crisis, it would be better if news orgs just stuck to the facts derived from experts and did not just repeat every yahoo story posted to Facebook and Twitter. That just makes things worse.