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Red tide likely to stick around Bay Area

USF Distinguished Professor Robert Weisberg says there's potential for red tide to continue this fall.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — While red tide has become more widespread, it also appears to be lingering. USF Distinguished Professor Robert Weisberg studies oceanography and how the water moves and circulates. He’s been studying red tide since 1998. 

While blooms usually pop up in the fall, the red tide that’s in and around Tampa Bay started off the coast of Sanibel earlier this year, then made its way north. He says what's happening here is unusual and likely not going away any time soon.

“It’s not unlikely that in early fall, we will see additional cells coming from offshore that will add constructively to what’s already here so this may be another really bad year,” Weisberg said.

Back in 2018, red tide lingered around Bay area beaches for much of the year.

“The insidious nature of the creature is that by killing fish, it actually adds nutrients to the water column that the red tide can then utilize. So once we get one it’s hard to get rid of it because it’s very happy,” Weisberg said.

He does believe Piney Point played a factor in the bloom. Check out the Piney Point Effluent Evolution map

“Otherwise, we would have had low concentrations of the organism here simply by the winds that drove it north from the Sanibel region, but I don’t think it would have taken off to the levels that we’re seeing right now,” Weisberg said.

Check out the Red Tide Prediction and Tracking on the West Florida Shelf

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