ORLANDO, Fla. - A massive bloom of seaweed is moving closer to Florida beaches. It’s 5,000 miles long, which is twice the size of the United States. It’s already washing up on some beaches in the Caribbean and the Florida Keys.
"It concerns me since I love to bring my kids to the beach, and I would hate the smell of seaweed. It’s gross," Zina Harvery, a Florida resident, said.
"It’s so big you can’t really go out in a boat and see it because it’s twice the width of the United States, Brian Barnes, a University of South Florida professor, said.
Video from Jetty Park last July shows parts of the beach full of brown, smelly seaweed. Experts said this bloom could bring the same, and it’s believed to be the largest in history.
University of South Florida professor, Chunmin Hu, said don’t think of it like a hurricane. "The seaweed in the Atlantic is scattered. You have a clump and there," Hu said.
Experts can track the bloom on satellite images. They said only a small part of it will end up on Florida beaches, and it will mostly impact the east coast of Florida.
"Some beaches will receive more sargassum seaweed than others and some will be totally spared," Hu said. "It can just kind of cover the entire surface of a beach and you kind of have to push it aside as you try and wade through it," Barnes said.
According to Barnes, when the seaweed makes its way to shore, it eventually decomposes on the beach, creating a bad smell. It can also attract insects and grow bacteria, bringing health concerns.
Barnes said there is no way of knowing for sure where the seaweed will end up. It depends on the wind, tides and ocean currents. He said we can expect to see more seaweed starting in late April through the summer.