SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Though experts had predicted southern movement thanks to currents and a prevailing wind, red tide has crept further north in Sarasota County, now being detected as far north as Siesta Beach.
In the latest red tide report, water samples from Siesta Beach had very low to low concentrations while beaches further south along the Gulf Coast had medium to high concentrations.
Fish kills and respiratory irritation were reported in Sarasota County, as well as Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties.
Though red tide has moved a little further north, experts still emphasize that this is not like last year’s outbreak.
“It’s a combination of a lot of different things, the physical environment, the west Florida shell, the bloom starts offshore then move inshore, have access to 13 different nutrients,” Dr. Cynthia Heil, the Director of Red Tide Institute of Mote Marine Laboratory said. “This particular year it has been right on schedule. It started in Naples and it’s slowly moving to the north.”
“[This] red tide is so patchy that one beach will be impacted. It’s just likely the beach a mile or two [away] won’t be. So it’s always a good idea to check the forecast before you go.”
USF-FWC Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides predict net southwestern movement of surface waters and net southeastern transport of subsurface waters in most areas over the next four days.
A full report from FWC will be released on Friday.
If you’re considering going to the beach, you can see the daily red tide sample map from the FWC here. You can also call 866-300-9399 at any time from anywhere in Florida to hear a recording about red tide conditions throughout the state.
It’s important to remember that beach conditions, even with red tide present in the water, can vary, particularly if the wind is blowing towards the Gulf. You can see daily beach condition reports at visitbeaches.org