Red tide at the beach: is it safe to go?

The NWS said there was a chance that respiratory irritation from algal blooms could impact people in some coastal areas.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Another beautiful, warm Friday in the Tampa Bay area could mean some beach time.

Before you go, you’ll want to check out the red tide conditions.

On Friday, the National Weather Service issued a beach hazard statement for northern and southern Pinellas County due to red tide in the area.

The NWS said there was a chance that respiratory irritation from algal blooms could impact people in some coastal areas.

The NWS Beach Danger Statement is in effect until 10 p.m. Saturday. This does not necessarily mean that the red tide will be gone by then. The organism that causes red tide, Karenia brevis, has filled many Tampa Bay-area waterways with dead marine life and the accompanying smell for weeks now.

RELATED: Here Are The Signs Red Tide Symptoms Are Affecting You

Some places are worse than others – Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater has a handy tool on their website detailing the latest red tide conditions.

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium also has a nifty map tool that displays information about Southwest Florida beaches during red tides. You can see if there are dead fish, if bathers suffer from respiratory irritation and what the color of the water is.

The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System has an experimental map that you can use to zoom in and out to several beaches in the Gulf of Mexico. This predicts the risk of respiratory irritation given the forecast wind and ocean current.

The consequences of high red tide levels mean greater mortality of marine life and severe respiratory tract irritation for anyone visiting the area. Pinellas County reported Thursday that at least 1,442 tons of dead marine life had been collected.

RELATED: Red Tide at the Beach: See Latest Conditions

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