Giant “Red Tide” Hits Florida


( – Florida is known for its warm beaches, love of freedom, and bold governor. But, many people flocking to the shores of the southern state will find it less than ideal at the moment. Red algae have been blooming off and on for years in both Florida and Texas, but it usually stays in manageable amounts. Now, the harmful Karenia brevis is growing all over, creating a toxic environment for marine life and compromising air quality for others nearby.

The harmful algal bloom Karenia brevis is growing out of control along the Florida coast, especially in the southwest portions of the state. It is killing fish and making the eyes burn of people nearby. Some have also reported coughs, difficulty breathing, and sneezing they believe is connected to the algae. A festival called Beachfest, scheduled to occur at Indian Rocks Beach has been canceled, despite the event being a month out.

While many people are staying away from the stinky algae, one tourist from Toronto recently told WFLA that she “would rather have that than the snow, so it’s great being down here.” Some people have managed to make the best of it, but something else on the horizon may make it even more difficult to enjoy the salty breeze down south.

It turns out an enormous blob of seaweed is heading toward Florida. When out at sea, it provides a breeding ground for turtles, crabs, and fish. But, if its current trajectory continues, it could wash up on Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, start to rot and create toxic fumes. The blob is thousands of miles long and can be seen from space.

These naturally occurring phenomena could have an enormous impact on Florida tourism by keeping a significant percentage of the millions of locals and vacationers away from the beaches they typically enjoy during the summer.

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