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Water Is Vanishing From Bays and Oceans Surrounding Hurricane Irma

Sept. 10, 2017
3 min read
Water Is Vanishing From Bays and Oceans Surrounding Hurricane Irma
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No matter where it's been, Hurricane Irma has created some incredible sights. From utter destruction in the Caribbean to major flooding in Cuba, Irma has already made history before making landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday morning. But, there are new visuals from the powerful storm that some have never seen before.

Irma is expected to cause a life-threatening storm surge across hundreds of miles of Florida coastline, which might lead some to wonder where all of this water is coming from. Well, these rising tides aren't coming from nowhere. Across the Bahamas and into Florida, multiple reports of disappearing oceans and bays have popped up on social media.

First, tides receded beyond sight in some shallow-water islands around the Bahamas:

In highly vulnerable Tampa, Florida, storm surge is still expected to reach up to nine feet above normally dry ground in isolated areas. However, ahead of the storm, strong winds and the nearby low-pressure system are pulling a significant amount of water out of Tampa and Hillsborough Bays.

As we learned from tsunami disasters in Southeast Asia and Japan, a suddenly-receding tide can indicate a coming tsunami. If you see this phenomenon after an earthquake, do not explore the newly dry ground and immediately flee to high ground.

But thankfully, in this case the water isn't going to surge back into these places quite as dramatically. In the Bahamas, the water has already started to gently return as the storm continues further away, though the water in Tampa will be a lot quicker to come back as the winds shift from pushing water off-shore to funneling it up the narrow bay.

At that point, with nowhere else to go, the water is expected to continue to rise as the storm's shift on Sunday morning has drastically increased the storm surge potential for Tampa. All of the areas colored in the map below are expected to be flooded, including the entirety of Davis Island [where I was born and raised].

Tampa Bay storm surge 1409 9-10-2017

Wisely, the dogs we just saw playing in the dry Hillsborough Bay have been showered and are now taking shelter ahead of the major hurricane expected to pass through overnight on Sunday.

Have you seen this phenomenon? Feel free to share photos and videos with us on Twitter or Facebook.

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Featured image by AFP/Getty Images

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