Facts Matter: Tropical Storm Hilary didn't flood Dodger Stadium
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Facts Matter: Tropical Storm Hilary didn't flood Dodger Stadium

Jul 15, 2023

Pedestrians fight strong winds and rain on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles during Tropical Storm Hilary last Sunday. Some social media posts falsely claimed the storm left Dodgers Stadium under water. Associated Press Photo

Tropical Storm Hilary hit downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 20, making it the wettest recorded August day in the California city, with 2.48 inches of rainfall, the National Weather Service posted on X. The previous record went to Aug. 17, 1977, when the NWS recorded 2.06 inches of rain.

Following the storm, some social media users suggested flooding involved the LA Dodgers and God.

"Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium is Flooded after Mocking God!!! #GodWon," read an Aug. 21 TikTok post that included a video supposedly showing the park flooded.

But this claim doesn't hold water, according to PolitiFact. Dodger Stadium was not flooded. The video shows a reflection of water on the wet pavement.

A Dodgers spokesperson told news outlets that there was no flooding on the field, which would have been playable if the team were in town. The Dodgers, in what appeared to be a response to the false claims, posted photos of the dry field and parking lot on X, with the comment, "Dodger Stadium trending? We get it. It looks beautiful this morning."

Various social media posts, falsely claiming the stadium was flooded, reference a Pride Night event in which the Dodgers honored an LGBTQ+ group, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who satirically dress as nuns.

The images posted with the false claim are taken from a video shot by a helicopter pilot Esteban Jimenez, who told PolitiFact he used his iPhone 14 Pro Max.

"In my observation, the video primarily displays wet concrete reflected by light," he said.

As former President Donald Trump faces an indictment in Georgia, previously debunked claims about the election have resurfaced on social media, according to the Associated Press.

"Never forget. Trump was leading Georgia by 160,000 votes, then a 'water pipe burst' and 4 suitcases came out…," read one Instagram post. A different Instagram post said, after the pipe burst, "video would later show multiple people inside the arena continuing to count votes unsupervised."

But these claims are connecting two unrelated incidents that happened hours apart, the AP said, and neither show any evidence of fraud.

The water pipe incident was actually a water leak that happened around 6 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2020, Election Day, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The plumbing problem delayed the processing of absentee ballots for nearly two hours. No ballots or equipment were damaged and officials later said the leak was due to a faulty urinal.

The other incident was about 14 hours later and was perpetuated by a "false narrative about surveillance footage," the AP said. It happened when election workers mistakenly thought they were done for the night. Workers began putting ballots into boxes and under a table. When a supervisor instructed the workers to continue, they took the ballots from the boxes and resumed counting.

The secretary of state's office reviewed the surveillance video and determined it showed "normal ballot processing," Gabriel Sterling, an elections official in the Georgia secretary of state's office, tweeted in December 2020.

Wildfires in Maui earlier this month have killed more than 100 people with many more missing, and some social media posts claim those trying to help are being attacked.

A video on TikTok showed screenshots of a post, with a caption that began "#war," and claimed the U.S. Marine Corps "neutralized" a "fleeing FEMA convoy in Maui" as it was escaping the town of Lahaina for a nearby national park.

But there is no truth to this claim, according to the Associated Press. The post originated on a satirical website.

Following the tragic wildfires, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has been in Hawaii helping out and FEMA Press Secretary Jeremy Edwards told the AP the online claims are "unequivocally false."

"Unfortunately, during any disaster, rumors can often spread quickly, negatively impacting survivors who are already faced with challenging circumstances," he said.

A Facebook post of what appears to be an office prank, with just about everyone smiling and giving a thumbs up, comes with a grim headline.

"Man suffers heart attack, dies at work, coworkers gather for group selfie thinking he'd fallen asleep," reads the text over a photo of happy people surrounding a man whose head is tipped back and his mouth is open.

But the post is false, according to Reuters. Everyone in the photo is alive and the man is just sleeping.

The original post dates back to 2016 when the man, Eduard Paraschivescu, was an intern at the software engineering company Gsoft in Montreal, Canada. He later told the Huffington Post, "One of the associates noticed me sleeping. And it just went downhill from there."

Paraschivescu told Reuters in 2022 that he is the man in the photo.

"2016 was a long time ago, still get asked about it daily. Love it," he said.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at [email protected].