When Irma gulps up the Gulf: Explaining reverse storm surge

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Irma struck Franklin County hard Sunday night, and continued its effects throughout Monday morning, which included a kind of "reverse storm surge," leaving residents and visitors both puzzled and fascinated.

The phenomenon can be explained as such: when wind pushes water onto land, we get storm surge. What has happened in Northwest Florida is wind pushing water away from the shore.

So how does it happen? The North winds have pulled all of the water away from the coastline and into the Gulf. In a way, it's as if Mother Nature is playing a game of tug of war with the water. As the storm pushes further north, we will get a westerly wind that will push the water back.

Dozens of residents and visitors in Franklin County parked off the side of the road for photos. Some were brave enough to walk out on the mucky flats previously covered by water and fit for swimming.