Blob Of Seaweed Twice As Wide As The US Bears Down On Florida, Researchers Say

Not the seaweed bloom mentioned in the story. (Photo by PONTUS LUNDAHL/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)

Jamie Clinton Contributor
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One of the largest seaweed blobs in recorded history is heading for the United States, according to multiple scientists.

Twice the width of the U.S., the sargassum bloom is a giant blob of seaweed and algae that is so large it can be seen from space, according to Fox News. Scientists believe it may be headed for the Gulf Coast of Florida as it floats between the Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast of Africa.

“What we’re seeing in the satellite imagery does not bode well for a clean beach year,” Brian LaPointe, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, told NBC News. (RELATED: Northern California Community Evacuates After Levee Breach)

Floridians who live on the southwest coast have said they are experiencing breathing problems and burning eyes, Fox reported. Officials canceled a beach festival scheduled for April due to the environmental complaints, and there have also been dead fish washing up on beaches throughout the area.

“[Sargassum] can block intake valves for things like power plants or desalination plants, marinas can get completely inundated and boats can’t navigate through,” Brian Barnes, an assistant research professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science, told NBC.

Florida’s southwest coast has also noticed an increase in toxic red tide algae in early March, according to Fox. The current bloom has been around since October and some are reportedly concerned it could last for a long time.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has warned people not to swim near areas with red tide algae because the affected water can cause irritation, rashes and sore eyes.