Contrary to popular belief, this weekend’s tropical storm did not transform Dodger Stadium into a forlorn island surrounded by floodwaters.
Was this a frightening scene of a landmark imperiled or just a trick of the eye?
The Times did a little digging.
It turns out a similar photograph appeared in the newspaper after a 2005 storm. There wasn’t flooding then, and there wasn’t any this time. It was an optical illusion, the interplay of water and light on a wet surface.
“Reflection of light,” said Times photographer Robert Gauthier, who captured new images on Monday. “That’s what it seems like.”
Still pictures and video of the inundated stadium drew tens of thousands of views on social media. Amid a wet, wild and historically abnormal weekend — which also included an earthquake — it isn’t surprising that people would be ready to believe anything.
After Hurricane Irene in 2011, photos began appearing online that purported to feature sharks swimming in flooded urban areas. Though the Associated Press later vouched for cellphone video of a juvenile shark thrashing around a Florida backyard during Hurricane Ian in 2022, most other “hurricane shark” images over the years have been debunked.
As for Tropical Storm Hilary turning parking lots into a sea, a Dodgers spokesman confirmed the ballpark was merely soaked, not sunk.
When Gauthier showed up on Monday morning, he saw “a postcard day” at the stadium. And the parking lot?
“Dry as a bone.”
Read more: Full coverage of Hilary
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.