Fact Check: Video Of Tornado Forming Is NOT Real Or New York City -- VFX Edit Over Chicago's Lake Shore Drive

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Video Of Tornado Forming Is NOT Real Or New York City -- VFX Edit Over Chicago's Lake Shore Drive Visual Effects

Did a dark and menacing stormcloud rotate over the New York City harbor, threatening to form a tornado? No, that's not true: This video of turbulent cloud effects is the work of a TikTok video creator and tutor, @insanepatient2. It was posted online in 2022. Although labeled as New York City, the edited footage actually shows the fabricated stormcloud over a clip of Chicago's shoreline drive.

The VFX movie clip was originally posted to TikTok and YouTube on April 27, 2022, by @InsanePatient2. His accounts identify him as a VFX artist, freelancer and video editor, and a link connects to his courses. Although some videos such as this one are titled without disclaimers, interspersed in the collection are "How I made it" videos. Viewed in the context of his account, it is clear the videos are special effects. This video was titled:

Tornado forming over new york city CAUGHT ON CAMERA

On July 14, 2023, @wowterrifying reposted the video (archived here) on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. It was captioned without disclaimers:

The end is near...

This is what the post looked like at the time of writing:
(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Wed Jul 26 22:27:22 2023 UTC)

The screenshot below shows a Google Earth 3-D rendering of Chicago's Lake Shore Drive. The near high-rise with the notable vertical striping is the condominium complex at 990 N. Lake Shore Drive.


(Source: Google Earth Pro screenshot of Landsat/ Copernicus Imagery taken on Wed Jul 26 23:17:52 2023 UTC)

Although the VFX video predates Chicago's storm event of July 12, 2023, there really was a tornado outbreak in the Chicago area. Tornado sirens were sounded throughout the city and the following day 13 tornados were confirmed in Chicago's suburbs, according to the National Weather Service.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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