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I saw the most bizarre video this morning - it was a video that purported to "prove" that hurricanes Katia, Irma, and Jose don't exist, and are being "manufactured" by the government. I'm not sure exactly how this is supposed to work - maybe they use mind-control techniques to convince people that their homes have been destroyed by a massive hurricane. Or maybe everyone in the Caribbean islands is on the payroll - they're being paid to stand in front of cameras and say that they've been hit by a hurricane, and..oh...wait...the background shows demolished houses. So they're being paid to demolish their own houses and say it was a hurricane that did it. I wonder how much money it would take to pay off an entire caribbean island (just one - never mind that there are several of them!).

The "evidence" for the video's claim was a looped image from weather.gov. I've included a still of the animation that I captured this morning. You can click it to see a larger version.

This is a looped animation from weather.gov. It's their "CONUS" animation. It is clear that Hurricane Katia doesn't exist, because - look at the coast of Mexico - there's nothing there!

There are two things about this map that I'd like to point out.

  1. The video author probably should have asked the question "What does CONUS stand for?" The answer is: "Continental U.S." In other words, this is a map of U.S. states. Not Mexico, not the Caribbean.
  2. Even if you didn't realize that CONUS stood for "Continental U.S.", you probably should have asked yourself, "Why does Mexico have no weather whatsoever?" Amazing, isn't it, how only the United States gets "weather" - once you cross over the border into Mexico, weather ceases to exist.

This is terribly disturbing. There are people in the paths of these hurricanes who need to not be led by conspiracy theorists who have no idea what they're talking about. In the last week, I've seen all of the following:

  1. The hurricanes are being manufactured by the government
  2. The hurricanes don't exist at all
  3. The hurricanes are no big deal - the media is being overly dramatic to "promote global warming." As a note on this:  If someone tells you the hurricanes are no big deal, and then evacuate the state, but can't bring themselves to say, "I'm sorry, I was wrong - I'm taking this hurricane seriously enough that I'm evacuating, and you should take it seriously too," don't you think it's time to start listening to someone else?
  4. Hurricane Irma is a Category 7 hurricane. Hurricanes are rated on a 5 category scale. There has been some discussion (which has gone nowhere at this point) or increasing it to a 6 category scale, but category seven not only doesn't exist - it isn't even being discussed.
  5. Hurricane Irma is on a direct path to Houston. This was a popular "news" item floating around facebook while Irma was still far out in the Atlantic. There were no hurricane models that were suggesting a Houston landfall, so this was 100% someone's twisted fantasy.
  6. Hurricane Jose is on a direct path to New England. This popular "news" is apparently based on a weather image (perhaps photoshopped?) which was posted by a twitter user without any documented reference. While it is true that Jose is currently still active and expected to regain hurricane status, and could head north, it is irresponsible to base your information entirely around a random twitter user's random undocumented image. 
  7. Footage from previous hurricanes being passed off as Irma footage. You might think this is harmless fun, but it's not. For a conspiracy theorist, all it takes is one piece of fake footage to prove that all the footage is fake (I know - that's about as irrational as saying "I saw a painting once, so now I know that nothing is real." But nobody said rationality and conspiracy theories go hand-in-hand). So when you post faked footage, you are helping a conspiracy theorist convince some poor, gullible soul that the hurricane threatening his neighborhood is a hoax.

Folks, if you're in the path of a hurricane, stop watching you tube videos, twitter, facebook memes, and lazy local websites that are more interested in clicks than facts. Tune in to what your local emergency officials are telling you. This is not a joke.

The preceding has been a public service announcement from a very cranky and irate Professor Puzzler, who wants people to be safe. Thank you.

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