Fake pictures of snow in Islamabad got viral
It did not snow in Islamabad in January 2023
Claim: Pictures in various posts claim to show recent snowfall in Islamabad.
Fact: There has not been any snowfall in Islamabad in December 2022 or January 2023.
On 1 January 2023, images surfaced on social media claiming that Islamabad received snowfall for the first time in history. Soch Fact Check also received the clip on WhatsApp the same day.
The image showing snowfall in Islamabad immediately went viral, with some praising God for a miracle, and others terming it a sign of the end of times.
In these images, the mountains around Islamabad were also covered with snow.
Fact or Fiction?
Islamabad has been experiencing cold weather, with chilly breezes and heavy rainfall. However, monthly records by weather forecasting service AccuWeather clearly show the temperature did not go sub-zero on 1 January 2023 and stayed between a low of 17°C and a high of 29°C, meaning that it was almost impossible to snow.
Furthermore, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said the video clip “is fake”, according to the English-language Pakistani media outlet, Pakistani Gazette.
Soch Fact Check also came across two videos from individuals who spoke live from Islamabad — including Pakistan-based vlogger with a verified YouTube account, Abdul Malik Fareed — and showed no snowfall. Hussein Al-Qahtani — the spokesperson for the National Center for Meteorology of Pakistan — has also refuted the claim, saying the video was “incorrect and processed with additional effects”.
Radio Pakistan’s official Twitter account tweeted on 11 January 2023, “Rain with snow is likely in Islamabad, Pothohar region, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, northern/western Balochistan and Kashmir during the next twelve hours.” It is possible that this tweet was misinterpreted to create this fake news.
Pakistan’s “largest platform” for weather updates and forecasts, @PakistanWeather, said the occurrence was improbable, “knowing that the temperature in Islamabad today reached 30 degrees Celsius, and it is not climatically prepared for snowfall”. The news and communications account of the region of Islamabad, @islamabadregion, also debunked the viral clip.
Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 20-day period since 1 January 2023 to 19 January 2023 using the following search terms:
- “Snow” “islamabad”
We found posts on Facebook here, here and here. We also found a misleading post on Instagram here.
Conclusion: It has not snowed in Islamabad in January 2023 so far.