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Video: Tampa beach sucked away by Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Michael as it heads for the Florida Panhandle as a Category 2 storm on Oct. 9, 2018. (NASA Worldview/Released)
September 28, 2022

An eerie video shared on Twitter on Wednesday shows the ocean in Tampa Bay rapidly disappearing from the shore as Hurricane Ian makes its way toward the Florida coast.  

“Video from Matt Tilman of Bayshore Blvd in Tampa. The bay being sucked out,” tweeted meteorologist Jordan Steele.

Hurricane Ian is expected to slam into Florida this week as it strengthens to a Category 4 hurricane, with wind speeds between 130 and 156 mph that can cause “catastrophic damage.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a State of Emergency for all 67 Florida counties.

Jamie Rhome, acting director of the National Hurricane Center, said during a briefing on Sunday that Hurricane Ian “is going to be a large and powerful hurricane in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and spread its impacts over a large portion of the Florida peninsula.”

This isn’t the first time a hurricane has been so powerful that it changed the shape of the Florida coast. According to NBC News, Hurricane Irma sucked water away from shorelines in 2017.

While several bays along the Gulf Coast were temporarily dry, meteorologists warned at the time that a “life-threatening storm surge” would eventually cause the water to rapidly rise.

“The wind direction will shift to onshore, causing water levels along the southwest coast of Florida to rapidly rise in a matter of minutes. MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER! Life-threatening storm surge inundation of 10 to 15 feet above ground level is expected in this area,” the National Weather Service in Miami warned Sunday afternoon.

Jamie Rhome, a storm surge specialist with the National Hurricane Center, said at the time that the hurricane’s strength and location caused the ocean to recede.

“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,” Rhome said of Irma. “If the wind is blowing offshore, it blows water away from land.”