Hurricane Irma turned Miami’s bustling downtown financial district into a scene out of a disaster movie meets “A River Runs Through It.”
Images of Brickell Avenue spread like wildfire all over the Internet, freaking out people who weren’t even in Florida, dealing with the drama.
Look closely. You may have seen some debris.
But calm down, there were no sharks.
So there have many some Fins — as in Miami Dolphins fans watching the chaos from their balconies. But there were NO ACTUAL fins. As in the kind that belong to some of the ocean’s scariest predators.
A social media hoax claims to show sharks caught up in the hurricane, supposedly ready to cause a real-life Sharknado.
A video was posted by ViralVideoLab on Monday that freaked a lot of people out: “I was filming these three objects floating in a flooded street in Miami looking like fins of sharks. Please write in the comments if you think it´s possible that these are real sharks.”
The images were fake, of course (or maybe traffic cones), but a website also posted a story about Miami being the scene of a real life “Sharknado,” a series of Sy Fy disaster movies starring Ian Ziering and Tara Reid, intrepid souls who follow tornadoes spinning with sharks (five movies so far, with one filmed in Orlando).
Some video viewers were taken in.
“The same thing has happened in Brisbane Australia twice. Sharks have even ended up getting trapped in the ponds of a golf course in Brisbane. YouTube it if you don’t believe me the golf course still has the sharks in their pond and the workers feed them daily.”
”It was a Hurricane people....I know sharks don’t usually swim in packs..but during natural disasters, where they’re displaced, I doubt they follow the F---ING RULES!!!” What about the Sharks that killed that surfer in California about 3 years ago, the footage showed two sets of fins in the wave during the attack?? It’s possible people!!!”
We checked out what FEMA had to say. There’s a web page for fact checking Hurricane Irma social media rumors. Sharks are not on the list.
Let’s break it down, though, why a sharknado situation is just not possible.
Time reports that fish are sensitive to barometric pressure, which drops when a hurricane crashes througth. Research shows sharks can sense the change in pressure from a storm and will go to deeper water where it’s safer, according to Chris Lowe, director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach.
“Most animals will get nature’s alerts and leave,” Lowe says. “Even animals that aren’t as sensitive to the changes in barometric pressure will likely leave for deeper water when they see other animals do so.”