Sea foam buries towns along Australia’s east coast

Townships along Australia's east coast were buried under up to four feet of sea foam today as the waves were whipped up into a frothy messy by powerful winds from Tropical Cyclone Oswald.

Similar to what happened in Scotland back in September, this ocean 'spume' is caused when strong winds mix air into the waves, and mucus from tiny plants floating in the surface layer of the ocean, called phytoplankton, is whipped up into a meringue-like foam.

[ Related: Australia floods kill 4, soak thousands of homes ]

Locals stunned by ocean foamBig waves and rough seas have created a build up of sea foam along a beach at Alexandria Headland.

While the foam itself is harmless, and many younger Australians took the opportunity to have some fun in the froth, it did cause some problems, shutting down a few towns and creating hazardous conditions for both drivers and pedestrians.

Oswald's effects on other parts of the country have been devastating.

[ Related: Cities are affecting weather thousands of kms away, study shows ]

Flooding in some regions of Queensland is so bad that there have been several deaths, homes are being washed away in flood currents and people are being air-lifted off their rooftops to safety. In Brisbane, the state's capital, hundreds of roads are closed by flood waters and over 200,000 homes are without power, according to The Guardian.

Oswald is already an 'extra-tropical' cyclone, meaning that it has moved beyond the ocean currents that normally feed heat into tropical cyclones, but it is still packing quite the punch as it continues to work its way south along Australia's east coast.

The extreme weather has provided some spectacular images on the Sunshine Coast with foam being stirred up by the wild waves hitting Maroochydore.
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Seven Media Group - News
Sun, 27 Jan, 2013 8:09 PM EST

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