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Water-Related News

Could red tide become a problem after Hurricane Ian?

As Florida continues to clean up in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, experts are eyeing water quality along the Gulf Coast.

ST. PETERSBURG – Researchers and scientists along the Gulf coast are monitoring water conditions in the Tampa Bay area in case red tide starts to emerge.

“This is a different storm, much bigger, much more rainfall, much more widespread damage. So we're really not sure exactly what the heck is going to happen,” said David Tomasko, the executive director of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program.

Tomasko says they are monitoring very unusual conditions in Sarasota Bay.

“The whole bottom of our bays are receiving very little oxygen, and at the same time, the surface waters seem to be having an algal bloom. So we have an algal bloom of the brackish water on the top, and then we have low oxygen across what appears to be a very large area along the bottom,” he said.

There are more than 800 miles of beach along the Gulf coast. While red tide hasn't been detected yet, the reverse storm surge and all the wastewater flowing into the Gulf make future implications unclear.