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Areas hit hard by red tide getting a slight boost in business from Hurricane Florence evacuees

Posted at 10:47 PM, Sep 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-14 03:55:31-04

ANNA MARIE ISLAND, Fla. -- A family from South Carolina planned on canceling their Florida vacation because of red tide. But, with a hurricane headed towards their coastal community, they rolled the dice.

"There’s an irony there definitely, but I think we made the best decision," Debi Pifer said.  

Pifer said her son and grandchildren are visiting Anna Maria Island from Beaufort County, South Carolina.  

"It’s scary; it’s scary when you look at how close we are to the shoreline," Pifer said. "With the wind and rain trees will fall.  We have a lot of old trees. Those have been around forever so who knows what can fall off and when."

Despite the winds, flooding, and storm surge Pifer said she is most worried about her daughter-in-law they left behind. She is a 911 operator for the sheriff's office and is riding out the storm to make sure she can dispatch first responders to where they are needed the most.

The red tide is still present on the island, but, the smell and breathing problems are all but gone. Pifer said she couldn't have asked for a better day at the beach.

"We haven’t had any problem at all," Pifer said. "You can’t even tell. You can see the wind is blowing, you don’t smell anything there’s nothing to smell."

Islanders said that things are slowly getting back to normal. But, they are still battling with the perception that red tide is still causing massive fish kills.