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Sci-Tech

The gaping vortex in this Texas lake is big enough to suck in a boat

Floods tend to create all kinds of dangers in their path, including some you wouldn't expect, like the giant whirling water vortex recently spotted in Lake Texoma.

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Whoa... that sucks. Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

An 8-foot-wide vortex that opened up in a Texas lake earlier this month made it possible to act out in real life that scene from so many classic cartoons where entire boats (or human skeletons) are sucked down a drain. Not that I'd endorse that idea, as it surely wouldn't end well.

The dramatic vortex in the video below was created when water entered the Denison Dam spillway on Lake Texoma. Flooding on the Red River, which flows into the lake along the border of Texas and Oklahoma, has caused the lake to crest and flow over the spillway twice in a single year for the first time ever in its history -- once prior to the recording of the video, and again last week.

The below video is from early June, following the first flood this season, but it didn't receive much media attention until this past week, when the lake flowed over the dam spillway for an unprecedented second time.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the dam, posted the video. It also posted caution signs and safety buoys in the area in early June to avoid any real-life old-school animation reenactments. The Army Corp of Engineers told Business Insider the vortex is still there now due to ongoing flooding.

Much like in a bathtub, a vortex opens up when water quickly rushes out of a basin -- perhaps through a drain or other exit -- so quickly that a swirling effect is created, churning the nearby water in the basin and sucking it down the vortex. It's kind of the aquatic equivalent of a black hole, and probably not nearly as fun as it looks in those old cartoons.

Or to put it in more punny language, "a dam vortex like this sucks more than you can imagine."