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Transgender high school runner in Washington wins state title in girls 400-meter dash


Veronica Garcia, a transgender high school runner in Washington, competed in the girls 400-meter dash Saturday.

Garcia won the event and became the Washington girls 400-meter dash state champion.

Garcia ran the race in 55.75 seconds, which was one second better than the second-place finisher’s time of 56.75, according to the Pacific Northwest Track and Field Officials’ track scoreboard.

The second- and third-place winners in the race appeared to participate in the post-race podium ceremony.

According to Washington Interscholastic Activities Association policy, every athlete will compete in programs “consistent with their gender identity or the gender most consistently expressed.

Medical or legal requirements were not listed. However, if questions about eligibility arise, a student does have the right to appeal, according to WIAA’s policy. Legislation for transgender girls participating in girls and women’s sports has been introduced in the state but has not passed. 

In 2021, the British Journal of Sports Medicine published a study saying transgender women maintain an advantage over biological women even after a year of hormone therapy treatment.

For the Olympic level, the elite level, I’d say probably two years is more realistic than one year,” Dr. Timothy Roberts, director of the adolescent medicine training program at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, told NBC News at the time. “At one year, the trans women, on average, still have an advantage over the cis women.

Earlier this month, five middle school girls in West Virginia were barred from competing in a track and field event after protesting and refusing to participate in an event due to a transgender athlete’s inclusion in the meet.

Fani Willis Appeals Dismissal of Charges Against Trump


Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is appealing a judge’s decision to dismiss some of the charges against former President Donald Trump and others in the Georgia election interference case.

Willis filed a notice of appeal regarding the dismissal of six of the counts back in March.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee had written in an order that six of the counts in the indictment must be quashed, including three against Trump. But the order leaves intact other charges, and the judge wrote that prosecutors could seek a new indictment on the charges he dismissed, according to The Associated Press.

One of the dismissed counts regarded the phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021. Trump had allegedly told the secretary to “find 11,780 votes,” the Washington Examiner said.

Willis’ action came after the appeals court already agreed to take up Trump and his co-defendants’ appeal over their efforts to disqualify Willis from the case, ABC News reported.

Trump and 18 others pleaded not guilty last August to all charges in an indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, the news outlet reported. Four of the defendants have accepted plea deals in exchange for agreeing to testify against other defendants.

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs reacts to viral video of him allegedly beating Cassie: ‘I’m disgusted


One day after video was released that appeared to show Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs beating his then-girlfriend Cassie in a Los Angeles hotel, the music mogul took responsibility, saying he’s “disgusted” with himself.

“It’s so difficult to reflect on the darkest times in your life. Sometimes you got to do that. I was f—ed up. I mean I hit rock bottom. But I make no excuses. My behavior on that video is inexcusable,” he said in a self-recorded message beneath a rattan roof posted to Instagram.

“I take full responsibility for my actions in that video. I’m disgusted. I was disgusted then when I did it. I’m disgusted now,” he added.

One day after video was released that appeared to show Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs beating his then-girlfriend Cassie in a Los Angeles hotel, the music mogul took responsibility, saying he’s “disgusted” with himself.

“It’s so difficult to reflect on the darkest times in your life. Sometimes you got to do that. I was f—ed up. I mean I hit rock bottom. But I make no excuses. My behavior on that video is inexcusable,” he said in a self-recorded message beneath a rattan roof posted to Instagram.

“I take full responsibility for my actions in that video. I’m disgusted. I was disgusted then when I did it. I’m disgusted now,” he added.

“Had to ask God for his mercy and grace.”

“I’m so sorry. But I’m committed to [being] a better man each and every day. I’m not asking for forgiveness. I’m truly sorry.

Combs did not reference Cassie, whose legal name is Cassandra Ventura, in his apology.

