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Hoax Warning – 300km Winds for Johannesburg Region This Weekend

by Brett M. Christensen


Email forward warns that winds of up to 300 kilometres per hour are set to strike the Johannesburg region this weekend.

Brief Analysis

The claims in the message are false. No such storm is expected. The South African Weather Service has dismissed the warning as a hoax.


Breaking News Please notify your friends and families!!

BREAKING NEWS Gail force winds of up to 300km are expected for the Johannesburg region during the course of the weekend. This bad weather that is approaching will reach Johannesburg region later this afternoon approaching from the west rand and heading towards the east rand with possibilities of stronger tornado’s experienced last weekend. Please make sure that you get home early as the roads are going to be chaotic due to the weather. Please make sure you and your loved ones are in doors when the wind starts to pick up, please make sure that pets are indoors as well.

Please see the photo attached from HAARP weather institute.

Hurricane Image

This satelite image was taken 12hours ago by the HAARP weather monitoring satelite and the weather system is fast approaching Gauteng Province.


Detailed Analysis

According to a widely circulated warning email, which bills itself as “breaking news”, a huge tornado with “gail force” winds of up to 300 kilometres per hour is set to hit the Johannesburg region of South Africa “during the course of the weekend”. The email includes a photograph of a massive weather system which it claims was supplied by the “HAARP weather institute”.
However, the claims in the supposed warning are utter nonsense and should be disregarded. No such storm is currently approaching Johannesburg. The South African Weather Service has publicly dismissed the warning as a hoax, noting on its website:

eMail Hoax: Please ignore silly emails about tornadoes, even though they may have Media24 graphics included

Moreover, the supposedly current photograph of the “tornado” is certainly not recent. In fact, it was first published on various websites back in 2008. And, of course, the weather system shown in the image is not a tornado at all, but rather a hurricane. Several sources identify the storm in the image as Hurricane Gustav, an Atlantic hurricane that caused series damage in August and September 2008.

The poor spelling in the message also suggests that it is certainly not an official news story. Even a sloppily constructed weather warning would not refer to strong winds as “gail force” rather than “gale force”. Nor would such a warning misidentify a hurricane as a tornado.

Alas, the “warning” does not include a specific date but instead refers vaguely to “this afternoon” and “during the course of the weekend”. Unfortunately, this lack of a specific date means that the hoax may continue to circulate for weeks or months to come.

If you receive this false warning, please do not send it on to others. And please, let the sender know that the message is a hoax.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,