Storm brings foam to Southwest Australia beaches

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Sea foam on Tathra Beach in southeastern Australia stretched as far as the eye could see this week.

Sea foam on Tathra Beach in southeastern Australia stretched as far as the eye could see this week.

Facebook screenshot of Andy Willis

The same storm system that drives “wide and powerful surf” off South Australia also dumps mounds of chocolate mousse onto its beaches.

Photos and videos of the strange phenomenon began to appear on social media on March 2, showing the foam filled the coastal channels and even form frothy swirls.

ABC South East NSW station called the layer covering Tathra Beach “beach cappuccinoand reported that it was hiding dangerous waves along the far southern coast.

Andy Willis published video showing the foam seemed to be waist deep in some places, stretching as far as the eye could see.

“The beach is gone,” he wrote on Facebook.

“It happens with heavy rain and big seas. It’s as big as I’ve seen it”

Tathra Beach was hit by a similar “waist-deep tsunami of foamduring a storm in 2016, according to The Canberra Times.

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A storm off southeastern Australia has generated mounds of foam on beaches. The phenomenon was linked to a storm front which created strong and powerful waves. Screenshot from Facebook video of Andy Willis

“It accumulated on the walls… even spilled onto the street,” the newspaper reported. “One lucky pup was even rescued by its owner after it disappeared into the huge moss.”

Sea foam forms the same way bubbles form when you shake a container of water – “but on a larger scale,” experts say.

“When storms arrive and the ocean is churned up by wind and waves…creation of sea foam can occur often to gargantuan proportions,” reports Oceanwatch Australia.

Sea scum is generally not harmful to humans except in cases where it coincides with the decomposition of offshore algal blooms, the agency reports.

“Sea foam bubbles are one way algal toxins travel through the air. The resulting aerosol can irritate the eyes of beachgoers and pose a health risk for people with asthma. or other respiratory problems,” says Oceanwatch Australia.

Meteorologists report the storm that generated the foam mounds weakens as it moves north, but “always brings rain, strong winds and large, powerful waves” to the coast.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering topics including schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with a major in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

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