Summary of eRumor:
A photo that began circulating on August 28, 2017, shows Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
A computer simulation of what Laguardia Airport in New York would have looked like if Superstorm Sandy struck at high tide was misidentified as flooding at Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.
And it appears that the photo wasn’t mistakenly misidentified. Photo editing software was used to make the flood waters appear even higher, completely submerging all but the tail fin of several 747 airplanes on the tarmac. The original computer simulation showed the high water mark just below wing level of the closest 747:
The original photo was produced after a 2013 federal climate change assessment identified a dozen U.S. airports that were especially vulnerable to flooding related to rising sea levels. All three of New York’s airports, including Laguardia, appeared on the list — but not Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport or George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
The computer simulation of the flooded airport was produced by the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. It shows what flooding at Laguardia would have looked life if Superstorm Sandy struck at high tide — just nine hours earlier — which would have caused flood waters to surge 12 feet deep.
The photo was misidentified after commercial flights were grounded at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) on August 29. However, the airports were closed because surrounding roads flooded, not because of flooding at the airports themselves, according to Houston Airports public alert:
Commercial operations have ceased at both IAH and HOU until further notice due to severe weather. No inbound or outbound flights from either airport at this time. For flight details, rescheduling and waivers, please contact your air carrier.
At this time, there has been no flooding at the ecopark lots or the terminal parking garages. We are actively monitoring these properties.
Given all that, we’re calling claims about flooding at Houston’s airports “fiction.”
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