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The beach has disappeared.’ Storm dumps mounds of foam on beaches in south Australia

 

The same storm system that is driving “large and powerful surf” off southern Australia is also dumping mounds of chocolatey foam on its beaches.

Photos and video of the strange phenomenon began appearing on social media March 2, showing the foam was filling coastal channels and even forming foamy whirlpools.

Station ABC South East NSW referred to the layer covering Tathra Beach as “beach cappuccino” and reported it was hiding hazardous surf along the Far South Coast.

Andy Willis posted video showing the foam appeared to be waist-deep in some spots, stretching as far as the eye could see.

“The beach has disappeared,” he wrote on Facebook.

“It happens with heavy rains and big seas. This is as big as I’ve seen it”

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

A storm off southeastern Australia generated mounds of foam on beaches. The phenomenon was connected to a storm front that created strong, powerful surf. ANDY WILLIS FACEBOOK VIDEO SCREENSHOT

“It banked up on the walls ... even spilled into the street,” the newspaper reported. “One lucky puppy was even fished out by his owner after he went missing in the massive foam.”

Sea foam is formed much the way bubbles show up when shaking a container of water — “but on a much grander scale,” experts say.

“When storms roll in and the ocean is agitated by wind and waves ... the creation of sea foam can occur often in gargantuan proportions,” Oceanwatch Australia reports.

Sea foam is typically not harmful to humans, except in cases where it coincides with the decay of algal blooms off shore, the agency reports.

“Sea foam bubbles are one way that algal toxins become airborne. The resulting aerosol can irritate the eyes of beach goers and poses a health risk for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions,” Oceanwatch Australia says.

Weather forecasters report the storm that generated the mounds of foam is weakening as it moves north, but is still “bringing rain, strong winds and large and powerful surf” to the coast.

A deep layer of sea foam flooded up to the front door of the Avalon Pier on the North Carolina coast. Sea foam increases when seas are rough and the winter storm that has blown through North Carolina caused dangerous surf Sunday and Monday.

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