Red tide temporarily subsides as Gordon pushes through gulf

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Tropical Storm Gordon has brought a reprieve to parts of the Bay Area dealing with red tide.

The shifting winds are blowing the tide offshore, but don't be fooled. Red tide is still out there and while a strong storm in the gulf could, in theory, break up the red tide.

Scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory say Gordon is not the storm to do it.

You won't find many people on Lido Beach. Red tide has sent visitors packing for the last month, but you will run into Ed Star. He's a local and he refuses to leave.

“I've been on this beach every day for about three years. So I can tell you, yes, this is a disaster for over a month,” Star said.

The last week, however, brought a noticeable change. The water started to clear up and all of those thousands of pounds of dead fish disappeared, along with the smell.

A shift of offshore winds, partially from Tropical Storm Gordon, has kept the effects of red tide off the beaches, but the bloom remains just off the coast.

“This storm is passing… to the south of us. On the plus side, it's keeping those offshore winds going,” explained Dr. Vincent Lovko with Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.

Dr. Lovko says there's also a downside to Tropical Storm Gordon's position.

“It's not going right over the area where the bloom is, so it's not churning up the water,” he said, adding a significant weather system could mix up the water and get rid of the bloom, but it’s a difficult situation to predict.

“That's also one of the ways that blooms can be fueled, as well. The mixing of the water column brings some of the nutrients into the water column,” Dr. Lovko explained.

Heavy rain can also send fuel for red tide in the form of runoff from land.

A recent report from NOAA shows the intense bloom stretches from Pinellas into Collier County and, for now, there’s not an end in sight.

Scientists say the relief from red tide may be temporary. They say it could soon be pushed back to shore.