A video purportedly showing a massive supercell spinning in the sky over South Dakota is a digitally-manipulated fake. A real photograph of a supercell storm from 2015 was turned into a gif animation by continuously looping the image—making it appear as though the supercell is actually moving and swirling in the night sky.
According to Snopes, the digitally-manipulated video was shared by several Facebook pages and quickly went viral. The Newsfeed page claimed that the video was actually live and “streamed” the gif animation for four hours. The video, which was viewed by millions of people, has since been deleted. UNILAD Tech also shared the “video” last week. It was viewed over 700,000 times and shared by more than 18,000 people.
The footage, of course, is nothing more than a photo. Storm chaser and extreme weather photographer Marko Korosec, who snapped the photo of the supercell in June 2015 near Murdo, South Dakota, explains on his Facebook page: “This amazing tornadic supercell was the best I’ve seen so far at nighttime, nicely illuminated with intracloud lightning, layered and striated with rough wind power!”
Korosec has hundreds of other extreme weather photos on his Instagram, including lightning storms, shelf clouds and red sprites. He also writes on his website, “I am a worldwide storm chaser and traveller, spending a lot of my free time in the nature, observing dramatic weather events, wild landscapes, northern lights, etc. My photography is covering extreme weather events e.g. storm structure, tornadoes, lightning or snow blizzards.”
The photogenic part of severe storms. This amazing tornadic supercell was the best I've seen so far at nighttime, nicely illuminated with intracloud lightning, layered and striated with rough wind power! June 19th, 2015 near Murdo, South Dakota. #igworldclub #lonelyplanet #ourplanetdaily @nature.photography #tourtheplanet #travelingpost #master_shots #theworldshotz #magicpict #special_shots #storms #lightning #mammatus #supercell #chaser #markokorosec
The photo was later turned into a gif animation by photographer and animation artist Jonathan Wennström. Both Wennström and Korosec shared the “video” on their respective pages, earning more than 45,000 views combined.
After the “video” of the supercell went viral, Korosec shared the gif animation for a second time in order to welcome any new followers to his page. “Recognize this rotating storm?” he asked. “It’s been a great exposure of my work lately since this same video has gone completely viral on social media yesterday. This is my life, what I live for – to chase the most epic storms on Earth.”
We're in the middle of summer and we all do love cozy summer nights, especially the photographer @markokorosecnet and me so tell me about your coolest experiences that happend in summer, where you travels and so on i want to get to know you guys haha! Hope your having a great summer weekend ♥ • • • • • #lightning #storm #thunderstorm #thunder #rain #stormclouds #stormy #weather #storms #xmen #magneto #monsoon #cyclops #lightningstorm #wolverine #lightningbolt #lightningstrike #mystique #apocalypse #xmenapocalypse #quicksilver #jubilee #jeangrey #psylocke #stormchaser #hurricane #nightcrawler #professorx #gambit #thunderstorms
While the photo of the rare supercell is real, the “video” is nothing more than a continuous loop of the extreme weather image.
Have you seen the massive supercell storm “video” circulating social media? What are your thoughts on the original photo and gif animation? Sound off in the comments section below!