ENGLEWOOD — How quickly red tide conditions can change.
Monday and Tuesday reports appeared to offer a respite from the effects of the toxic red tide algae along local Gulf shorelines.
But conditions have changed as the week has gone on. State Health Department officials in Sarasota County issued a cautionary warning Thursday:
“The beach water samples taken on Monday have come back from (Mote Marine Laboratory) with elevated cell counts indicating the continued presence of red tide at all of our beaches.”
Health officials ordered the change of cautionary beach signage at Siesta and Turtle beaches warning the public that “red tide present.”
Those beaches weren’t alone.
The county posted with “red tide present” signs at beaches on Manasota Key in Englewood, and at beaches in Venice, Nokomis and around Sarasota.
Locally, Jean Ranallo enjoys her early morning swims at Manasota Beach. Not Wednesday or Thursday.
“The wind is mercifully from the east, so you don’t notice the red tide until you are at the water’s edge,” Ranallo told The Daily Sun in an email Thursday. “No fresh fish have washed ashore, just the dead ones from yesterday are at the high-tide mark, in stages of decomposition.”
A friend of Ranallo’s told her that Wednesday, around noon, the stench “hit.”
“The Gulf is like last night, a murky rust color. Not inviting. No sunrise swim,” Ranallo said.