The alarming video, obtained exclusively by CNN, shows the rapper running down a hallway only wearing a towel around his waist and socks. When he reaches the elevators, he can be seen throwing a woman, presumably Ventura, to the ground. He kicks her twice before dragging her out of the camera’s view.

The incident seems to directly corroborate an incident described in depth in Ventura’s lawsuit that she filed against Combs in November 2023 where she accused him of physical and sexual abuse. The lawsuit was dropped the following day, and an undisclosed settlement was reached.

At the time of the filing, Combs’ lawyer issued a statement saying in part, “Mr. Combs vehemently denies these offensive and outrageous allegations. Ms. Ventura’s demand of $30 million, under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail. Despite withdrawing her initial threat, Ms. Ventura has now resorted to filing a lawsuit riddled with baseless and outrageous lies, aiming to tarnish Mr. Combs’ reputation, and seeking a pay day.”

Following the settlement, Combs said, “We have decided to resolve this matter amicably. I wish Cassie and her family all the best. Love.”

Following the video’s release, Ventura’s lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, told Fox News Digital, “The gut-wrenching video has only further confirmed the disturbing and predatory behavior of Mr. Combs. Words cannot express the courage and fortitude that Ms. Ventura has shown in coming forward to bring this to light

The LA District Attorney’s office issued a statement on Saturday confirming that Combs cannot be prosecuted based on these allegations due to the statute of limitations.

The Best Ideas for Mother’s Day Gifts


Mother’s Day is a special occasion dedicated to celebrating the incredible women in our lives who have nurtured, loved, and guided us through every step of our journey. Finding the perfect gift to express appreciation for all they do can sometimes be challenging. However, with a bit of thoughtfulness and creativity, you can find a gift that truly speaks to your mother’s heart. Here are some of the best ideas for Mother’s Day gifts to make her day extra special

1. Personalized Gifts:

Personalized jewelry: A necklace, bracelet, or ring engraved with her initials, birthstone, or a meaningful date.

Customized photo album: Compile cherished memories in a beautifully designed album.

Customized wall art: Have a piece of art created with family names, significant dates, or a heartfelt message.

2. Spa and Relaxation Gifts

Spa gift basket: Fill a basket with luxurious bath salts, lotions, candles, and a plush robe.

Massage or spa day: Treat her to a relaxing massage or a day at the spa for pampering.

Aromatherapy diffuser: Gift her a diffuser with essential oils to create a calming atmosphere at home.

3. Experiential Gifts

Cooking or art class: Enroll her in a class she’s always wanted to try, whether it’s cooking, painting, pottery, or photography.

Wine tasting tour: Plan a day out at a local winery for a tasting experience she’ll remember.

Tickets to a show or concert: Surprise her with tickets to see her favorite band, a play, or a musical.

4. Subscription Services

Monthly flower delivery: Sign her up for a subscription service that delivers fresh flowers to her doorstep every month.

Book club subscription: If she loves to read, gift her a subscription to a book club tailored to her preferences.

Gourmet food or wine club: Treat her to a monthly delivery of gourmet foods, chocolates, or fine wines.

5. Tech Gadgets

E-reader: For the book-loving mom, an e-reader allows her to carry her favorite books everywhere.

Smartwatch or fitness tracker: Help her stay connected and track her health and fitness goals.

Digital photo frame: Load it with family photos so she can enjoy them rotating throughout the day.

6. DIY Gifts

Handmade crafts: Get creative with DIY projects like hand-painted pottery, knitted scarves, or homemade candles.

Recipe book: Compile her favorite family recipes into a personalized cookbook.

Memory jar: Fill a jar with handwritten notes of cherished memories and reasons why she’s loved.

7. Outdoor and Gardening Gifts

Gardening kit: Equip her with tools, seeds, and gardening accessories for her green thumb.

Hammock or outdoor lounge chair: Provide her with a cozy spot to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Bird feeder or birdhouse: Bring a touch of nature to her backyard with a bird feeder or charming birdhouse.

