Record high temperatures are not helping to put an end to red tide. Although an offshore wind is lessening the impacts of the bloom on Pinellas County beaches, University of South Florida Marine Biologists say the toxic algae bloom is now 7 times the size of Tampa Bay. The bloom lingers off Pinellas County's coastline.
Nearly everyone has the same question: When will red tide go away?
“I hope that it’s gone pretty soon,” Terry Dilk said while sitting on St. Pete Beach with friends. Dilk is paying especially close attention to figure out his retirement plans. “I’m thinking about moving down here from Indiana. I don’t want to see this happen frequently.”
The red tide doesn’t do much to encourage him to pack his bags. “It may change my plans about coming down here,” Dilk said with a sigh.
ABC Action News set out to find answers inside FWC’s biology labs, where scientists are testing hundreds of water samples a day. Scientists are counting each harmful cell and noting the presence of red tide on a mission to stop it from spreading.
“We’re getting much closer I think because we are getting a better understanding of where these blooms start and how they progress,” explained FWC Scientist Kate Hubbard.
USF's College of Marine Biology is even using an underwater robotic drone to track the bloom.
Scientists are hopeful that by studying the red tide bloom, which now stretches 160 miles, they’ll be able to figure out how to stop or slow down the next one.
“I hope they come up with some answers and make it all go away,” Dilk said with an uplifting tone.