Preliminary Results Indicate the Presence of Red Tide Organism In Palm Beach County Waters

According to samples taken by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Karenia Brevis organism, which is the species that causes most red tides in Florida, is at least present within the coastal waters of Palm Beach County. What is still unknown at this time is how high of a concentration is currently in the water. More information will be released upon final results. Additional information will be released this afternoon regarding the status of Palm Beach County beaches.

Photo courtesy of Friends of Palm Beach

Photo courtesy of Friends of Palm Beach

Some people experience respiratory irritation (coughing, sneezing, tearing and an itchy throat) when the Florida red tide organism is present and winds blow onshore. The Florida Department of Health advises people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as emphysema or asthma, to avoid red tide areas.

Red tides on the East coast of Florida are extremely rare. They can even subside and then reoccur. The duration of a bloom in nearshore Florida waters depends on physical and biological conditions that influence its growth and persistence, including sunlight, nutrients and salinity, as well as the speed and direction of wind and water currents.

There have been 57 occurrences of red tide in the Gulf of Mexico since 1953.  Eight of those events have made their way to the east coast in the area of Palm Beach County (with cell counts 100,000 cells/liter or more).  All eight of those events originated in the Gulf of Mexico and were carried by currents to the east coast.

For more information on Red Tide and conditions around the state, follow this link to the FWC website: http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/.