FALSE: Photo of Japan’s stormy skies ‘during Typhoon Hagibis’

FALSE: Photo of Japan’s stormy skies ‘during Typhoon Hagibis’
A photo of an ominous-looking cloud supposedly taken in typhoon-hit Japan is actually from the United States

Claim: Facebook page Bob Ong Quotes posted an ominous photo of stormy skies over a beach and captioned it “#PrayForJapan.”

Bob Ong Quotes posted the photo last Saturday, October 12, when Typhoon Hagibis claimed its first casualty in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, even before making landfall.

Facebook Claim Check, the social network’s tool that identifies potentially dubious posts, flagged the post for fact checking.

Rappler spotted 3 similar posts of the photo using CrowdTangle. The earliest post was shared last Friday, October 11, in Facebook group Typhoon Hagupit Advisory & Update with the caption: “Typhoon Hagibis Photo taken October 11 at 4pm in Okinawa, Japan #prayforjapan #hagibis.”

The combined Facebook engagements of these posts as of writing have reached over 4,100 shares, 20,100 reactions, and 900 comments.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: A reverse image search of the photo shared by Bob Ong Quotes shows that the original photo was taken in Rehoboth Beach in Delaware in the United States. The Washington Post published an article about it on August 26 this year.

The Washington Post explained that the photo shows a shelf cloud, which usually indicates a looming storm. “If you see a shelf cloud, it’s time to dash. After all, they’re the leading edge of strong to damaging wind gusts,” wrote Matthew Cappucci of The Washington Post.

Though the photo was not taken in Japan, the country did suffer from the powerful Typhoon Hagibis. Nearly 80 people have been confirmed dead as of Thursday, October 17.

The typhoon also destroyed properties and triggered landslides and flooding. Look here for actual photos of Japan after the onslaught of Typhoon Hagibis. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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