Gulf of Mexico's 'dead zone' forecast to be worse than usual this summer
SARASOTA - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say this summer’s hypoxic zone, an area of water with little to no oxygen which can kill fish and other marine life, will be close to 2017’s record breaking size.
NOAA scientists are forecasting a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico the size of Massachusetts. It’s effects could be felt here, on our Suncoast beaches.
National Weather Service chief meteorologist for Tampa Bay Brian LaMarre says some of the impacts from the dead zone can migrate down the loop current affecting the West Coast of Florida.
“What we can look at here is another active harmful algae bloom season as we move into our winter time and early next spring," says LaMarre.
LaMarre says this years’ sizeable dead zone prediction is not surprising.
“And so what we’ve been seeing is a lot very above normal rainfall across the Midwest, and of course that’s where a lot of the agriculture industry occurs. And so all of the heavy rain that we’ve been hearing about in the news over in the Mississippi River and the flooding that continues in the Mississippi River allows the nitrates and phosphates to come down the river and go into the Gulf of Mexico," says LaMarre
Though the Gulf’s dead zone reoccurs annually, SNN Meteorologist Marco LaManno says we will have to wait to see how accurate NOAA’s predictions are. “They will be confirming the size of the dead zone around August to see how good the models were," says LaManno.