Panama City, FL –
SANTA ROSA BEACH, FL (WMBB) – It’s been three years since the beaches of Panhandle faced the red tide, but it’s back.
The harmful algal bloom, called Karenia brevis, releases a toxin that can irritate the respiratory systems.
Common side effects include itchy skin, a sore throat, cough, and a burning sensation in the eyes, nose, and throat.
During large blooms, the water will turn a reddish-brown color and kill marine life.
Beachgoers have reported a red tide in the South Walton Fire District, prompting officials to post warnings on Facebook and hoist purple flags.
“We are also, of course, following the findings of the National Weather Service and the testing done by the Florida Fish and Wildlife in the water,” said Mackenzie McClintock, public information officer for the SWFD. “When these scientific bodies report a red tide, we’ll follow that. Once our rescuers have experienced it in person, then it’s our signal to hoist the purple flag and let everyone know that this has become a problem.
Some said they felt the effects stronger over the weekend.
“I have never experienced anything like the red tide on Saturday,” said Janice Kroutter, a swimmer. “Burning eyes, sneezing, coughing looks like it’s been stuck in red pepper or something… but I come here four or five times a year and I’ve never seen this before. “
McClintock said the red tide can vary from day to day, and even hour to hour.
“Depending on where the tide blooms strongly throughout the day, you may feel it more on the east end in the morning and more on the west end in the evening, but it is widespread at this point, it is why you see a purple flag all 26 miles of our beach, ”said McClintock.
The South Walton Fire District posts daily flag updates on their Facebook page and said that if you start to feel seriously ill from the red tide it is always safer to seek help.
Red tide resurgence in South Walton and Bay County Source link Red tide resurgence in South Walton and Bay County