Southerly winds blew the toxins of an algae bloom in the Gulf of Mexico right into the faces of beachgoers in Pass-a-Grille this weekend.
The bloom was in a "high concentration" off the Pinellas County coast this weekend, according to Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. People on vacation in Pass-a-Grille tell ABC Action News they were especially affected on Friday and Saturday when the winds directed the irritating toxins their way.
"We started coughing and our landlord said, 'Oh, it's red tide,'" said Karen Simpson of her experience getting to Pass-a-Grille on Saturday. "She said, 'Keep your mouth shut and you won't breath in the fumes.'"
The micro-organism that blooms in the Gulf is known to release a toxin that can kill fish life and cause respiratory irritation for people who breathe it in.
This particular bloom is rather far off the coast, and the FWC says it appears to be moving even further away. Biologists with FWC were seen recently at Pass-a-Grille testing the water.