Red tide is showing up on the beaches of southwest Florida and is bringing with it lots of dead fish and some respiratory irritation. You can keep up with the daily beach conditions by using the Mote Marine Laboratory beach condition report.
The beach report has a Facebook page but has no recent activity and does not appear to be useful in monitoring beach conditions. Same for the Twitter page–the most recent posts are from two years ago and it looks like the Twitter account was only established to report on the BP oil spill.
The Herald Tribune has an informative article by Kate Spinner that addresses the current situation and outlook.
Here’s the summary posted at the above link:
Southwest Region: Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism, was detected this week in multiple samples collected alongshore and inshore of Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties ranging from background to medium concentrations, with the highest concentrations detected at Cabbage Key in the Pine Island Sound system (Lee County). Samples collected offshore of Lee County ranged in concentration from low to medium.
Samples collected offshore of the Florida Keys (Monroe County) did not contain K. brevis.
Bloom Boundary: Recent satellite images along with the samples analyzed, suggest that a bloom is currently located alongshore and offshore of Lee and southern Charlotte counties and extends approximately 15 miles offshore of Sanibel Island.
Red Tide occurs in waters all over the world. It is totally unpredictable and can last from several days to several months. Usually it hangs around for a few weeks at least. Some beaches are affected worse than others. We just have to wait it out.
If you visit a beach on the Florida Gulf coast that is affected by red tide, please let me know and send a photo if you can.