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The National Weather Service Is Warning People To Watch Out For Fake Forecasts

Meteorologists say it's not yet known if Hurricane Irma will impact the US.

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The National Weather Service had to warn people on Twitter to keep an eye out for fake forecasts after one has gone viral.

Keep your eyes out for fake forecasts. THIS is what an official NOAA advisory looks like. Note: forecast only goes… https://t.co/VmS8qsCjVR

A Facebook post by Joe Maley used a fake map to illustrate Hurricane Irma — and it went viral. As of Friday afternoon, the post was shared almost 37,000 times.

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BuzzFeed News reached out to Maley to ask about the post, but received no response. It was deleted shortly after.

The hoax was brought on by meteorologists keeping a watchful eye on Hurricane Irma, which has been gaining strength as it churns in the Atlantic.

Hurricane Irma strengthens into a Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds in the eastern Atlantic… https://t.co/GJt4j7zmmb

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However, it's not yet known if the storm system will make landfall in the US or elsewhere.

#Irma is forecast to remain over the tropical Atlantic Ocean as a major hurricane through early Wednesday… https://t.co/nFfdJQfRgX

Meteorologists on Twitter warned against the hoax in droves, asking people not to share it.

Seeing way too many bogus posts on FB about Hurricane Irma. NOBODY knows the final destination now, and nobody will… https://t.co/AL81zqEerz

And weather reporter Dennis Mersereau pointed out it's illegal to publish a false weather report. It's punishable by a fine or up to 90 days in jail.

It's a federal crime to publish a hoax forecast or warning that makes it look like it was issued by the NWS or NOAA… https://t.co/ucc68AADPH

The Capital Weather Gang tweeted the verified outlook for Irma and the National Weather Service warned that forecasts can only project up to five days in advance.

Good advice. Here's our outlook on #Irma: https://t.co/tWtzzj3nAN https://t.co/kz9J4bKGnC

Jane Lytvynenko is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada. PGP fingerprint: A088 89E6 2500 AD3C 8081 BAFB 23BA 21F3 81E0 101C.

Contact Jane Lytvynenko at jane.lytvynenko@buzzfeed.com.

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