Good Lord Willin' and the Creek Don't Ride

Photo of a roller coaster submerged by floodwaters was taken in 2009, not 2016.

Claim: A photograph depicts a Six Flags roller coaster under floodwaters in January 2016.


WHAT'S TRUE: The image was real, captured in 2009 in Atlanta.

WHAT'S FALSE: The image was taken in late 2015 or early 2016; the image depicted a Six Flags in Missouri.

Example: [Collected via e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook, january 2015]

It was said that this is Six Flags over Ga. Don't remember them getting this much rain.

Flooding at Six flags in Ga!

Posted by Wayne Webb on Saturday, January 2, 2016

Six Flags over Georgia last week. JUS SAYN

Posted by Bonds Sherman on Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Roller Coaster at Six Flags St Louis covered by floodwaters

Posted by Ben Begley on Friday, January 1, 2016

Origin:In January 2016, social media users began sharing the above-reproduced photograph alongside claims that it depicted recent flooding at Six Flags Over Georgia, or, alternately, Six Flags Over St. Louis.

The photograph was real, but the claim was inaccurate. The images were part of a set published on 23 September 2009, in a Daily Mail article titled "Six Flags over Georgia theme park submerged in Atlanta floods." A photo caption and article text reported:

The upper part of the Six Flags Over Georgia's main rollercoaster is visible through the flood waters of the Chattahoochee River. The Scream Machine ride, once the tallest rollercoaster in the world, is all that remains visible of the popular tourist attraction after waters from the nearby Chattahoochee River in Atlanta flooded into the park.

January 2016 iterations hinged on contemporaneous flooding events in several states; among those affected were Georgia, Missouri, and Illinois:

A rare winter flood that brought record or near-milestone crests along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, claiming at least 25 lives in Missouri and Illinois, has largely subsided in the region. However, the Illinois River continues to rise in some Illinois stretches.

The National Weather Service says that's the amount that deluged much of Missouri and portions of Illinois over a three-day period starting Dec. 26. The pounding proved epic in some areas: The 11.43 inches that pummeled Springfield, Missouri, in December broke the city's 1895 record for precipitation for that month. Hydrologists with the weather service say such drenches occur in the U.S. only every 100 to 300 years.

While the regions cited in various versions of the rumor were affected by flooding, Six Flags Over Georgia reported no adverse events on their Twitter feed (but invited followers to visit for holiday events):

Had the park been underwater, potential visitors likely would have been informed via the same means. Six Flags Over St. Louis repudiated the rumor via their Twitter feed:

So while Atlanta, Georgia and St. Louis, Missouri did experience flooding in December 2015 and January 2016, Six Flags parks were not affected by the adverse weather as of January 2016. Moreover, the circulating image definitively dated to flooding that occurred in September 2009.

Last updated: 05 January 2016

Originally published: 05 January 2016

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