Science

Water receded from Tampa Bay during Hurricane Ian. But it will come back – and it will be dangerous.

As Hurricane Ian made its way toward Florida on Wednesday, it appeared to recede from Tampa Bay, as if the body of water had dried up and dried up. The phenomenon, called a blowout tide or reverse storm surge, is an indicator that a storm is on its way.

According to The Weather Channel, tides often occur during low tide, when strong winds blowing straight from the shore push the water out, exposing the bottom of the body of water.

It can be dangerous to walk along the newly opened shore during a blowout tide because the winds can change rapidly, and the tide can return.

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The images show that the body of water looked as if it had dried up. But as Hurricane Ian draws closer, a storm surge can rapidly raise the tide.

Tampa Police Department


Multiple Agencies in Tampas shared images erupting tide around the bay on Wednesday, and the National Weather Service Tampas warned residents Do not walk in any place with receding water.

The opposite of blowout tide is coastal flooding, where direct onshore wind pushes water inland, often during high tide, according to the Weather Channel.

During coastal flooding, also known as storm surges, the water level rises unusually rapidly and is pushed toward the coast by the force of the winds that surround the storm. This, with normal tides, can raise the water level by 30 feet or more.

According to NOAA, a model called slosh — sea, lake and overland surges from hurricanes — is used to estimate how high a storm will be. Evaluating the storm’s track, intensity and size, as well as water depth, land elevation and obstacles, help determine the size of the surge as it moves inland.

Storm waves can kill people. According to NOAA, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, at least 1,500 people died, and many of those deaths were as a result of storm surges, either directly or indirectly.

Early Wednesday, Ian was a tier 4 Hurricanes with winds of 155 mph – just shy of a Category 5 hurricane, with winds of 157 mph or higher. The storm made landfall in southwest Florida Wednesday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph.

The National Hurricane Center warned that “Ian will cause devastating tornadoes, winds and flooding across the Florida Peninsula” and NWS Tampa Bay said the storm was growing in southwest Florida and residents should shelter in place.

Millions of Florida residents were under evacuation notices as Hurricane Ian struck. FEMA urges people to avoid the water – do not attempt to walk or drive through it, as only a few inches of water can carry the vehicle away. One should seek higher ground in areas with rising water levels.

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