As a meteorologist, there are things you learn in textbooks that you may never see in person. You know they happen theoretically, but the chances of seeing the most extraordinary weather phenomena are slim to none.
This is one of those things – a hurricane strong enough to change the shape of an ocean.
Twitter user @Kaydi_K shared a video Saturday afternoon (Sept. 9), and even though it looked as though it couldn’t be possible, it was absolutely legit.
“I am in disbelief right now. . .” she wrote. “This is Long Island, Bahamas and the ocean water is missing!!!”
Basically, Hurricane Irma is so strong and its pressure is so low, it’s sucking water from its surroundings into the core of the storm.
The wind on Long Island in the Bahamas is from the southeast to the northwest on Saturday. On the northwest side of the island, it would be blowing the water away from the shoreline.
It also may be experiencing the effects of what I call the hurricane “bulge.” In the center of the storm, where there is extreme low pressure, water is drawn upward. Low pressure is basically a sucking mechanism – it sucks the air into it, and when it’s really low, it can change the shape of the surface of the ocean. As the storm draws water toward the center, it gets pulled away from the surroundings.
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. It will probably be back by Sunday afternoon.
-Reporting by Angela Fritz, The Washington Post
— ABC News (@ABC) September 10, 2017
This story originally appeared on washingtonpost.com