Negative Storm Surge in Tampa Bay as Ian Approached

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Water drained from Tampa Bay on Wednesday as Hurricane Ian approached Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The storm eventually made landfall near Fort Myers, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the south.

A number of people posted photos on social media of themselves and others walking out onto the silty and sandy bay floor, despite warnings from local officials. Tampa Bay has a normal average deputy of about 12 feet (4 meters).

The phenomenon of the bay emptying also happened in 2017, when experts said Hurricane Irma caused a negative surge. Because a tropical storm’s winds blow counterclockwise, the winds at the northern edge of Hurricane Ian were blowing from east to west with so much force that they pushed the water from the bay into the Gulf of Mexico.

Water eventually refilled the bay.

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