8. Wellness and Fitness Gifts

Yoga mat and accessories: Encourage her wellness journey with a quality yoga mat, blocks, and straps.

Fitness tracker: Help her stay motivated and track her workouts with a fitness tracker.

Healthy cooking appliances: Upgrade her kitchen with appliances like an air fryer, juicer, or blender for nutritious meals.

9. Sentimental Gifts

Handwritten letter or poem: Express your love and gratitude in a heartfelt letter or poem.

Memory book: Create a scrapbook filled with photos, ticket stubs, and mementos of special moments shared together.

Family tree artwork: Commission a personalized family tree illustration showcasing her heritage and loved ones.

10. Time Together

Plan a special outing: Whether it’s a picnic in the park, a hike in the mountains, or a day at the beach, spend quality time together.

Cook a meal together: Share laughs and stories while cooking her favorite meal together at home.

Charlotte shooting: 3 US Marshals killed, 5 officers injured serving warrant, 1 suspect dead


Three officers from a U.S. Marshals task force were killed, and five officers were wounded after a suspect opened fire after being served a warrant in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the afternoon, according to police.
The shooting began when a U.S. Marshals task force attempted to serve a warrant for firearm possession by a convicted felon. During a Monday evening press briefing, authorities said the suspect officers were serving the warrant on was the one who initially opened fire. That suspect, police said, was found dead.
Police believe two shooters may have been involved. They said two persons of interest were taken to the police station for further investigation. One person of interest is a 17-year-old juvenile, police said. The other is a woman.
“We have two people of interest at the police station that are being questioned right now,” Police Chief Johnny Jennings said during the presser. “And we have confirmed that the individual that was set up that we were serving the warrant on was the individual who fired the initial shots and was deceased in the front yard at the end of all of this.
A total of eight law enforcement officers were shot. Three officers from the U.S. Marshals task force – one deputy and two task force officers – were killed.

Four Charlotte police officers were injured, including one who sustained critical injuries, and another U.S. Marshals task force officer was wounded.
Jennings called the incident “the most tragic one that I’ve been involved in.
“I’ve been with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for 32 years. I can’t remember an incident where three law enforcement officers were [injured] and also three that were killed in the same incident, as well as one in critical condition and additional that were shot and injured,” he said.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) initially reported that “numerous” officers were shot at the scene in the 5000 block of Galway Drive, which is in the Shannon Park neighborhood.
All officers who were injured were transported to hospitals. At 2:23 p.m., police confirmed that a SWAT team was on the scene and urged residents to stay inside their homes.
“Avoid the area,” the police department said. “Many roads are closed for faster ambulance transport. Please cooperate with authorities
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper confirmed that his office was aware of the shooting.
“I am in contact with law enforcement concerning the tragic shooting in the Charlotte area, and we have offered state resources to help,” Cooper wrote on X.
Former FBI special agent in charge and Fox News contributor Nicole Parker spoke to Fox News Digital about the situation
These officers on this U.S. Marshals task force are the best and the brightest and the bravest. Each day when you walk out the door for work, you understand you may never make it home,” she explained.
“I cannot say it enough – Americans need to back the blue… They aren’t making huge sums of money, but their sacrifices are infinite and priceless.
Parker said violence against law enforcement officers must not be tolerated.
We must restore full support, respect and honor to those who courageously wear the badge every day and fearlessly carry out their duties,” she said.

Oklahoma police say 10-year-old boy awoke to find his parents and 3 brothers shot to death

Crime scene do not cross tape.

A 10-year-old boy awoke to find his parents and three brothers dead in their southwest Oklahoma City home, all fatally shot by his father, police said Tuesday.

On the morning, “(the boy) woke up and discovered what had happened,” said Sgt. Gary Knight, describing the scene as “carnage.”

