Tossa de Mar is an absurdly beautiful vacation town in Catalonia, Spain. It’s got clear blue water views, a variety of European cuisines, and for a limited time only, massive amounts of weird ass sea foam.
A powerful storm blasted the region on Tuesday, turning the ocean into a tempest. That whipped up a thick blanket of sea foam that covered buildings and streets in Tossa de Mar on Tuesday, making everything look like a cartoon where someone used too much laundry detergent. The high winds flung it high into the air, spreading it through entire apartment blocks.
The videos of the foam overtaking the town are unreal. Imagine going on a resort vacation and waking up to this.
Sea foam is created when organic matter in sea water gets shaken up. It occurs naturally, put pollution from fossil fuels, sewage and detergents can make it thicker, stickier, and grosser. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it’s not generally harmful to humans and can actually be a sign of a healthy ecosystem, but there are exceptions when it comes to big algal blooms that decay near shore and release toxins.
Authorities say the sea foam probably isn’t dangerous, just surreal. But the storm behind the foam madness has been a serious one for the Catalonian coast. Storm Gloria has killed five people, wrecked beach facilities, blocked roads and caused power outages according to the BBC. The head of Barcelona’s Beach Service said the storm is the “worst experienced this century.”
Storm Gloria continued its jaunt inland, leaving behind a trail of destruction. It unleashed heavy snowfall in Ávila, northwest of Madrid, and Alicante, just south of Valencia. The BBC reports that a 63-year-old man in Ávila province was killed by flying roof tiles, and a 54-year-old homeless woman near Valencia froze to death. It’s not over yet, either. In the coming days, Storm Gloria is expected to cause huge floods in southern France.
Compared to all that, a town full of foam in the street isn’t so bad.