Water empties from bay in Tampa, but folks warned: stay out

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

A full-grown manatee can weigh in the neighborhood of 1,000 pounds, so moving one is no small task. "Unfortunately with manatees, they are accustomed to being tidally stranded at times".

Faradini-Campos wrote on Facebook that the manatees were successfully moved to deeper water. "We gave them as much water as we could, hoping the rain and storm surge come soon enough to save them", Sechler wrote.

Of all the destructive impacts of a hurricane, with its life-threatening storm surges and massive flooding, the sudden lack of aquatic habitat is not a typical concern.

The area has lost power and Ms Wilding has experienced some damage to her house, describing "trees splitting in two" and water making its way through both the plywood boarding up her windows and the double glazed windows. "I thought they (manatees) were done for", he said.

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.

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

The viral Facebook post has more than 96,000 likes and 68,000 shares.

Sechler says the manatees were rescued about two hours after he posted that photo on social media.

"We just let nature take its course", Gordon said.

Two Manatee County deputies and officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission came to the bay to help the rescue effort, the Herald-Tribune reported.

"We're not actually intervening at this point", Gordon said.

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