Manatees stranded due to Irma

East County's Nina Toby James and Noah Klepek gather their belongings before entering an emergency shelter at Carlos E. Haile Middle School

Hurricane Irma has caused colossal storm surges across Florida, but it has also deprived other areas of water.

When Hurricane Irma sucked the water out of Sarasota Bay on Sunday afternoon, it left a couple of manatees high and dry.

An official with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission said the organization received multiple reports about the stranded manatees. Although the wind temporarily removed water from the area, it returned with strength.

"Winds on the northern side of this wind field have steadily been lowering the levels of Tampa Bay and the eastern Gulf of Mexico near the west coast of Florida", Belles said.

Michael Sechler posted that the animals were far too massive to be lifted, so he and his friends started giving them water.

A line of evacuees wait for food at the Braden River High School emergency shelter
A line of evacuees wait for food at the Braden River High School emergency shelter

Residents managed to roll the manatees onto a green tarp and slide them "100 yards" to where the bay had receded, according to Clavijo's post.

Intrigued, Marcelo Clavijo and several friends went out for a drive to take in the odd sight of an empty bay. "So we went for a ride and ended up saving two manatees", Clavejo posted on Facebook.

Yet "we couldn't just let those manatees die out there", Tony Faradini-Campos tells the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. "Unfortunately with manatees, they are accustomed to being tidally stranded at times".

"By this time, people should have already completed most of their preparations and gotten out of the way", said Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane.

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