The ominous warning issued prior to Hurricane Ian’s landing caused social media users to be appalled at what the Floridiani were waiting for as a Category 4 storm headed towards the west coast of the state.

On Wednesday morning, the Florida Crisis Management Division (FDEM) warned people against stepping out into the receding waters of Tampa Bay or Charlotte Harbor.

“The water will return by the storm surge and is life-threatening,” the state agency wrote on Twitter.

Storm waves are mainly caused by strong hurricane winds which collect water and push it forward, causing coastal floods or high tides such as tsunamis. According to the National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center, “a storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane.”

Two sisters stroll the shores of Retracted Tampa Bay as water was pulled out of the bay before Hurricane Ian arrived on September 28, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. Officials warn people not to step into the receding water.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

One Reddit user, Evilsj, called the FDEM warning and evidence of an impending storm wave “a nightmare thing.”

On Wednesday, the Tampa Police Department shared a photo taken by one of its lieutenants overlooking Bayshore Boulevard, where a large body of water receded – “a clear sign that #huragan is approaching,” the department tweeted.

“To our #Tampa residents please be smart! Entering the water is very dangerous and should be avoided. Don’t put in #FirstResponders you are taking a risk trying to save you, ”the Tampa police warned.

The National Weather Service of Tampa Bay has warned that the water will return and no one should try to walk in areas where the water is receding.

The phenomenon of sea level decline was also observed in Florida in 2017, when Hurricane Irma also pulled water out of the Bay of Tampa.

Florida officials and residents prepare for the disaster that will come when Hurricane Ian is due to land on Wednesday afternoon. More than 2 million inhabitants are ordered to evacuate, and those who have not yet escaped are now directed to refuge on the spot.

“If you are in any of these counties, there is no longer any way to safely evacuate,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at Wednesday’s morning news conference. “It’s time to crouch down and prepare for this storm.”

Although the hurricane is still classified as a Category 4 storm, it is approaching the Category 5 threshold. Only two Category 5 storms have landed in the United States in the last three decades, each time in Florida.

Florida utilities reported that more than 300,000 customers are without electricity, with the greatest number of downtime occurring in Lee, Collier and Sarasota – near the eye of the storm. Bridges to Collier, Sarasota and Charlotte counties were also closed in preparation for the storm.

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