For better or worse; The relationship between red tide and hurricanes

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:

Florida’s beauty also comes with hurricanes and red tide, but after Hurricane Ida slammed into Louisiana, the red tide seems to be dispersing from our coast.

You may recall, after Hurricane Irma hit Southwest Florida, the red tide and blue-green algae came soon right after.

“It’s part of life around here,” said Rep. Adam Botana (R) District 76, “so you just have to kind of adapt and go with it.”

Botana’s family owns Bay Water Boat Club and Rentals in Bonita Springs, and with a new marina expansion underway, business has been good.

“We needed the bounce-back after 2018, with the blue-green algae blooms and the red tide,” Botana added.

Lucky for him, the red tide seems to be slowing down in parts of Southwest Florida.

But we ask, did Hurricane Ida have anything to do with it?

Dr. Mike Parsons is a marine science professor with The Water School at FGCU. He said, “I think it’s too soon to tell.”

He doesn’t expect Ida would have much of an impact here but says there may be a relationship between hurricanes and red tide, “It might not be a linear relationship where, as rainfall increases, red tide increases, it might be more of rainfall reaches a certain critical amount, and then it can have an effect.”

Waves might play a role too.

“During a hurricane or some other event that creates a lot of wave action, it will actually harm red tide, it’ll break up the cells, and so it can reduce the bloom,”Parsons explained. “But then it releases the toxin into the water into the air, which is a different problem.”
Interestingly enough, after hurricanes Irma and Charley, our area experienced red tide outbreaks.

Time will tell as research continues on red tide and how it develops on our coasts.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.