TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Water blown by strong winds blew out of Tampa Bay as Hurricane Ian neared Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and some dared to venture on the bottom exposure of the bay.
Ian eventually made landfall as a major hurricane near Fort Myers, about 100 miles to the south.
A number of people posted pictures on social media of themselves and others walking on the exposed sand and silt, despite warnings from local authorities to stay back. Tampa Bay has a normal average depth of about 12 feet (4 meters).
The bay drain phenomenon also happened in 2017 when Hurricane Irma caused a new, so-called negative surge, experts say.
Because hurricane winds blow counterclockwise, the winds at the northern end of Ian’s circular system were blowing from east to west with such force that they pushed water from the bay into the gulf. from Mexico.
The water eventually filled the bay.