PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A Beach Hazard Statement is in place for Pinellas, coastal Manatee and coastal Sarasota counties because of red tide. The National Weather Service issued the advisory on Thursday morning just before noon.
A Beach Hazard Statement informs beachgoers and local authorities of a multitude of hazards. In this case, NWS is warning of the respiratory irritation that can occur from red tide.
The hazard is in place through 10 p.m. on Friday.
- Doctors see an influx of patients with red tide irritant symptoms
- Pinellas County halts fish kill clean-up as red tide begins to dissipate on beaches
- Scientists in Sarasota are concerned red tide may have long term effects on the human brain
- Red tide in Tampa Bay raises questions over food safety
In its latest red tide update, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission noted that in the past week K. brevis was observed at low to high concentrations in and offshore of Pinellas County in 23 samples, background to high concentrations in Manatee County in 13 samples and background to high concentrations in and offshore of Sarasota County in 32 samples.
Red tide, or harmful algal bloom, is a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga (plantlike organism). In Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, the species that causes most red tides is Karenia brevis, often abbreviated as K. brevis.
FWC says wave action can break open K. brevis cells and release brevetoxins into the air, which can cause respiratory irritation.
NWS says symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, and tearing eyes. People with asthma, emphysema or any chronic lung disease may be more sensitive. Irritation may vary by the beach and throughout the day.