Pinellas County Now Gives Red Tide Respiratory Forecasts

Oct 31, 2018
Originally published on February 8, 2019 11:21 am

Pinellas County is publishing regular respiratory forecasts for its beaches online, as toxic red tide blooms still linger.

The state said Friday that red tide organisms have, again, increased from Pinellas south to Lee County over the past week.

Toxic red tide blooms cause respiratory issues for people, so Pinellas County started working with state and federal partners recently to experiment with a respiratory forecast tool.

Kelli Levy, division director for Pinellas County Environmental Management, said it's a good way to understand how conditions change throughout the day.

"For the average beach-goer, it's a great way to check and just be sure wherever you're choosing to go is a good decision for that day," she said.

Levy said every three hours it produces a 24-hour forecast based on the red tide concentration, and the wind.

"It tells us when the wind is gonna shift, and that's really the critical part-- when the wind is gonna shift onshore that's when we know conditions not only respiratory conditions are going to be bad," she said.

"We could also see a lot of dead fish and other material coming up on the beach, but then when it goes back offshore and we know that conditions may be improving."

Click here to keep tabs on red tide in Pinellas.

Copyright 2019 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7. To see more, visit WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7.