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National Weather Service warns of Red Tide in Pinellas County

Red Tide can cause respiratory irritation, especially in people with chronic lung conditions. The NWS hazard statement lasts through Monday evening.
St. Petersburg city employees clean up a fish kill from red tide along a St. Petersburg's waterfront park, on Thursday, July 8, 2021 at Bay Vista Park  in St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg city employees clean up a fish kill from red tide along a St. Petersburg's waterfront park, on Thursday, July 8, 2021 at Bay Vista Park in St. Petersburg. [ ARIELLE BADER | Times ]
Published Jul. 11
Updated Jul. 11

Red Tide could cause respiratory irritation for people in coastal regions of Pinellas County, the National Weather Service’s Tampa Bay office warned over the weekend.

The National Weather Service issued a beach hazards statement Saturday evening for the southern coastal areas of the county that lasts through Monday evening. It cautions that Red Tide can cause coughing, sneezing and tears in the eyes, and that symptoms can be worse for people with asthma, emphysema or other chronic lung diseases.

People with allergies also can be affected, National Weather Service meteorologist Paul Close said.

“And just the smell, dead fish smell,” Close said.

The Department of Health in Pinellas County also had issued a notification last month recommending that people with chronic respiratory problems consider staying away from areas with Red Tide. People should also not swim around dead fish and should keep pets away from water, sea foam and dead marine life.

St. Petersburg crews cleaned up nine tons of dead fish in 24 hours last week. Toxic Red Tide blooms killed the fish, and Tropical Storm Elsa pushed them ashore, St. Petersburg Emergency Manager Amber Boulding said at a Friday news conference.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — the National Weather Service’s parent agency — predicts high levels of harmful algal blooms in the bay regions of southern Pinellas County on Sunday and Monday. NOAA predicts moderate concentrations along the county’s southern gulf coast Sunday, and low concentrations there Monday.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said the Florida Department of Health had issued a notification on Sunday. The notification as actually made on June 11.