Fake News: Rush Limbaugh Shares Story About Hurricane Florence Sweeping Up Sharks

Rush Limbaugh doesn't think Hurricane Florence will be as destructive as predicted. But he may believe, according to a story shared on Media Matters, that the storm is sucking up sharks as it churns toward the East Coast. 

On his program Tuesday, the radio host and conspiracy theorist talked about a fake news article that has been circulating online.

"This appeared somewhere. 'Florence Now Contains Sharks.' I’m telling you," he said, claiming that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had reported the information. "Sharks are being lifted out of the Atlantic Ocean and dumped into the storm because it’s so strong. It’s sucking ’em in there—and then they’re gonna be in the waters. Of course, the only water that might contain sharks would be storm surge—it isn’t gonna be raining sharks—and that’s the predominant water source in a hurricane is rainfall." 

Limbaugh later brushed off concerns the story was false, saying, "I have a claim that a parody site is claiming that the sharks in the hurricane story is not true. I don’t believe it."

RTR1ESGV Radio show host Rush Limbaugh speaks at a forum hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington on June 23, 2006. During a recent radio show, Limbaugh discussed a fake news story about Hurricane Florence sweeping up sharks. REUTERS/Micah Walter

The commentator said that Florence, which is headed toward the Carolinas, would cause mudslides and landslides and leave "cars rolling in the water in front of your house."

But Limbaugh also reiterated his belief that hurricanes were being politicized.

"Hurricanes and hurricane forecasting is much like much else that the left has gotten its hands on, and they politicize these things. For those of you asking, 'What’s the politics of a hurricane?' Climate change is the politics of hurricanes. The forecast and the destruction potential doom and gloom is all to heighten the belief in climate change. My experience is that the storms are bad; you don’t want to get into arguments over degrees," he said.

After the statements drew national media coverage, he said that his comments had been taken out of context. The Washington Post noted Limbaugh similarly claimed last year that predictions about Hurricane Irma were exaggerated. 

While NOAA did not share information about flying sharks, the agency has warned that tropical cyclones will likely be aggravated by anthropogenic climate change.

"There are better than even odds that anthropogenic warming over the next century will lead to an increase in the occurrence of very intense tropical cyclones globally...despite a likely decrease (or little change) in the global numbers of all tropical cyclones," said the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

The height of storm surges and rainfall during cyclones are also projected to increase as global warming continues.

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