Florida beaches left stinking after Hurricane Laura sends seafloor critters washing ashore

Thousands of seafloor critters are now rotting in the sun after Hurricane Laura washed them ashore

Hurricane Laura may have stayed far away from Florida's Gulf Coast, but the storm's strong waves have left a stinking remnant behind.

Thousands of gray, fleshy looking clusters have appeared on beaches in southern Pinellas County since last week, which are now rotting in the sun.

"We could smell it as soon as we walked on," Ray Allain told Bay News 9 at Pass-a-Grille Beach.

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The grey clusters are what is actually known as sea squirts that are typically on the seafloor.

Sea squirts are typically on the seafloor but can be washed to shore during big storms.

Sea squirts are typically on the seafloor but can be washed to shore during big storms. (iStock)

Photos from a Bay News 9 reporter showed them lining the beaches.

University of South Florida College of Marine Science professor Teresa Greely told WFTS-TV the powerful currents from Laura washed the heavy shell clusters to shore.

"They’re decomposing right now. That’s why we have this really noticeable smell right now on the beach," she said.

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That smell was too much for some over the weekend. Beachgoer Chris Bennett told Bay News 9 that people were "gone immediately" after the stench hit them.

"They just didn't want to endure the smell," he said.

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The smell is expected to stick around for the next couple of days as the sea critters continue to decay in the hot sun, the Tampa Bay Times reported.