ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Another beautiful, warm Friday in the Tampa Bay area might have you penciling in some time at the beach.
Before you go, you'll want to check red tide conditions.
On Friday, the National Weather Service issued a Beach Hazard Statement for coastal northern and southern Pinellas County because of the red tide in the area.
The NWS said there's a chance for respiratory irritation from the algae bloom to impact people in some coastal areas.
The Beach Hazard Statement from the NWS is in effect until 10 p.m. Saturday. That doesn't necessarily mean the red tide will be gone by then. The organism that causes red tide, Karenia brevis, has filled many Tampa Bay-area waterways with dead marine life and the smell that comes along with it for weeks now.
Some locations are worse than others — Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater has a handy tool on its website detailing the latest red tide conditions.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium also has a nifty map tool that shows information about Southwest Florida beaches during red tide events. You can see whether there are dead fish, whether beachgoers are experiencing respiratory irritation and what color the water is.
The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System has an experimental map you can use to zoom in and out on several beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. This predicts the risk of respiratory irritation given wind and ocean current forecasts.
The consequences of high levels of red tide mean a greater die-off of marine life and severe respiratory irritation to anyone who visits the area. Pinellas County on Thursday reported at least 1,442 tons of dead sea life have been collected.
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