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Circulating Storm Photographs Claim to Show Hurricane Katrina

by Brett M. Christensen

This story was first published on January 10, 2008


Message that includes a series of spectacular storm photographs claims that they depict the beginning of Hurricane Katrina.

Brief Analysis

False – Images are genuine, but only the last is associated with Katrina.



These pictures were taken by a man in Magee, MS where the eye of the storm passed through – what an experience. Magee is 150 miles North of Waveland, Mississippi where the Hurricane made land fall. Worth passing on!!!

The dance with Katrina, part of her beauty as she left destruction on her exit. They are remarkably dramatic.

The following picture was taken from the third story balcony of Saint Stanislaus College located next door to Our Lady of the Gulf church in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi on the morning of August 29th, 2005. This is believed to be the initial tidal wave from Hurricane Katrina. The tidal wave was approximately 35 to 40 feet high. When it slammed into the beach front communities of Bay Saint Louis and Waveland Mississippi to completely destroy 99% of every structure along the beach for 9 miles and over a mile inland. The destruction only started there. The flooding that continued! inland destroyed the contents of all but 35 homes in these two communities of approximately 14,000 people.
Katrinia Flood

Can you imagine holding your camera steady enough to take these photos.


Detailed Analysis

According to the description that accompanies this series of six fabulous storm photographs, they show Hurricane Katrina as it approached the town of Magee, Mississippi in August 2005. 
The message also claims that a seventh photograph shows a tidal wave generated by Katrina just before it inundated the coastline at Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. Although the photographs are all genuine, the accompanying description is completely untrue.

The six photographs in the first part of the message do not depict Hurricane Katrina nor were they taken in Mississippi. These compelling storm photographs were taken by storm chaser Mike Hollingshead, in the American states of Nebraska and Kansas during 2004. The photographs show several storms that occurred at different times in different areas. None of the images depicts an approaching hurricane.

All of the images and many more are available on Extreme Instability, Mike Hollingshead’s website. The following list provides details about each of the six storm photographs in turn. Click the corresponding caption to view the image in its original context on Extreme Instability.

While the seventh photograph in the message is actually related to Hurricane Katrina, it does not depict a tidal wave as described nor was it taken in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. Bay Saint Louis, including Saint Stanislaus College, was indeed devastated by a massive storm tide during Katrina, but the photograph does not show that event. In fact, the picture shows a storm surge generated by Katrina overflowing a levee near the Paris Road bridge in New Orleans. According to an article on WWLTV.com, the storm surge photograph was taken from a nearby power plant by manager, Don McClosky.

The photograph can be seen in its original context on WWLTV.com.

An in-depth analysis of the photograph on another website notes:

When most people first see this photo, They assume that they are looking a large, tsunami-like wave, surging down the MRGO towards St. Bernard. However, if you look closely at the picture, you can see that this is clearly not the case. What we are seeing here is water overflowing the north levee of the MRGO/Intra-coastal canal, directly under the Paris Road bridge.

The website also features other photographs taken in the same location after the storm has passed. They clearly reveal that the “tidal wave” photograph was indeed taken in New Orleans, not Bay Saint Louis or elsewhere.

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,