After wreaking havoc for months on the shores of Southwest Florida, red tide has made its way east, bringing with it complaints of respiratory issues and dead wildlife washing up on South Florida shores. And if the progression of the toxic algae blooms follows its pattern in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, the problem may get much worse before it gets better.
Palm Beach County reported "moderate" levels of red tide earlier this week after beachgoers complained of breathing symptoms associated with the toxic algae blooms. The Palm Beach Post reports that the county is already seeking $3 million for anticipated cleanup efforts,
Though Broward County's official test results are expected Friday, reports of dead fish washing up on Deerfield and Fort Lauderdale beaches have circulated on social media. Yesterday, New Times reported the presence dead fish on Deerfield shores, as well as complaints of itchy throats and coughing from beach visitors. The city of Deerfield Beach announced this afternoon that its results have been delayed due to an issue with state tests, but the city is nevertheless flying red and purple hazard flags on its beaches.
In Hallandale, on Broward's southern end, beaches remained open even though "medium" concentrations of the algae prompted beach closures north of Haulover in Miami-Dade County, said Lori Williams-Hastings, division chief of prevention with city fire rescue.
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Hallandale Beach Fire Rescue works closely with the city's lifeguards, and Williams-Hastings says she has not personally received complaints of breathing issues from any of the lifeguards. She notes that while Hallandale is near the county line, she has not yet been advised about additional testing of Broward waters beyond the typical testing that happens twice per week. It is yet to be seen if that will change after Friday's test results are complete.