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Coastal waters are warmer than usual, raising concern for flesh-eating bacteria

Posted at 10:36 PM, Jun 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 23:41:32-04

 

 

The Texas Coast is known for it’s year-round warm waters; but how warm is too warm? Kris 6 reporter Catherine McGinty takes a look at the rising water temperatures in the gulf and what that means.

If you have been out to Padre Island recently and swam in the gulf, you may have noticed the water is even warmer than usual. The temperature of the water in the Gulf of Mexico today is 85 degrees Fahrenheit and that number is only expected to grow in the months to come.

Doctor Mckinney with the Harte research institute for Gulf of Mexico studies says that our water temperatures are about two months ahead of schedule.

“this time of year it should be 83, 82.. something like that,” Mckinney told us, “if it continues this way, if in August for example, when we usually have 85, and it’s closer into the maybe 87, that range. that will be really really high. very scary actually.”

These temperatures are a concern for many reasons: more potential for red tide which is a harmful algal bloom, and Vibrio, which is a flesh-eating bacteria that has already been seen locally. 

Tropical storms and hurricanes are just big heat engines; more heat brings more intensity and more issues.

The last time the gulf set a record high for water temperature was 2017 when Hurricane Harvey touched down on the Texas coast.