Fact Check: Cape Coral Residents NOT Painting Roofs BLUE For Laser Protection -- Blue Tarps Covered Roofs After Hurricane Ian

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Cape Coral Residents NOT Painting Roofs BLUE For Laser Protection -- Blue Tarps Covered Roofs After Hurricane Ian  Storm Damaged

Did residents of Cape Coral, Florida, take to painting their roofs blue following numerous sightings of planes utilizing "Green Laser Technology," as claimed in a post circulating on social media? No, that's not true: The satellite imagery of Cape Coral, Florida, in the post dates back to a period after September 29, 2022, when Hurricane Ian impacted the area. Through "Operation Blue Roof" the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA installed temporary plastic sheeting to protect homes with damaged shingle roofs. Eleven thousand blue-tarp roofs were installed in Cape Coral by October 24, 2022. No evidence was provided for the claimed sighting of laser-armed planes.

The claim appeared in a post published on X by @bgatesisapyscho on March 4, 2024 (archived here), which opened:

πŸš¨πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Cape Coral, Florida, US
Following numerous recorded sightings of planes utilising Green Laser Technology - Many Residents in Cape Coral have taken to painting their Roofs BLUE.
You know why.

This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of writing:
capecoralpost.jpgTwitter screenshot

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Wed Mar 6 15:11:43 2024 UTC)

This post avoids making a definitive statement about this odd claim, suggesting, "You know why." For the reader unfamiliar with the blue-roof conspiracy: After the August 8, 2023, fires in Lahaina, on Maui, Hawaii, there were images circulating that showed some blue items that had not burned. This gave rise to a baseless conspiracy that the Maui fires had been ignited by directed energy weapons (DEW) that had been tuned in such a way they would avoid burning blue things. Lead Stories published a fact check on that claim, see it here.

Blue Roofs

Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwestern Florida near Fort Meyers and Cape Coral on September 28, 2022. A Fox 4 Now video posted on YouTube on October 24, 2022 (embedded below) is titled, "11,000 Blue Roofs Installed For Homeowners Affected by Hurricane Ian." In the video, Army Corps of Engineers Col. Brian Hallberg explained there was a delay in starting while the contractor got up to full capacity. Operation Blue Roof is a program announced by FEMA in 2018, to install a temporary tarp roof at no cost to the homeowner to bridge the gap and reduce further damage to property until permanent roof repairs could be made.

The X post includes video of satellite imagery of Cape Coral, Florida, which appears to come from a navigation app. Satellite images in these apps are not always current and the date of the image is not always provided. At the time of writing, on March 6, 2024, Instantstreetview.com and the Google Earth Pro App both show Cape Coral as it appeared in late 2022 with the roofs covered with blue tarps. The online Google Earth website shows an image of Cape Coral from November 5, 2023, and by that date, virtually all of the blue tarps are gone from the roofs. Blue colors still stand out in the Cape Coral neighborhoods, but in swimming pools.

The Google Earth Pro app has a feature where historic satellite imagery can be compared. In the composite image below the same group of Cape Coral houses from before Hurricane Ian, imaged on June 5, 2022 (top), and after the storm imaged on November 18, 2022 (bottom) with "Operation Blue Roof" tarps installed can be seen.


(Image source: Lead Stories composite image with Google Earth Pro and Maxar Technologies screenshots taken on Wed Mar 06 18:33:35 2024 UTC)

Lead Stories has additional fact check articles on claims about directed energy weapons here.

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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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