How a tropical system could impact salinity levels and blue-green algae in the Mississippi Sound

Wind direction has a lot to do with it
Wind direction has a lot to do with it
Updated: Jul. 7, 2019 at 6:55 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Could a tropical storm or hurricane help improve the salinity levels and clear the algae out of the Mississippi Sound?

While no one wishes for a tropical system to impact anyone, a weak one coming from the right direction could be beneficial.

According to Dr. Monty Graham from the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi, it is more about the wind direction than mixing of waters.

He says a weak tropical system making landfall to our east around Mobile could help improve conditions in the Mississippi Sound.

The reason is because that would put South Mississippi on the west, dry side of the tropical system with north winds.

North winds help push the fresh water trapped in the Mississippi Sound into the Gulf of Mexico.

That would help salinity levels increase.

This could also help reduce the harmful blue-green algae bloom because it is not very tolerant of high salinity levels.

However, if a tropical system made landfall over or west of South Mississippi, that would put the area at risk for the negative impacts a tropical storm or hurricane can bring.

In general, a south wind traps the fresh water in the Mississippi Sound.

In addition, if heavy rain fell over the watersheds of the Pearl, Wolf, or Pascagoula Rivers, that would result in more freshwater intrusion in the Mississippi sound which could drop salinity levels again.

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