TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hurricane Ian is recreating one of the most viral moments from Hurricane Irma in 2017: Some of Tampa’s iconic waterways drained of water, essentially turned into a beach.
Water along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa, just outside the WFLA studio, started receding Wednesday morning as Hurricane Ian approached the southwest coast of Florida.
Around the same time, officers with the Tampa Police Department posted several photos of water receding from the bay along Bayshore Boulevard.
“The water has receded, a clear sign that Hurricane Ian is drawing near,” the department said.
Water was also being pushed out on the other side of the bay. WFLA Photojournalist Todd Davis captured water receding at John’s Pass just before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.
According to WFLA Meteorologist Leigh Spann, this phenomenon of water being pushed out is caused by winds coming from the east and blowing toward the Gulf of Mexico.
“Think of it like a fan blowing over a bucket of water,” Spann said.
And while the receding water may be interesting to look at, Florida emergency officials are warning people to stay away.
“STOP: Do not walk out into receding water in Tampa Bay or Charlotte Harbor – the water WILL return through storm surge and poses a life-threatening risk,” the Florida Division of Emergency Management said in a tweet.
Almost exactly five years ago, in September 2017, the same thing happened as the monstrous Hurricane Irma approached Florida’s west coast. Water was pushed out several hundred yards along Bayshore Boulevard as the strong offshores winds pushed the water into the Gulf. People gathered to walk along the sand that is usually underwater.
Water was also pushed out of the Hillsborough River as Irma made its way closer to the state.
Tracking Hurricane Ian