A historic ocean receding caused by strong northerly winds occurred in several coastal cities of Uruguay and Brazil on August 11 and 12, 2017.
In Punta del Este, Uruguay, the ocean receded more than 10 meters (32.8 feet) in about 15 minutes on August 11, leaving yachts, fishing boats and sea lions stranded. Meteorologists said the phenomenon was caused by strong winds coming from the north. However, due to its severity, many people thought it was a sign of a tsunami.
Earlier in the day, Uruguayan Meteorological Institute (INUMET) issued orange wind warnings for the departments of Montevideo, Canelones, Maldonado, Rocha and Lavalleja.
The same phenomenon occurred along country's southern and southeastern coasts on August 8 and in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, especially in Guaiba, near capital Porto Alegre and Tramandai, on Saturday, August 12.
In Guaíba, a city located in the Metropolitan Porto Alegre, water level dropped 0.31 m (1 foot) in 24 hours, reaching 0.24 m (0.78 feet) on Saturday morning, its lowest level in the last 12 years. The average level in the month of August is 0.97 m (3.18 feet).
Outubro/2015 - Guaiba a 2,96 m (transbordou)— CEIC - Metroclima (@MetroclimaPOA) August 12, 2017
Agosto/2017 - Guaiba a 0,23 m
(Fotos de MetSul e Luciano Lanes) pic.twitter.com/1Dhe22NbWP
According to Porto Alegre government, the phenomenon in Guiaba was 'verified along the entire border of the Historic Center to the South.' The event, similar to that observed during the drought in 2005, occurred due to strong winds and a period of 60 days with little or no rain, it said.
The situation normalized on Sunday, August 13.
Featured image: Punta del Este, Uruguay on August 11, 2017. Credit: Beatriz Davyt