“Make no mistake about it, what happened in that residence was nothing short of a massacre,” Knight said,

Police believe Jonathan Candy, 42, killed his wife, 39-year-old Lindsay Candy, and sons 18-year-old Dylan Candy, 14-year-old Ethan Candy and 12-year-old Lucas Candy, Knight said. He said Jonathan Candy then turned the gun on himself.

Knight said investigators believe the shooting began after an argument between the parents late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

“At some point he (Jonathan Candy) armed himself with a gun, he shot her multiple times, killing her,” Knight said. “At that point he systematically went through the home shooting and killing the children.”

Knight said the 10-year-old was placed in the custody of relatives and was physically unharmed.

Knight said the boy told investigators that he slept through the sound of the gunfire, and that there is no reason to doubt him.

“He called 911 and said he had just woke up and found the bodies,” Knight said. “The door (to his room) was closed and there was a box fan running” that would also muffle the sound.

“There is no indication he didn’t sleep through it,” Knight said.

Washington 13-year-old steals woman’s purse and punches her outside Seattle pharmacy


A 13-year-old Washington boy was arrested earlier this month after he snatched a woman’s purse at a Seattle pharmacy and punched her in the face when she confronted him, authorities said.

The incident in the 2600 block of Southwest Barton Street was captured on the pharmacy’s surveillance camera.

The video shows two teens walking up to a woman near the entrance of the pharmacy when one of the teens swipes her purse from her hands.

As the woman chases the teen outside the store, the contents of the purse are strewn onto the sidewalk. Other juveniles can be seen in the video picking up the items that fell out.

At one point in the video, the woman confronts one young suspect, who can then be seen putting his fists up and punching the woman once in the face before walking away with others.

Officers responded to reports of a strong-arm robbery, the Seattle Police Department said.

The victim told police that an employee had confronted a group of teens inside the store and accused them of not paying for merchandise.

She described how the purse snatching unfolded and reported that the teen grabbed her shirt and threw her to the ground before punching her in the face several times, police said.

Police later located the suspect and two other teens near 18th Avenue Southwest and Southwest Barton Street.

Officer-worn bodycam video shows officers approaching the 13-year-old suspect.

“Am I being detained?” the teen asked.

An officer replied that he is being detained and informed the teen that he is being arrested for robbery.

“Robbery? What the f—,” the teen can be heard saying.

As officers tried to place the suspect in handcuffs, the boy attempted to run away, police footage shows. The suspect made it only a few steps before officers grabbed him and put him in handcuffs.

The 13-year-old was booked into the Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center for investigation of robbery. The two other teens were identified and released.

Will there be seaweed, red tide on Florida beaches for Spring Break 2024?


A near-record amount of seaweed is sprouting in the Atlantic Ocean on a westward track that could bring the prickly pelagic flora to Florida later this spring.

Thankfully, no red tide has been detected at any Florida beaches. Red tide is an algae that produces a toxin that, when inhaled, can cause respiratory symptoms in people.

But University of South Florida scientists said in January that nearly 5 million metric tons of sargassum was measured in December, far above the roughly 1 million metric tons recorded at the same time the previous year.

The amount has since multiplied to about 9 million metric as tons as of last month, representing the second-highest total amount of sargassum on record for February.

While the mat of sargassum, which stretches from the Lesser Antilles to near the African coast, is moving west into the Caribbean Sea, it’s unlikely to reach Florida this month.

The March sargassum outlook from USF’s Optical Oceanography Lab says the southeast coast of Florida, including the Florida Keys, will remain largely free of sargassum until at least late April or May. That will keep the beaches clear for the annual college student pilgrimages to sites from Miami Beach to Daytona Beach to Panama City Beach.

Very little sargassum was growing in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea early this year, but it was flourishing in the western Atlantic and represented a new record amount of growth in the eastern Atlantic. The report notes that heavy cloud cover during the second half of February may have obstructed satellite capabilities meaning the value in the “eastern Atlantic may be subject to large uncertainties.”

