One year after Hurricane Irma: Remembering the day Tampa Bay went dry

Local News

One year ago, the Tampa Bay area was getting rocked by whipping winds and torrential rains with Hurricane Irma.

In the days leading up to those impacts, Irma was a monster Category 5 hurricane making landfall in Cuba. The storm passed through the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane, and it crashed onshore near Marco Island with wind gusts up to 115 mph.

The system took down huge trees in several communities and left many without power for days and weeks, but one of the most iconic and memorable sights from Irma may be when the water in Tampa Bay emptied out.

Strong offshore winds ahead of landfall pushed the water into the Gulf of Mexico and left the bed exposed.

“It’s funny because you could see all the beads from Gasparilla out there,” said Dylan Gorman.

Gorman is a freelance photographer and videographer. When he started seeing posts on social media from his friends about this phenomenon, he knew he had to capture it.

He grabbed his drone, and he and his father drove toward Bayshore Boulevard.

“I was a little nervous because I didn’t know if my drone was going to be able to handle it but I got a bigger drone, so it could withstand the 50 mph winds that were going through here,” said Gorman.

His video has made its way around the world. National news outlets contacted him to use this unique video.

“I had family in Brazil reach out to me that they saw the video,” he said.

Gorman remembers being shocked to see more than a 100 people walking on the bay’s dry bed.

“Maybe even some like 100 feet out,” he remembered.

For many, his video and the lack of Tampa Bay water is what they remember most from Hurricane Irma.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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