High levels of red tide were detected at Venice Beach, Service Club Park, Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Beach, Caspersen Beach, Manasota Key, and Blind Pass.
SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. – Health leaders in Sarasota County have issued another red tide warning just days after lifting it.
Water samples now show elevated levels at Venice Beach, Service Club Park, Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Beach, Caspersen Beach, Manasota Key, and Blind Pass.
Sarasota Health Department officials recommend that people sensitive to red tide or experiencing symptoms avoid the beach or enter an air-conditioned space.
“Some people may have mild, short-lived respiratory symptoms, such as eye, nose, and throat irritation, such as those associated with the common cold or seasonal sinus allergies. Some people with existing respiratory problems, such as asthma, may experience more severe effects,” Sarasota DHHS wrote in a news release.
Meanwhile, local marine researchers said what ocean currents do over the next few days will make a big difference in whether the red tide moves up the coast to Tampa Bay.
Florida Gulf Coast University marine biology professor in the School of Water, Michael Parsons, is an expert on algal blooms. He said predicting red tide movement is similar to predicting any weather pattern, as the direction of currents is determined by a combination of wind and tidal currents.
“It’s almost like watching a hurricane, right? So what’s the hurricane track going to do? Is that coming toward you or is it going away from you? So it’s similar to that. And is it intensifying or is it dissipating? ” Parsons said.
He said the strength of the red tide bloom is determined by what the algae can feed on.
Now, Parsons and other researchers are studying to see how freshwater runoff from Hurricane Ian will affect the strength of the blooms.
“[Karenia brevis] I don’t like fresh water. So, as freshwater continues to discharge from all the rain and flooding from Hurricane Ian, these conditions may not be favorable to the red tide if the water is still too cool as they move toward the coast. So that’s not going to be good for them,” Parsons said.
However, he said it’s possible the runoff could also have the opposite effect.
“If the waters are getting diluted and mixing with the ocean water, maybe there are enough nutrients left in the water that are salty enough to help them grow, which could intensify the bloom,” he said. Parsons said.
Parsons said researchers will also compare what they’re seeing after Hurricane Ian to how Hurricane Irma affected the red tide.