Sargassum is a lifeline for fish nurseries, hungry migratory birds and sea turtle hatchlings seeking shelter in its buoyant saltwater blooms. But in mass quantities, it chokes life from canals, clogs boat propellers and is a killjoy at the beach, piling up several feet deep like a rotting bog emitting hydrogen sulfide as it decomposes.

It’s generally safe to swim in, but can turn the water an uninviting brown and be uncomfortable when it scratches against your skin.

“I’ve been in it to where it’s really hard to move through,” said surfer Cameron Koehler, an employee at Nomad Surf Shop near Briny Breezes in a January interview. “It can be super itchy, like a plastic feel with a bunch of little thorns.”

It’s too early to know how much seaweed will reach Florida’s beaches, if any, but it has shown up in varying degrees and depths during every major growth year, hitching a ride on the loop current to assail the Keys and areas north from Miami to Jacksonville.

Is climate change to blame for all the sargassum seaweed?

A 2020 report that included research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration linked the proliferation of sargassum in the tropical Atlantic Ocean to a 2009-2010 change to the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation, or NAO.

The negative phase of the jet stream meddling NAO means a strong shift in winds to the west and south. Those winds flushed enough sargassum out of the Sargasso Sea, which stretches from around Bermuda east to the central Atlantic, to establish a colony in the tropical Atlantic Ocean.

There, the sargassum got more sunshine and a high dose of nutrients from upwelling ocean waters, according to the report published in the journal Progress in Oceanography in March 2020.

NOAA scientists said earlier this year that it’s unknown if climate change led to the severe NAO shift in 2009-2010 but that humans help feed the sargassum bloom with higher nutrient discharges from rivers, such as the Amazon, where deforestation is occurring.

Higher rainfall amounts caused by a warmer climate can also mean more runoff from other rivers that exacerbate the bloom, including the Mississippi River and the Orinoco River in South America.

Will there be red tide in Florida for spring break?

No red tide has been detected as of March 1 at any Florida beaches, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s weekly report.

Red tide is an algae formally known as the single-cell Karenia brevis. It produces a toxin as a defense mechanism that, when inhaled, can cause respiratory symptoms in people, such as coughing, wheezing and sore throats. In marine life, it’s a killer that affects the nervous system and can cause paralysis.

In February 2023, a minuscule amount of red tide was detected near the Juno Beach Pier in mid-February, but subsequent tests showed Palm Beach County beaches clear of red tide.

What about sea life? Spring breakers should be wary of some critters

Portuguese men-of-war look like harmless purple balloons on the beach, but their lengthy tentacles can cause extreme pain if touched.

While serious reactions to a man-of-war sting are rare, if the tentacles get wrapped around a person, they can stick to the skin, causing lines of red welts that can last for several days. Tentacles can still cause stings after being broken up in rough surf or even after the man-of-war washes ashore and dies.

Although often confused with a jellyfish, the man-of-war is actually a siphonophore, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A siphonophore is composed of different organisms with various functions all working together as one.

Sargassum seaweed reported on South Florida beaches


Sargassum seaweed is washing ashore at low levels on Southeast Florida’s Atlantic beaches in 2024, according to the latest observations by the Sargassum Watch database maintained by Florida International University.

And it’s likely to stay that way until May, according to the April forecast by the University of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Laboratory.

In a normal year, the sargassum seaweed “season” on Florida beaches begins in April or May and continues into summer. Heaviest hit in most years are the Florida Keys.

Sargassum blooms arise in the Central Atlantic annually in December and drift westward into the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico during spring and summer.

The floating seaweed provides beneficial shelter from the sun and food for fish offshore, but becomes a nuisance and potential health hazards after it washes up on beaches.

Sargassum seaweed is not a new phenomena, but the 5,000-mile-wide mass recorded offshore during the spring and summer of 2023 was the largest ever recorded.

Florida’s seaweed season typically runs from April until October, peaking in June and July. The seaweed comes in batches, depending on currents and wind direction.

