Fake Hurricane Irma videos actually show storms that hit Mexico and Uruguay

'Fake' Hurricane Irma videos widely shared on social mediaNewsweek

Social media users have been sharing videos erroneously linked to hurricane Irma, which has wreaked havoc in Florida and across the Caribbean in recent days.

The weakening hurricane, which has now been downgraded from a Category 5 to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, has killed at least 32 people and displaced hundreds of thousands. Millions of people have also been left without electricity.

As Irma continues to wreak havoc and be a source of concern due to the "catastrophic storm surge flooding" it is expected to cause in the next 36 hours, people have taken to social media to share footage of what they believed was the devastating hurricane.

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A video appearing to show Miami International Airport during the storm has been circulating on the Internet. However, the footage – also shared by US President Donald Trump's aide Dan Scavino Jr – is related to the Tropical Storm Linda that hit Mexico in August. The airport shown in the video is Mexico City Airport.

When the Twitter account linked to the Miami International Airport said the video did not show their airport, Scavino deleted the footage and apologised.

"Thank you. It was among 100s of videos/pics I am receiving re: Irma from public. In trying to notify all, I shared - have deleted. Be safe!" he wrote in a tweet.

In another instance, users shared a video claiming to show a funnel cloud in Florida. However, it is a footage of a tornado in Chihuahua State, Mexico, from May.

A third video claiming to show Barbuda island during Hurricane Irma actually shows strong winds battering a bank in Dolores, Uruguay, in April 2016.

Social media accounts have also shared a video of a building collapse in Tibet in July, claiming it showed the island of St Maarten during Irma.

The storm, which is uprooting trees and flooding streets, is expected to slowly make its way up Florida's west coast, reaching the heavily populated Tampa-St Petersburg area on 11 September.

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There is a a storm surge warning in effect for the following areas: South Santee River southward to Jupiter Inlet; North Miami Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to the Ochlockonee River; Florida Keys; and Tampa Bay.

"A storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations," said the US National Hurricane Center.

"This is a life-threatening situation. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials."

A flooded road is seen in the Brickell neighbourhood of MiamiStephen Yang/Reuters

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