A second state of emergency was declared by Lee County commissioners Tuesday. This time the announcement was for red tide and water quality problems that have been plaguing Southwest Florida.
Last month, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency over the blue-green algae that came down the Caloosahatchee River and spread across the Gulf coast.
Thousands of dead fish, sea turtles, and other wildlife have been washing up on Gulf shores. It stretches from Collier County to Sarasota County. That’s more than 160 miles of red tide.
“If a family comes here with their kids or whatever, and come up to the edge of the beach here, and they get in the water that’s hurting them,” Volunteer Anthony McSwim said.
The National Weather Service just issued a red tide warning, but not many people are aware.
“If you don’t have.a smartphone you’re not gonna know that,” McSwim said.
You see warning flags for rip currents and sting rays placed on beaches. Cities are in charge of putting these signs out on public beaches.
NOAA monitors the red tide levels regularly. You can see the data here . But we called the NWS, and they said there’s no concrete answer on how they get those warnings to the public.
Sanibel Island has recently put out warning signs letting the public know the risks, but they are simple 8 x 10 pieces of paper.
“They need to really show people that this is not a good place to go swimming right now instead of the 8×10 sheets,” McSwim said.
Additional reporting by Terrace Myles and Allyssa Dickert