The seaweed itself is not harmful to humans, but decaying sargassum on beaches releases hydrogen sulfide that can impact people with breathing issues.

That said, even decaying sargassum is not considered harmful because the gases disperse quickly on breezy beaches.

New research suggests the pathogen Vibrio sticks to microplastics that merge into sargassum clusters at sea, and while the bacteria has not been detected in sargassum washing ashore, beachgoers are advised to keep their distance from seaweed clusters.

Vibrio vulnificus, one of more than 100 species of Vibrio, sometimes referred to as flesh-eating bacteria, can cause life-threatening food-borne illnesses from seafood consumption as well as disease from open-wound infections, according to the national Centers for Disease Control.

You might think the seaweed would be removed from the water before it hits our beaches, but that’s against the law because of it’s value as a shelter and food source for marine life.

Indeed, these seaweed “lines” are popular targets for anglers who troll for mahi-mahi and other gamefish.

Once the sargassum blob hits the beach, the seaweed can be removed.

Popular tourist beaches rake the seaweed each morning and remove it from beaches, but with the state’s 1,350 miles of shoreline, that’s not always possible.

Beach Cams around Florida

Sargassum seaweed arrives in waves, depending on wind direction and currents.

These links will take you to live beach cameras at popular Florida beaches so you can see for yourself in real time.

•           Jacksonville Beach (surfguru.com)

•           St. Augustine Beach (surfstationcam)

•           Flagler Beach Pier

•           Ormond by the Sea

•           Daytona Beach

•           New Smyrna Beach

•           Cocoa Beach (Jetty Park)

•           Cocoa Beach

•           Melbourne Beach (surfguru.com)

•           Sebastian Inlet (surfguru.com)

•           Deerfield Beach

•           Lauderdale-By-The-Sea (earthcam.net)

•           Fort Lauderdale Beach

•           Dania Beach

•           Hollywood Beach

•           Miami Beach

•           Key Biscayne

•           Islamorada (Beach at Amara Cay)

•           Marathon (Beach at Tranquility Bay)

•           Key West (Fort Zachary Taylor Beach)

Gulf Beaches (Panhandle to South)

•           Pensacola Beach (visit pensacola)

•           Destin (surfguru.com)

•           South Walton / 30a Beach Webcams

•           Clearwater Beach

•           Indian Shores (surfguru.com)

•           Treasure Island (surfguru.com)

•           Siesta Key

•           Venice Beach (Sharkey’s on the Pier)

•           Fort Myers Beach

•           Naples Beach

What is Sargassum?

Sargassum is a type of floating brown algae, commonly called “seaweed.” These algae float at the sea surface, never attach to the sea floor, and they can aggregate to form large mats in the open ocean.

Where does it come from?

Historically, the majority of Sargassum aggregated in the Sargasso Sea in the western North Atlantic, with some small amounts found within the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

In 2011, the geographic range expanded, and massive amounts of Sargassum moved west into the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and south tropical Atlantic, washing ashore in Florida, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and most islands and coastal areas in the Caribbean Sea.

What are the benefits of Sargassum?

Sargassum, in normal amounts, provides habitat, food, protection, and breeding grounds for hundreds of diverse marine species, including commercially important species, such as tuna and swordfish, which feed on the smaller marine life present in Sargassum mats.

If Sargassum reaches the coast in small/normal quantities, it may help to avoid beach erosion.

What are some of the drawbacks of Sargassum?

As Sargassum accumulates close to the coastlines, it can smother valuable corals, seagrass beds, and beaches. As it washes ashore the seaweed begins to decay, attracting flies and other insects.

During its breakdown, Sargassum produces hydrogen sulfide gas, which smells of rotten eggs, repelling beachgoers.

Sargassum can also impact navigation, block water intake in desalination plants, and impact benthic ecosystems after/if they sink to the bottom of the ocean.

