The National Weather Service had to warn people on Twitter to keep an eye out for fake forecasts after one has gone viral.
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.
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.
However, it's not yet known if the storm system will make landfall in the US or elsewhere.
Meteorologists on Twitter warned against the hoax in droves, asking people not to share it.
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.
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.
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.
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