News and Commentary

SHARKNADO: Is Hurricane Florence Sucking Up Sharks?


No is the answer to the question in the headline.

No, Hurricane Florence is not sucking up sharks. We want to get that out there as quickly as possible to avert charges of attempted clickbait.

But here’s the thing. The story is bouncing all over the internet. And even Rush Limbaugh apparently fell for the gag.

“This appeared somewhere. ‘Florence Now Contains Sharks.’ I’m telling you,” Limbaugh said on his show Tuesday, claiming the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported the information. “Sharks are being lifted out of the Atlantic Ocean and dumped into the storm because it’s so strong. It’s sucking ’em in there — and then they’re gonna be in the waters. Of course, the only water that might contain sharks would be storm surge — it isn’t gonna be raining sharks — and that’s the predominant water source in a hurricane is rainfall.”

Later in the show, Limbaugh said, “I have a claim that a parody site is claiming that the sharks in the hurricane story is not true. I don’t believe it.”

Then there was this on Twitter, which also cited NOAA as the source.

But that “news alert” came from a fun parody site,, where you can make a post saying whatever you want (we made the one below in 60 seconds).

[[{“fid”:”37962″,”view_mode”:”default”,”fields”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:false,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:false},”type”:”media”,”field_deltas”:{“2”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:false,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:false}},”attributes”:{“class”:”media-element file-default”,”data-delta”:”2″}}]]

This isn’t the first time the shark rumors have appeared. The same sort of photo made the rounds during Hurricane Irma, claiming that sharks might fall from the sky (as they did in “Sharknado,” the 2013 TV movie in which a waterspout sucks up sharks and drops them in Los Angeles).

There were also shark reports during last year’s Hurricane Harvey in Texas. One photo posted on Twitter showed a shark swimming down a Texas highway.

But sadly, that wasn’t true, either.

“The same image has been recirculated several times over, typically localized to some big city in the United States that has just experienced a hurricane or other weather event producing heavy rains and floods. Its most recent iterations assigned it to Houston after heavy rains pounded portions of Texas over Memorial Day weekend in 2015, Daytona Beach after Hurricane Matthew approached Florida in October 2016, and Houston again in August 2017 after Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey caused massive flooding throughout the city,” the Houston Chronicle wrote.

So if you hear a story about Hurricane Florence sucking up sharks and depositing them on the Outer Banks, where they take over a Brew-Thru in Kill Devil Hills and start charging even more exorbitant prices, just don’t believe it.

But — but! — if you hear a story about a tornado sucking up sharks, you should believe that immediately and flee. Sharknados are real!