What threats, if any, does Sargassum pose to human health?

Studies of the impact of Sargassum on human health started very recently and this is a topic that needs more time to be fully understood. However, when decomposed, Sargassum releases hydrogen sulfide (a gas) that may cause respiratory health problems. Sargassum is also known to often contain heavy metals that can be toxic to humans and animals.

What about reports of ‘flesh-eating bacteria’ in sargassum?

In the open ocean, researchers at Florida Atlantic University discovered the pathogen Vibrio sticking to microplastics that merge into sargassum clusters at sea.

Vibrio vulnificus, one of more than 100 species of Vibrio, sometimes referred to as flesh-eating bacteria, can cause life-threatening foodborne illnesses from seafood consumption as well as disease, even death, from open-wound infections, according to the national Centers for Disease Control.

Kevin Johnson of Florida Tech’s marine sciences department, says the FAU research “has not demonstrated the sargassum coming onshore is especially dangerous with regard to bacterial infection for people.

Many of the bacteria that are associated with those plastics and sargassum are already present in our environment.

“I don’t think at this point, anyone has really considered these microbes and their capability to cause infections,” says FAU biologist Tracy Mincer. “In particular, caution should be exercised regarding the harvest and processing of Sargassum biomass until the risks are explored more thoroughly.”

Sargassum removed from beaches is frequently used in fertilizers.

Does Sargassum cause skin rashes and blisters?

Sargassum does not sting or cause rashes. However, tiny organisms that live in Sargassum

(like larvae of jellyfish, sometimes called sea lice) may irritate skin if they come in contact with it.

Why did the geographic range for Sargassum expand in 2011?

Researchers are still assessing various hypotheses about the cause of this first documented extreme event.

One hypothesis proposes that during the winter of 2009–2010, the winds that typically blow to the east, from the Americas to Europe, strengthened and shifted to the south more dramatically and persistently than any other time in the 1900–2020 record.

This shift in winds triggered a long-distance eastward dispersal of Sargassum, from the Sargasso Sea, toward the Iberian Peninsula in Europe and West Africa. 

After exiting the Sargasso Sea, the Sargassum drifted southward in the Canary Current and entered the tropics.

Once in this new and favorable tropical Atlantic habitat, with ample sunlight, warm waters, and nutrient availability, the Sargassum flourished and has continued to grow.

In addition to changing wind patterns, other hypotheses include a combination of factors, such as the variation in the outflow of major rivers (e.g. Amazon and Orinoco), nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) concentration in the oceans, increase in the amount of phosphorus due to saharan dust, water temperature, and river runoffs.

Having established a new population, the Sargassum now aggregates almost every year, starting in January/February in a massive windrow or “belt” north of the Equator, along the region where the trade winds converge.

During the late winter and early spring months, the Sargassum moves northward with the seasonal winds and currents. By June, this belt may stretch across the entire central tropical Atlantic. Large portions of this algae are then transported into the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico via the North Equatorial and Caribbean current systems.

Is the amount of Sargassum in the Atlantic/Caribbean increasing?

Since 2011, large accumulations of Sargassum have occurred every year in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and tropical Atlantic, but the amount can vary from year to year.

The presence of Sargassum occurs over large areas from the tropical Atlantic in the east, to the Gulf of Mexico in the west, approximately 5,000 kilometers from the eastern tropical Atlantic to the west off the Mexican coast in the Caribbean Sea.

Sargassum does not extend as a blanket (or blob) covering the full surface of the ocean in these regions. Instead, Sargassum floats in patches that range in size from a few centimeters to hundreds of meters.

Some of these patches reach the coastal areas, including beaches, ports, and even intake systems for drinking water.  The area that these patches cover has been significantly larger in recent years than prior to 2011.

Massive blob of sargassum seaweed reaching Florida beaches


To the disappointment of Floridians and vacationers alike, a record-breaking giant blob of smelly and annoying sargassum seaweed has reached the shores of the Sunshine State after traveling for weeks over the open sea.

