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Irma spawns unusual storm surges on both Florida coasts

September 13, 2017
Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Hurricane Irma's devastating storm surge came with weird twists that scientists attribute to the storm's girth, path and some geographic quirks.

Irma's eye stayed at least 80 miles (130 kilometers) away, but Jacksonville and the rest of the east coast got the northeast brunt of the storm, where winds, surge and rainfall are at the strongest.

Because hurricane winds spin counterclockwise and lined up perfectly perpendicular to Jacksonville's St. John's River, "it just pushed the water from the Atlantic right into the river," National Hurricane Center spokesman and meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said.

And southwestern Florida, which is prone to surges, saw the opposite at first: a strange-looking negative surge that sucked the water off the sea floor quickly enough to maroon several manatees.



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