‘The ocean is missing’: Irma is so strong it’s sucking the water away from the shore

Much has been said about the strength and size of Hurricane Irma — which was at one point, showing the strongest readings ever recorded for a storm out of the Atlantic and one of the strongest in the world since the data has been tracked — but new footage from the Bahamas shows just how intense the storm is.

Irma struck the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands Friday as it made its way towards Florida, and at one point it was the size of France. Entire villages on the island of Barbuda were leveled and many across the Caribbean plan to be without power for days or longer.

Afterwards, as the storm again gathered strength, Irma began to draw seawater away from the shorelines of the Bahamas towards its core. And based on what Twitter users at Long Beach in the Bahamas can see, there is no ocean in sight from the beach.
Meteorologist and deputy weather editor of the Washington Post Angela Fritz confirmed that the footage was real in an article. She said the phenomenon — something she has only known was possible in theory — is an effect of a strong storm with a very low-pressure core that creates a “sucking mechanism” drawing the ocean water towards it and upwards. Fritz said the effect could theoretically “change the shape of the surface of the ocean.”

Fritz did say that residents in the Bahamas should not worry about an impending tsunami as the water is returned to the coast and that the view from the shore should return to normal over the weekend.

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“In any case, this isn’t the sign of a tsunami. The water will return to Long Island, and it probably won’t rush back with any great force,” Fritz said in her Washington Post article. “It will probably be back by Sunday afternoon.”

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