Will red tide bloom travel north toward Tampa Bay?

Sarasota County

MANASOTA BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – For many in the Tampa Bay area, it’s still a bad memory – but red tide is back.

After it formed offshore about a month ago, it’s been drifting north from Naples.

John Gokey had big plans for Friday on Manasota Beach.

“All intentions of surfing, but that may be off for the day,” said Gokey.

A surprise guest spoiled his fun.

“The garish, yellow color to the water seems to indicate red tide again,” said Gokey.

Virtually overnight, the harmful algae bloom appeared after drifting north. It brought with it brackish water and left behind dead fish lining the seashore.

“I like being in the water, but until this red tide moves either north or south, I’m going to stay out of it,” said beachgoer Walter Williams.

The latest map from FWC shows this bloom is present from Marco Island to Venice. Very low concentrations were found offshore from Pinellas County.

“The good news is it’s not predicted to move any far northward in the near future,” said Cynthia Heil, the director of the Mote Marine Lab Red Tide Institute.

Heil says the winds and tides will keep the bloom at bay. These blooms are typical this time of year and often only last 2 to 5 months.

“Last year was very abnormal, very atypical for a red tide,” said Heil.

The devastating bloom in 2018 was a once-a-decade type of event, so Heil says beachgoers should not be fearful. Instead, just check conditions before heading out.

Meanwhile, at Manasota beach, everyone is hoping this will soon pass.

“Hopefully the north winds will take it back to Naples where it came from. Sorry Naples!” said Gokey.

Click here to track the latest beach conditions.


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