Beachgoers were left shocked after the ocean ‘disappeared’ as Hurricane Irma cut a devastating path through the Caribbean.
The extreme force of the killer storm was on full display as it sucked water away from shores in the Bahamas in a rare weather phenomenon.
Footage posted on social media shows people walking along the seabed which is normally under several feet of water.
There was dry land as far as the eye could see as Irma passed just south of Long Island.
A woman who shared the footage on Twitter wrote: “I am in disbelief right now… This is Long Island, Bahamas and the ocean water is missing!!! That’s as far as they see.”
The video was also shared by the “Alternative NOAA” Twitter account, which wrote: “Dear #KeyWest. The ocean is literally gone in The Bahamas, and it’s heading your way. Still want to be there?”
The clip sparked fears on Twitter that the water had receded due to a tsunami, but that was not the case.
Angela Fritz, an atmospheric scientist and the Washington Post’s deputy weather editor, wrote: “Basically, Hurricane Irma is so strong and its pressure is so low, it’s sucking water from its surroundings into the core of the storm.”
She called it the hurricane “bulge” – where water is drawn into the centre of the storm and the shape of the ocean is changed.
Ms Fritz wrote that the water will likely return to Long Island by Sunday afternoon and it “probably won’t rush back with any great force”.
Irma was churning towards Florida after battering Cuba with devastating winds, heavy rain and flooding.
It could be the most catastrophic storm to ever hit the state, with nearly seven million people ordered to evacuate.
There are fears that the storm surge could flood entire communities with 15ft of water or more.
The storm’s outer bands were wreaking havoc in southern Florida, where trees were snapped by high winds and roads were beginning to flood.
Irma is due to make landfall in the Florida Keys at daybreak on Sunday and then move north up the coast.
At least 27 people were killed in the Caribbean after the storm caused widespread damage on several islands.