Residents of Tampa Bay are sharing photos of empty beaches as the tidewater recedes after Hurricane Ian.
These images show large areas of mudflats in the path of Hurricane Irma as it nears, with winds just shy if Category 5 hurricane strength along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
New pictures from friends in Tampa #FL as Hurricane #Ian has sucked the water out of Tampa Bay! @ScrippsNational @abcactionnews pic.twitter.com/Td1ni6oZ5M
— Ashley Glass (@ashleygTV) September 28, 2022
The strange phenomenon was also seen in Hurricane Irma five years ago when the water surged by two feet.
Strange sight. 😳 #HurricaneIan has sucked water out of the Tampa Bay. This is similar to what happened during Irma 5 years ago. pic.twitter.com/NWHiC68uGD
— John-Carlos Estrada (@Mr_JCE) September 28, 2022
Another screenshot taken from a Tampa webcam on I-275 shows how the hurricane suckers water from the coast before returning in a surge towards the beaches.
Another user captured footage of water being pulled from a nearby canal near Tampa Bay.
Video from my dad in Apollo Beach with very low water level in their canal as water is getting pushed out of Tampa Bay! #FLwx @CBS12 @TND @natwxdesk pic.twitter.com/HdvryEJITG
— Jennifer Collins 🚲 (@JenCollinsWx) September 28, 2022
Officials from Florida and weather experts warn against walking on mudflats. Potential drowning can occur if water quickly returns.
The Division of Emergency Management in Florida was quick to warn people from walking in receding areas.
“STOP: Do NOT walk into the receding waters in Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor. The water WILL return through storms surge and poses life-threatening risks,” the agency tweeted. Pictures and videos started to emerge.
🚨 STOP: Do not walk out into receding water in Tampa Bay or Charlotte Harbor – the water WILL return through storm surge and poses a life-threatening risk.
— FL Division of Emergency Management (@FLSERT) September 28, 2022
According to meteorologists, the water level has dropped by about 11 feet in the bay. Ian is expected to land in the area on Thursday with an estimated surge of 2.5 feet. There is the possibility that it could reach six feet.
-11 feet predicted. Crazy. Water being sucked out of Tampa Bay https://t.co/cJuUVASTGV
— Jeff Berardelli (@WeatherProf) September 28, 2022
Florida has more than 2.5 million residents under evacuation orders. However, anyone who hasn’t fled the storm is being told that it’s too late. Governor Ron DeSantis (R.FL) advised that people in certain areas were not safe to flee as of Wednesday.
“If you’re in one of these counties, it is not possible to evacuate safely,” DeSantis stated, “It was time to prepare for the storm and to get comfortable. Do what is necessary to be safe. You are already in dangerous conditions if you are near the storm. It will get worse quickly. Please be patient.”
In preparation for Ian, DeSantis declared a state emergency in all 67 Florida counties. On Saturday, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration in Florida to address the increasing hurricane threat.
Georgia Governor. Brian Kemp (R), issued an emergency declaration concerning the possible impact on Georgia and placed 500 National Guard troops on alert. South Carolina, a neighboring state, is also warning residents about possible storm damage.
Ian already caused extensive damage to Cuba. Tens of thousands lost power, and there were storm surges of five to seven feet along the coast.