Tampa Bay’s bay is normally filled with ocean and fish, but on Sunday morning, September 10, 2017, some residents of Tampa were seen walking out into the bay. It was so dry people weren’t even sinking into the mud.
It is a result of a rare phenomena called a bulge that can occur in the eye of a hurricane. The low pressure in the center essentially acts as a suction sucking up the water and along with its winds converging into the center, the water begins to pile up at the core of the hurricane.
This results in dry land in areas around the storm.
And it didn’t just happen in Tampa Bay, a similar event took place in the Bahamas where water was essentially sucked away exposing miles of beach once covered with water.
Bahamas-based Twitter user, @Kaydi_K, reported:
“‘I am in disbelief right now… This is Long Island, Bahamas and the ocean water is missing!!! That’s as far as they see #HurricaneIrma”.
Washington Post meteorologist Angela Fitz explained what happened this way:
“In the center of the storm, where the pressure is lowest and the winds are converging, water piles up. Low pressure is basically a sucking mechanism in the sense that it draws the air inward. When the pressure is exceptionally low and the winds are very strong, it can create a bulge of ocean water under the center of the storm.”
Some wondered if this is what took place at the parting of the Red Sea recorded in the Book of Exodus.
Trapped between the approaching Egyptian army and the Red Sea, Moses struck his rod over the sea and a strong westerly wind came up. It blew all night pushing the water back allowing the Israelis to cross safely.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. (Exodus 14:21 NASV)
Of course an immediate cessation of wind would cause the water to surge back, which it did engulfing the Egyptian army trying to cross later.
We also see hints that a similar thing happened when Joshua crossed the Jordan river during flood season (Joshua 3:13-16).
Though there is no mention of a wind, we read:
16 the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. (Joshua 3:16 NASV)
Notice how the Bible says the water “rose up in one heap.” The Hebrew word for heap (ned) is not a complicated word it means simply to pile up. Though there is no mention of a wind at the crossing point, there may have been at the city of Adam.
In 2010, scientists working with the US National Center for Atmospheric Research released a video simulating how a strong wind could have parted the Red Sea allowing Moses and Israel to safely pass over on dry land.
They calculated it would have only required sustained winds of 63 mph to part the sea. Hurricane Irma had winds of 175 mph.
They even discovered a potential location where it could have occurred.
If you want to see the impact wind can have on water, watch the video below showing how wind reversed a waterfall on the coast of England causing the water to flow backwards up the cliff.