Water-Related News

Large plume of brown water from Elsa seen moving into the Gulf of Mexico

LEE COUNTY – Discolored water from Tropical Storm Elsa was seen over the Gordon River in Naples as it meets the Gulf of Mexico. The same thing is happening in Lee County.

A similar plume meeting the waters of the Gulf of Mexico was seen at the Sanibel Causeway, as the freshwater makes its way from the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River.

When Dr. Barry Rosen from Florida Gulf Coast University’s Water School first saw the aerial photos of the brown water, he wasn’t surprised.

“I think that’s a very natural phenomenon that happens when you have relatively clean ocean water and then you have a big runoff that happens,” he said.

That big runoff was caused by Tropical Storm Elsa, which dumped up to 12 inches of water over Lee County. As the floodwaters recede, they bring with them organic material, turning the water brown.

“The Caloosahatchee River or any of the smaller tributaries to the ocean you would see that kind of coloration,” Rosen added.