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Negative Storm Surge Caused by Hurricane Ian in Tampa Bay, Florida

As Hurricane Ian reached Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday, water pushed back by strong winds emptied from Tampa Bay, and some dared to wade out onto the exposed bay bottom.

Ian made landfall as a major storm approximately 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Fort Myers.

Despite warnings from local officials, a number of individuals shared images of themselves and others strolling on the exposed sand and silt on social media. The regular average depth of Tampa Bay is approximately 12 feet (4 meters).

According to experts, the emptying of the bay again occurred in 2017 when Hurricane Irma generated another so-called negative surge.

Due to the counterclockwise direction of hurricane winds, the gusts near the northern tip of Ian’s circular system were so strong that they drove bay water into the Gulf of Mexico.

Eventually, water refilled the bay.

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