Red Tide hitting southern counties harder due to warmer water temps

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Red Tide is putting a damper on outdoor plans this weekend.

It’s something new to Vicki Moore, who is visiting from Chicago.

“We weren’t familiar with Red Tide, so we were googling it to see why we were coughing so much and found out that it is a real thing,” she said. “It doesn’t seem to stop any of the locals. I mean, there were kids playing in the water.”

Moore first visited Bonita on Wednesday and says it’s already getting better.

“Wednesday when we got here, it was definitely significantly worse. Today is not so bad. I have a little bit of a cough,” Moore said.

Many say the coughing is more of an annoyance and not something that will keep them away.

“I started coughing and I didn’t really think anything of it, but then I heard every single person around me coughing too and it’s really weird,” said beach goer Alissa Pichardo.

But what’s causing the Red Tide to concentrate in some areas rather than in others?

“A lot of it has to do with currents, tides, wind direction and of course physical boundaries,” said Mote Marine scientist Tracy Fanara.

Even the water temperature can play a role. The temperature at Bonita Beach is currently 83 degrees.

Fanara says that number is on the edge of an extreme range for algae growth.

“The southern counties in the Gulf, we are not reaching those lower temperatures so that could be a reason why the bloom is more prominent further south,” she adds.

As for Moore, she says the conditions are not enough to keep her off Bonita Beach.

“Once we even just backed up a little bit or turned our backs toward the wind, it was significantly better,” Moore said.

Experts say you shouldn’t experience any long-term effects from Red Tide, but scientists recommend checking the local conditions before you pick what beach you go to.

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