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FWC Says More Time Needed To Analyze Tropical Storm Gordon's Effect On Red Tide Bloom

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Authorities are still not sure if recent tropical storm Gordon has any effect to the algae bloom that has been endangering marine life in Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently collected water samples from multiple counties to assess the algae bloom after the cyclone brought sustained winds and persistent rains in the Gulf Coast.

Drifting Away

According to the FWC, the red tide, which has lingered in the area for months, has drifted slightly from the shore. The overall concentration of Karenia brevis, the organism responsible for the red tide, is lower in some areas compared to last week.

Pinellas County recorded background to high concentrations of K. brevis in an offshore while Hillsborough County had low to high levels of the organism offshore. In Manatee County, authorities reported background to medium concentration and Sarasota County was at the background to high concentration following the tropical storm.

While the tropical storm previously helped persistent and long-standing algae blooms, the FWC is still unsure whether Gordon had something to do with the seemingly improving red tide. The tropical storm, which swept over Florida on Labor Day, had a maximum sustained wind of 70 miles per hour — not enough to be classified as a category one hurricane — when it made a landfall west of Alabama-Mississippi on Tuesday, Aug. 4.

"Persistent surface currents over the past several days have likely played a role in transporting cells of K. brevis to the northwest," stated the FWC. "At this time, we don't know what the impacts of the tropical storm are/were on the red tide, but we continue to work with partners and staff to better assess this."

Red Tide In Florida Coast

Despite reports that the red tide has slightly drifted away from the shore, it still poses a health threat to marine animals and the local community. High concentrations of K. brevis off the coasts of Pinellas, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier can cause respiratory distress in humans. The bloom can also still kill fish.

Several reports of fish kills have already been reported in Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and Lee counties were received over the past few days.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in July following months of a toxic red tide that is killing marine life on the west coast. Tons of fishes, almost a hundred manatees, and dozens of dolphins have reportedly died because of the K. brevis bloom. The authorities are still investigating what triggered the red tide.

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