In a phenomenon that meteorologists consider incredibly rare, Hurricane Irma has been reported to actually suck out the water from beaches in The Bahamas and Florida.
The powerful hurricane – upgraded to Category 4 storm – has literally sucked the beach dry in the Bahamas and along the Gulf Coast of Florida over the weekend. Terrorizing videos are popping out all over Twitter showing vast extensions of dry land where the sea is supposed to be.
— #ForeverFlourish (@Kaydi_K) September 9, 2017
Angela Fritz, deputy weather editor for the Washington Post, said this about the videos:
“As a meteorologist, there are things you learn in textbooks that you may never see in person. You know they happen theoretically, but the chances of seeing the most extraordinary weather phenomena are slim to none. This is one of those things — a hurricane strong enough to change the shape of an ocean.”
— Tim Scheu (@scheuster) September 10, 2017
Irma has killed at least 25 people so far and displaced thousands throughout its destructive path across the Caribbean Sea and parts of the Atlantic Ocean. Fritz states the missing water isn’t a sign of an upcoming Tsunami, but warns residents not to wander onto the dry seabed, as water will eventually return.
The sea is capable of rising to its normal level within minutes, suddenly and furiously flooding the coast with huge waves of up to 15 feet tall.
To discourage the locals who are tempted by the unusual sight, the US National Hurricane Center tweeted, all in capital letters: “MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER!”
— Chris O'Donnell (@codonnell_Times) September 10, 2017
Fritz, who is an atmospheric scientist graduate from the University of Valparaiso in meteorology, explains the unusual phenomenon this way:
“In the center of the storm, where there is extreme low pressure, water is drawn upward. Low pressure is basically a sucking mechanism — it sucks the air into it, and when it’s really low, it can change the shape of the surface of the ocean.”
She adds: “As the storm draws water toward the center, it gets pulled away from the surroundings.”
— Adrian (@deejayeasya) September 9, 2017