Video shows storm over the US in 2018, not Pakistan in 2022

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After monsoon rains battered Pakistan in July 2022, social media posts shared a video they claimed shows a microburst over the South Asian nation's largest city Karachi. But the video -- viewed tens of thousands of times -- has been shared in a false context. It actually shows a microburst over the US state of Arizona in 2018.

The 24-second clip was shared here on Facebook on July 11, 2022, where it has been viewed more than 60,000 times.

"Microburst view of Karachi today," reads the Urdu-language caption.

Microbursts are localised columns of sinking air that form inside thunderstorms.

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on July 19, 2022


The video circulated online as monsoon rains flooded the Pakistani city of Karachi, causing several deaths due to electrocution and infrastructure collapse, local outlet Geo News reported on July 11, 2022.

AFP published photos of Karachi commuters wading through floodwaters here and here on the same day. 

Pakistan's monsoon season -- which typically lasts from June to September -- has killed more than 180 people across the country this year as downpours continue to threaten poorly built homes and damage infrastructure.

The video was viewed more than 56,000 times in other Facebook posts here, here, here and here; and on Twitter here, here, here and here.

However, the video has been shared in a false context.

US microburst

A reverse image search, followed by a keyword search, found the same video was posted here on the YouTube channel of US-based photographer Kyle Benne on July 21, 2019.

"A time lapse of multiple microbursts falling just north of Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona on August 23, 2018," the video's description reads.

Benne confirmed to AFP he filmed the video in Phoenix in 2018.

"I shot it in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, on August 23, 2018," he said.

He also posted the YouTube video on his website here.

Below is a screenshot comparison between the video in the misleading post (left) and the genuine YouTube video (right): 

Screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the genuine YouTube video (right)

Benne took a photo that matched scenes from the video, published here by UK photo agency Alamy.

It is titled: "Microburst over Phoenix, Arizona".

According to the description, the photo was also taken on August 23, 2018.

AFP has debunked other misinformation related to the monsoon in Pakistan this year here and here.