Red tide could make its way back to Southwest Florida.
Hurricane Michael did not break up the red tide. Now, winds from Hurricane Willa headed toward Mexico could push red tide back to us.
“Now what’s going to happen is with the remnants of Willa, as it will cross the northern Gulf Coast on Thursday into Friday, we’re going to see the winds turn back onshore,” Fox 4 Meteorologist Derek Beasley said.
Right now, it’s lingering only two and a half miles offshore. And it’s about 24 miles long. This could affect beaches north of us this weekend, around Sarasota and Manatee counties.
“I’m really not anticipating this whole scenario to bring huge amounts of red tide to Lee and Collier county,” Beasley said.
But, there’s some good news too!
Mote Marine Laboratory created a red tide institute to tackle red tide. The institute is using it to develop technologies to fight red tide before it hits.
“Our approach is to really use technologies based on science that can decrease the impact,” Doctor Michael Crosby with Mote Marine Laboratory said.
A lot of solutions are being discussed. “Everything from application of granular compounds to applications of fine clay particles, to applications of technologies that have been used independently but never used together,” Dr. Crosby said.
Natural products are even being discussed. “Sort of like a natural chemical warfare of one plant against another plant,” he explained.
The lab also plans on hiring a world-class algal bloom expert. The funding for the red tide institute comes from a $1 million private donation and over $2 million grant from Florida Fish and Wildlife.
The institute has a five-year plan and needs $3 million a year in funding.
“It is literally a game changer for how science is going to advance through an innovate technology process the ability of us all to be able to fight red tide in terms of decreasing the future impacts of red tide,” Dr. Crosby said.