Does a Gulf Hurricane Mean More Sharks at Gulf Coast Beaches?
Louisiana residents like most residents of the Gulf Coast are keeping an eye on what Mother Nature is developing off the western tip of Cuba this morning. Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center are monitoring that area of the globe because of the presence of Tropical Storm Idalia. That storm is forecast to become a hurricane within the next several hours.
Then it's supposed to get even stronger.
As of now, forecast guidance suggests a landfall in the "Big Bend" of Florida. That would basically be the coastline between Tampa Bay to the south and Apalachicola to the north and west. The storm is forecast to cross the coast during the early hours of Wednesday as a major hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
Meanwhile, back to the west on the "good side" of the storm. Those who know hurricanes know what the "good side" means. We are not anticipating a lot of effects from Idalia. We will see an increase in winds across the area on Wednesday which could enhance the fire danger across the region. But, that is really all we are anticipating.
Now, what about those of you who have Labor Day plans to visit the beaches of Lower Alabama and the Florida panhandle? The storm should not bring any significant damage to those beaches. But as you can see in the graphic provided by the National Weather Service Office in Mobile/Pensacola rip currents will be on the increase as the storm approaches and makes landfall.
Granted rip currents are a great reason to stay out of the water but there has been another issue that's affected our ability to enjoy the beach this year. The beaches of the Redneck Riviera have had what seems to be an inordinate amount of shark sightings and encounters. No, there haven't been any significant injuries reported but still, spotting a shark at Orange Beach is not what any of us want to see with our kids in the water.
Do Hurricanes Push Sharks and Other Dangerous Sea Creatures Closure to Shore?
The answer as far as animals that can swim swiftly are concerned is no. They will not congregate at the shore ahead of an approaching storm. Animals such as sharks and whales simply swim to calmer waters and then return once the storm has passed.
Are There More Sharks at the Beach After a Hurricane Has Passed?
That depends on the size of the shark. The smaller species of shark tended to swim away from the affected area. However, the findings about larger species of sharks could be a little unnerving for those planning a beach trip this weekend.
That study of larger sharks, the ones that are most likely to take a bite out of you, suggests that after a major storm, many of those species actually will swarm. Those who conducted the study suggested the agitated water near the coast stirred up scavenging opportunities and put more "food in the water".
Obviously, there will be more studies on this kind of animal behavior and to be honest, I don't think anyone heading to 30-A or LA (Lower Alabama) will have an issue with sea creatures. The rip current I would pay attention to them and make sure you're watching those beach warning flags for your specific beach area.