Smelly seaweed at Texas beaches fueled by "perfect storm"

What do you get when cold fronts in the Gulf of Mexico and the Bay of Campeche last longer than usual?

A "perfect storm" of smelly seaweed on Galveston, Texas beaches, according to one researcher.

CBS affiliate KHOU reports that the piles of sargassum (the scientific term for seaweed) are stinking up the beaches of Galveston -- and experts are not surprised.

"We could tell that there were going to be issues with it way before it actually happened," said Robert Webster, a doctoral candidate at Texas A&M - Galveston.

Webster and his fellow researchers monitor satellite images and weather patterns to determine the flow of seaweed. Webster told KHOU that his team predicted an unusually high volume of seaweed in part because cold fronts that kept the smelly stuff in the southern Gulf longer than usual, where it continued to thrive in warm waters.

The seaweed then floated north, deluging some beaches in Texas and Louisiana.

"It was kind of the perfect storm," Webster told KHOU. "We had multiple things that happened that contributed to it and caused this massive amount of landing."

The station reports that predicting the flow of seaweed is an inexact science but Webster thinks that - barring an unforeseen weather pattern - the smelly stuff should recede.

"The rest of the summer, as long as we have the west wind that's blowing right now, everything is good," he said. "We're going to see very little sargassum. If we start having those cold fronts return, then all bets are off."

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