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Texas Oil Rig Twister

Netlore Archive: Dramatic image circulating via email purportedly captures a massive nighttime tornado illuminated by lightning not far from an oil rig near Ft. Stockton, Texas.

Description: Viral image / Hoax
Circulating since: April 2008 (this version)
Status: FAKE (see details below)

Example:
Email contributed by Ray H., May 7, 2008:

Fwd: Oil Rig Picture - TX - Apr.3.2008 TEXAS TORNADO

When the lightning flashes, this is not what you want to see. Taken Thursday night, April 3, 2008.
Lariat # 2 – Sandridge Energy
South of Ft Stockton , TX


CAPTION: When the lightning flashes, this is not what you want to see. Taken Thursday night, April 3, 2008. Lariat #2 – Sandridge Energy - South of Ft Stockton, TX
Click to Enlarge


Analysis: The above image was manipulated to combine two different photos, one of an oil rig (origin unknown), the other of a nighttime waterspout illuminated by a lightning stroke over Lake Okeechobee, Florida, taken by amateur photographer Fred Smith on June 15, 1993 (see original).

The latter has circulated for several years along with various false descriptions, including one claiming the twister was photographed near The Villages, Florida in 2007, and another claiming the picture was taken in Sedalia, Missouri in March 2006. Most recently it was incorrectly identified as a tornado that touched down in Pisgah, Alabama in February 2008.

Where will it (not) strike next?

Sources and further reading:

Fred's Lightning / Tornado Photo
WeatherMatrix Blog, 26 April 2006

Weather Photos: Fact or Fiction
WeatherMatrix Blog, 25 April 2006

False Picture of Pisgah Tornado Circulating
WHNT-TV News (Huntsville, Alabama), 13 February 2008

Last updated: 06/02/14

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