Flooded beaches and crashing waves brought a big crowd to the beach for a gloomy day.
"I didn't expect this. I didn't know what to expect but I definitely didn't expect
to see the white caps so much," said Chad Archer.
At Clearwater Beach, the surf roared. Waves looked more like the Atlantic than a normal Gulf day.
They felt big, too.
"I was like this is not the Gulf of Mexico. And I just went over and it just took me right under
the waves," said Berkley Laporte.
"One of the waves crashed me in to the ground. I tried to swim with it and it pulled me
straight down to the ground," said Jordan Chrystie.
Water took over the beach, making a temporary kids' pool in the sand, surrounding the life guard station.
The Bay-front beach off the Courtney Campbell Causeway flooded and closed down.
Rising tides turned trashed cans in to islands.
In Tampa, one lane along Bayshore Boulevard closed at rush hour.
So what caused all this?
"We've had a west wind down for the past several days that just piles up the water along
the coast. On top of that, we had the highest astronomical tides of the year because
of the full moon," explained FOX13 Chief Meteorologist Paul Dellegatto.
"We actually didn't want to come because it was storming," said Sean Kraus.
That didn't stop vacationers. They rode waves and felt a tug.
"And at one point, my youngest son Seth Michael, he's seven, he was actually getting pulled out and we had to pull him to get him back in," Archer said.
The red flags were flying over Clearwater Beach, and it had the lifeguard staff in
a flurry dealing with a flooded beach, and a strong current in the Gulf. They had to pull
some people out of the water.
"The whistles started blowing and were like too far," Laporte said.
Get used to it. A riptide is possible through Saturday.
"That's the high waves pounding on shore, the water going back on to the Gulf, and sometimes
it goes out in a stream in a straight line, and if you're stuck in one of those streams, you literally
can't get back to shore," Dellegatto said.
It can be very dangerous... and, a thrill ride to some.
"It was so much fun. I want to come to Clearwater when it's a storm all the time," Laporte said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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