An intense storm that has dumped a month's worth of rain on the United Kingdom in just a day, flooding parts of the country, has also caused a rather unusual event on the North Sea coast. Yesterday, as rain and winds lashed at Aberdeen, Scotland, a small fishing village at the east end of Aberdeen's harbour known as Footdee — or 'Fittie' to the locals — became covered in a thick layer of foam that blew in off the ocean.
"I have lived in Footdee since just before 2000, you get storms of course," said Lindsay Gordon, who lives right on the shore front in Footdee, according to BBC News.
"You could tell by the sounds this was a serious storm, the windows were rattling." he added. "I looked out of the window and the North Sea was advancing toward us. Luckily it was just foam."
Looking like a layer of meringue spread over the area, the undulating mass of sand-filled 'spume' was waist-deep in some places, but residents were assured that the foam posed no danger and would wash away with the rain.
"The sea is acting like a washing machine," said Professor Chris Todd of the University of St Andrews' Scottish Oceans Institute, referring to how the combination of strong winds and waves was mixing air into the water with natural organic materials.
"It is likely there are phytoplankton cells and they produce a lot of mucus which when whipped up can form this foam." he added.
Phytoplankton — or microalgae — are microscopic plants that float in the top layer of the ocean. The Aberdeen area often experiences blooms of these microalgae in spring and fall.
The rain and winds will continue from this storm for today, but it looks like better weather for the UK for tomorrow.