A photo circulating online that purports to show flooding at one of Houston’s major airports after Hurricane Harvey is actually a photo illustration created to show the effects of sea-level rise in New York City.
Several tweets on Aug. 28, 2017, showed waterlogged passenger jets flooded up to their fuselages.
"There appears to be a flooding problem at #HOUSTONairport here at #heathrow we would just squeegee of the runway," London-based tweeter @v7dge wrote.
"#Houston airport looks now more like a port. Terrible situation for the citizens and society. Hope they can recover fast!" wrote another Twitter user with the handle @lauslahti.
A user in Karachi, Pakistan, called @MadniSwagger posted, "Ohohoho Houston airport."
None of the users identified whether the image was supposed to show Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport or the smaller William P. Hobby Airport, but it’s neither. The image is a fake.
While it does show an airport — New York’s LaGuardia Airport in Queens — it’s actually a digitally manipulated photo that was used to show the effects of sea-level rise. A 2013 article on ClimateCentral.org credited the image to an artist named Nickolay Lamm, saying it was made to illustrate what a 25-foot increase in sea level would look like at LaGuardia. (There are other images showing the change at 5 feet and 12 feet.)
Both of Houston’s major airports were shut down by the storm, canceling thousands of flights over several days. Bush and Hobby airports were both expected to resume flights by Aug. 29.
An Aug. 27 tweet from Houston’s ABC affiliate said, "[email protected] says about 500 people are trapped. A friend shared these pics of a flooded runway and street with @FotiABC13 #HoustonFlood" and included photos.
Other tweets, including this one from the local CBS affiliate on Aug. 26, showed flooding near Bush.
But the photograph popping up across the Internet isn’t a true representation of the disaster. We rate it Pants on Fire!