A Twitter video shared Wednesday appears to show the ocean in Tampa disappearing as Hurricane Ian is set to make landfall.
What was once described as a “once in a lifetime tidal event” by NBC News in 2017 during the onset of Hurricane Irma has reportedly occurred again: the ocean along Florida’s coastline is receding rapidly out to sea as Hurricane Ian draws ever closer, as seen in a video shared on Twitter.
Hurricane Irma was the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record, but the standard set by the enormous 2017 storm may be broken on Wednesday as Hurricane Ian gains strength approaching a Category 5 weather event. During the 2017 storm, meteorologists warned local residents playing on the tidal flats, typically feet under water, that the ocean would return as the eye of Hurricane Irma passed over Florida, according to NBC.
— Jordan Steele (@JordanSteele) September 28, 2022
“Storm surge is where strong winds are pushing the water towards the shore. But you can imagine that same force is pushing water away from the shoreline,” storm surge specialist for the National Hurricane Center, Jamie Rhode, told the outlet. “If the wind is blowing offshore, it blows water away from land.”
Severe storms can result in significant pressure changes, according to JSTOR. When the pressure increases, sea level can drop dramatically, resulting in what’s known as a “negative surge,” JSTOR continued. Similar effects are seen during off-shore earthquakes and tsunami events, the outlet noted. (RELATED: Hurricane Ian On Brink Of Category 5 Level As It Starts To Make Landfall)
The United States Geological Survey warned Florida residents Wednesday to expect a life-threatening storm surge throughout the western half of the state. The sheer force of the storm could potentially see the ocean breach the dunes and shore breaks, flooding much of Florida’s low-lying inland areas.