When you think about hurricanes — especially the monster ones like Irma — you think about the amount of water they can drop, or push onto land.
But did you know it can also dry up your shoreline?
Now that the danger of the storm has passed, we can stop and appreciate how amazing its power was, without feeling like you’re cheering on the bad guy in the movie.
An event like a major hurricane has amazing and bizarre side effects that get lost in the shuffle when we’re so focused on the devastation it can bring.
Side effects like…
Where the hell did my ocean go?
One minute, you had a perfectly good shoreline… and now you’ve got nothing but mud.
You can take a walk and gather conch — not the shells, live conch that until recently were very happily doing conch things under the water.
So where did it go?
Here’s a shot that gets a little more up-close and personal.
It’s gone for now, but it would soon come roaring back.
Here’s what happened:
Sunday’s storm surge in reverse was not the result of plate tectonics, but rather caused by the exceptional pull that Irma had on the oceans. Areas near its center that first saw an offshore wind watched as all their water was gobbled into Irma’s middle, before returning in a damaging storm surge when the winds shifted with the passage of the eye.
Just how dramatic was the effect? The tidal gauge in Naples — where the wind gusted to 142 mph — fell six feet between sunrise and 2 p.m. Sunday. Within one hour, the water climbed 5.5 feet (approximately one inch per minute) and continued to rise. —WP
Here’s a graphic to put the water levels in perspective. Notice the nearly-vertical red line on the right.
— Michael Lowry (@MichaelRLowry) September 10, 2017
As most of our readers could already have told you…
Nature is a BEAST… and full of surprises!