“I am in disbelief right now… This is Long Island, Bahamas and the ocean water is missing!!! That’s as far as they see,” @Kaydi_K wrote on Twitter.
“Sea gone dry,” another witness called Adrian tweeted.
The eerie scene was shared over 50,000 times in one day and it spooked web users, many of whom suggested it resembled the sucking away of water before a tsunami.
Some found that hard to believe, reckoning instead that it might have been a routinely-occurring low tide in the bay.
However, weather experts analyzing the scene put the blame on Hurricane Irma, which had just left a trail of destruction in the Caribbean and was about to land in Florida.
The ominous-looking occurrence was in fact caused by a combination of low tide, low pressure and strong winds in the right direction, which literally pushed the water away from the long narrow bay. The phenomenon has been dubbed “reverse storm surge” by some of those explaining it online.
Luckily for the locals, the water did not come gushing in all at once, with Adrian later tweeting that the sea “came back.”