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Hurricane Katrina Photos - Analysis


Part 1: Photos & Text
Part 2: More Photos
Part 3: More Photos
Part 4: More Photos

THE PRECEDING images are dramatic and real, but mislabeled. They are not photos of Hurricane Katrina, nor is this the first time they have circulated under false pretenses. In May 2005, several months before Katrina struck, they made the rounds labeled as "a storm near Bunbury [Australia]." In July and August they were forwarded as pictures of storms in various parts of Canada.

I contacted storm chaser and photographer Mike Hollingshead, to whom the photos have been attributed, and he confirmed taking them. (Most can be found via this page on his website). They actually document various supercell thunderstorms, tornadoes, and other meteorological phenomena Hollingshead observed in 2004.

Previous hurricanes have generated similar "photographic urban legends," as when emails circulated in the aftermath of Hurricane Lili in 2002 and Hurricane Isabel in 2003 featured mislabeled and/or doctored images purporting to document those storms.


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Sources and further reading:

Mike Hollingshead, Storm Chaser
Personal profile of the photographer

Mike Hollingshead: 2004 Photos
Where the originals of most of the preceding images can be found

Storm Near Bunbury?
From the Museum of Hoaxes, the same images as circulated in May 2005

Hurricane Katrina
CNN News coverage

Hurricane Katrina - Complete Coverage
News and resources from About


Last updated: 09/09/05


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The Urban Legends Top 25

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