Piles of sargassum — an accumulation of large brown algae that floats in mass quantities — can stretch for miles across the ocean and are a beneficial habitat for marine species such as fish, sea turtles, crabs and shrimp.

But the massive chunks are an annoyance for beachgoers when the stinky mass reaches the shore, as the overabundant lumps of seaweed emit the foul, pungent scent of hydrogen sulfide as they decompose. The unbearable smell, comparable to rotten eggs, has even been known to cause respiratory issues for those with breathing problems.

And with the amount of sargassum set to increase during the peak bloom months of June and July, officials in Florida are getting nervous about its potential impacts on residents and vacationers — and on the local economy.

“Our beach could literally be clean at 8 a.m. and three to four hours later a giant mat of sargassum the size of a mall will come in like the blob, like a Stephen King movie,” Boynton Beach Ocean Rescue Chief Tom Mahady told the Palm Beach Post. “It’s not pleasant for swimmers.”

Video obtained by NPR the first week of May shows the massive sargassum bloom impacting beachgoers along the Florida Keys in Marathon, with the typically blue ocean covered several feet deep with the algae’s brownish hue.

“Onshore, the seaweed can be a nuisance, cutting off access to beaches, hampering use of coastal waters, disrupting coastal ecosystems, and making a huge, stinking mess as it decomposes,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate website states. The organization is working on a weekly risk assessment for beaches at risk of a sargassum incursion.

In April, sargassum levels in the Caribbean Sea broke records, with the massive algae belt growing to an estimated 13 million tons in size, according to the University of South Florida Optical Oceanography lab. The Caribbean Sea sargassum belt was observed at 3 million tons in size. Sargassum has also been reported on beaches in southern regions of Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

The South Florida optical oceanography lab reported in 2019 that sargassum growth is tied to higher nutrient levels in runoff from the Amazon River, as well as upwelling in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, when the water rises up from beneath the surface to replace water that was pushed away by winds blowing across the ocean surface. Upwelling in the Atlantic brings cooler water and nutrients to the surface, where sargassum grows.

Brian LaPointe, a research professor and algae expert at Florida Atlantic University, told the Palm Beach Post that sargassum overgrowth is also due to the seaweed building on itself, starting each new crop with ample seed material.

“It really becomes a problem when it piles up … it literally fills man-made canals, coming right up in front of people’s homes and surrounding docks,” LaPointe said.

The massive quantities can also clog boat propellers, impacting another popular summer activity for Florida residents and tourists.

In 2019, a buildup of sargassum at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park near Miami got it knocked off a ranking of America’s best beaches. A 2020 report by Monroe County officials stated that large sargassum growth could lead to a $20 million loss for the Key West tourism industry, leading to a loss of around 300 jobs.

Palm Beach has also fallen victim to the bothersome seaweed in recent years, with town council member Bobbie Lindsay commenting that the beach was “unusable” for much of last summer due to the rotten smell and the sargassum “scratching your thighs” as residents and tourists walked the beach.

To combat the growth this time, Palm Beach officials plan to either bury the sargassum on the island’s north end — or remove it entirely if there is too much to bury. Another suggestion, made by LaPointe, was to keep the seaweed in “floating barriers” off the coast, something areas of the Keys have begun to use, along with Mexico’s Tulum National Park.

Others are attempting out-of-the-box ideas to combat the growth, including the U.K. group, Seaweed Generation, and its AlgaRay autonomous robot, which could drag sargassum patches into the ocean and sink the algae 1,000 meters below the surface. The AlgaRay technology is still in its pilot phase but could be ready to operate as soon as 2024.

“It’s a bit like a seaweed Roomba,” Seaweed Generation CEO Paddy Estridge told NPR. “It goes through the water very, very slowly and, a bit like Pac-Man, scoops up the seaweed.”