Stand up for the facts!
Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
- Hurricane Ian is not a man-made, artificially controlled storm.
Millions of people were tracking Hurricane Ian as it made its way across Florida. But one Instagram user told his followers not to watch the news about the storm, which he claimed had been "controlled."
"Supposedly, we have this big hurricane coming to Florida, right?" he said in a Sept. 27 video. "I want to let you know that all weather is artificially controlled. Chemtrails, cloud seeding, tornadoes, hurricanes."
He said that hurricanes could be created anywhere, and referenced an Alaska research program that uses radio transmitters to study the atmosphere. The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, also called HAARP, is the target of a baseless QAnon conspiracy theory that claims that it’s actually an instrument of the government, used to create weather and chemtrails.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
There is no evidence that Hurricane Ian was artificially concocted. The storm barrelled through Cuba and made landfall in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane on Sept. 28.
Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences and the director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies at Texas A&M University, said he’s not quite sure how to respond to such a claim.
"We cannot create hurricanes nor can we throw them anywhere we want to," Dessler said. "Hurricanes are not manifestations of our thoughts. If we didn’t believe in Hurricane Ian, it would still pummel the west coast of Florida."
Humans can affect the weather, but they can’t direct it, Dessler said.
"By adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and causing the climate to warm, we are in fact turbocharging weather events to the detriment of humanity. But this is quite different from ‘controlling’ the weather and I’m sure it was not what he was referring to," Dessler said.
The claim that weather is artificially controlled is ridiculous. We rate it Pants on Fire!
PolitiFact reporter Jeff Cercone contributed to this report.
Instagram post, Sept. 27, 2022
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, HAARP: High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program. Accessed Sept. 28, 2022
France 24, ‘Controlling the weather’?: The limitations of the HAARP conspiracy theory, May 5, 2021
PolitiFact, No, the snow isn’t government-generated. This is what a snowball does when you take a lighter to it. Feb. 19, 2021
Tampa Bay Times, Wednesday live updates: Hurricane Ian arrives bringing devastating winds, storm surge, Sept. 28, 2022
PolitiFact, Claim that U.S. government is spraying ‘toxic brew of chemicals’ from airplanes is a conspiracy, Feb. 2, 2022
Carnegie Science, "Chemtrails" not real, say leading atmospheric science experts, Aug. 12, 2016
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.