NewsPinellas County


Offshore winds lessening red tide impacts in Pinellas Co.

Red tide free Fred Howard Beach park busy
Posted at 5:23 PM, Sep 21, 2018

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Conditions along Pinellas County beaches on Friday were drastically improving as crews work to stay ahead of the toxic algae bloom.

Offshore winds seem to be pushing dead fish away from beaches and the Intracoastal. Cleanup crews tell ABC Action New they had a hard time even finding dead fish to pick up Friday afternoon.

Water tests also show lower levels of red tide along miles of shoreline. 

Yet, some families are not taking any chances and spent the day at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs, which is one of the few beaches in Pinellas County that hasn't had any impacts from red tide.

The Whitehead family may be staying on Clearwater Beach, but instead of visiting the beach 5 minutes away, they drove 45 minutes north to Fred Howard Park just to be extra safe.

“We have our two-year-old daughter with us, and when you’re second guessing if you’re putting someone in harm's way, that’s not why you go on vacation,” Corry Whitehead explained while building sandcastles on the beach.

Fred Howard Beach has been packed over the past two weeks with people making the trek North to escape red tide.

Wheel Fun Rentals employee Shawn Boekel is staying busy. Typically the kayak and bicycle rental stand is closed this time of year during the week, but since red tide hit other Pinellas County Beaches, they’re back to a full-time schedule. “I'm very thankful because otherwise, I wouldn’t be working right now," Boekel explained.

The rest of Pinellas County also getting lucky with offshore winds pushing dark water away from all of the beaches. 

“We really hope people come out and enjoy the beach because I think you’ve got the opportunity to do that right now," contractor Jay Gunter with DRC Emergency Services explained.

Businesses owners tell ABC Action News they're cautiously optimistic too, after an extremely painful two weeks. 

“It really hurts to send people home, cut hours back, so I’m excited for visitors to return," explained Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard's Marina in John's Pass.