The Dodger Stadium Flooding Controversy: Separating Fact from Optical Illusion

In the wake of Tropical Storm Hilary’s impact on Los Angeles in August 2023, a flurry of social media posts and images emerged, suggesting that the iconic Dodger Stadium was submerged under floodwaters. As with any viral phenomenon, the truth often lies somewhere between reality and perception. Let’s dive into the controversy and separate fact from fiction.

The Viral Phenomenon

A series of images and videos began circulating on social media platforms, seemingly showing the Dodger Stadium parking lots submerged beneath the storm’s record-setting rainfall. These visuals quickly gained traction, drawing tens of thousands of views and sparking debates among netizens. Source

A Twitter Perspective:

A tweet from a user named @mattjones0000 provided a unique perspective on the situation:

“It may look like it is flooded, but it is probably less than an inch of water. Dodger Stadium is built on a giant hill. The asphalt there is very uneven, and looks wavy when wet. You can still see some of the parking lot lines and triangular flower beds.”

This observation underscores the importance of understanding the topography and construction of the stadium. The uneven nature of the asphalt, combined with the hill on which the stadium is built, can create optical illusions, especially when wet.

The Truth Behind the Images

Upon closer inspection and analysis by experts, it was revealed that the images were not indicative of actual flooding. Instead, they were the result of an optical illusion caused by the interplay of water and light on wet surfaces. A similar photograph had appeared in newspapers after a 2005 storm, and just like then, there was no flooding. The images were merely a reflection of light on the wet parking lots surrounding the stadium. Source

Official Statements and Clarifications

The Los Angeles Dodgers organization, in response to the viral images, confirmed that the ballpark was merely soaked and not submerged. Robert Gauthier, a Times photographer, captured new images the day after the storm, showcasing a dry stadium and parking lot. His conclusion? The viral images were likely a “reflection of light.” Source

In an era where information spreads rapidly, it’s essential to approach viral news with a discerning eye. The Dodger Stadium flooding controversy serves as a reminder of the power of perception and the importance of verifying information before drawing conclusions. While Tropical Storm Hilary did bring record rainfall to Los Angeles, the iconic Dodger Stadium stood resilient, unaffected by the floodwaters that many believed had engulfed it.