Disaster Movie Stills Masquerade as Hurricane Sandy on Social Media

Lady Liberty Fake Hurrican Sandy - P 2012

Lady Liberty Fake Hurrican Sandy - P 2012

Photos of 50-foot waves pounding Lady Liberty are actually shots from "The Day After Tomorrow."

The famous landmarks of New York City have always proven irresistible targets to disaster filmmakers, but now that a true disaster is about to befall the region  -- in the form of historic Hurricane Sandy -- lines between fact and fiction are blurring.

Photos of the Statue of Liberty withstanding the crashing force of 50-foot waves have begun to circulate throughout Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other popular social media, leading the easily duped to post and re-post the disturbing images.

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In one widely circulated image, the NY1 local news logo has been superimposed in the lower left corner, alongside a chyron readings "LIVE CAM 12:12 PM," making it seem as if the images are being broadcast on a reputable news channel.

It's a terrifying image -- but it's also a computer-generated one, plucked from The Day After Tomorrow, the 2004 blockbuster thriller from disaster maestro Roland Emmerich about the catastrophic effects of global warming on the planet.

Weather-watchers searching out authentic images of Sandy's force won't have much longer to wait, however. Photographed stretches of a flooded Atlantic City, N.J., have already given us a glimpse of the destruction to come: the city's director of emergency management calls it the worst storm the city has ever seen.

A camera positioned atop the famous monument offers a Liberty-eye's-view of the storm's effects on the shores of Ellis Island. So far, she's wet, but no giant waves are in sight.

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The storm is expected to make landfall on Monday night, and currently has maximum sustained winds of 90 mph, up 15 mph since last night. The winds extend 175 miles from its center, making it as broad a hurricane as to ever hit the country. Surges as high as 11 feet will hit cities from Delaware to Connecticut.

The storm has resulted in the cancellation of dozens of theater performances and TV show tapings in New York City, including the first night of Jimmy Kimmel's much-hyped return to Brooklyn.

Twitter: @SethAbramovitch

Email: seth.abramovitch@thr.com