Many plans to go to the beach have been thwarted in recent months thanks to the pesky lingering red tide, signs of which have been found for about two months now at Manatee County beaches.
But some days, conditions are better than others. How does anyone know, before venturing out to the beach, what the conditions are like?
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Well, there are a couple ways.
The newest comes from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which has released a new interactive map to show the status of red tide across the state as red tide spreads to the east coast of Florida and continues to plague the Gulf shores.
The map shows updated daily water samples to “provide the public with more immediate and accurate red tide data,” according to a news release from FWC.
Data is exported daily from sampling location points to a database, which are then added to dots on the map. The color of the dots represents the presence of Karenia brevis cells, the phytoplankton that causes red tide, per liter of water.
As of Friday afternoon, Manatee County had just one high concentration point on the map, north of the county line. Coquina Beach had low to medium concentrations and Cortez Beach area showed medium concentrations. Bean Point showed low concentrations, according to the FWC map.
The FWC also posts updates on red tide conditions to their website on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Mote Marine Laboratory has long had their own Beach Conditions Report map. The Mote maps detail water color, temperature, water surface temperature, dead fish accumulation and whether respiratory irritation has been reported, among other information for Coquina and Manatee beaches in Manatee County.
As of 11:23 a.m. Friday, Mote reported moderate water color, some red drift and many crowds at Coquina Beach but no dead fish or respiratory irritation. On Manatee Beach, Mote found moderate water color and a few crowds with no red drift, dead fish or respiratory irritation.