|Red Tide Impacts Continue to Improve
Aerosol Impacts Infrequent and Limited through the Weekend
Thursday Afternoon: Light winds turned to the east/southeast on Thursday, bringing up aerosol levels along South Padre Island and extending into Port Isabel. Cell counts, which had dipped below 1000 cells per milliliter for nearly all areas Tuesday afternoon and early Wednesday, had risen well above 1000 cells per milliliter, doubling in some measurements. While not as high as the values over the weekend of October 15th and 16th, aerosols from the return of the bloom were causing breathing difficulty for people along and near the beach beginning Wednesday evening and continuing into Thursday. While somewhat cooler waters near shore should keep widespread extremely high counts from returning, the impact of what remains will likely be felt into the weekend and beyond. That means continued periods of breathing difficulties, including asthma–like symptoms, coughing, burning in the throat, and sneezing. Additional fish kills were reported today, and more can be expected through the weekend. Updates will be available if and when we receive them. Click here for a map.
Wednesday Afternoon: After some relief courtesy of gusty north/northwest winds following Tuesday’s front, cell counts of K. Brevis appear to be on the rise once again. A report from Mr. Tony Reisinger, Texas AgriLife extension agent for coastal and marine resources in Cameron County, discovered up to 1000 cells per milliter of water on South Padre Island mainly from the public beach access locations northward shortly before 2 PM, with somewhat lower amounts from the resort area to the Isla Blanca jetties. While these values are greatly improved over the 10,000 to 100,000 cells per milliliter found over the weekend, they may be a sign of some recovery. Winds will become calm overnight then quickly turn southeasterly on Thursday, becoming east/southeast during the afternoon which could increase counts further. The wind shift is likely to bring aerosols back onshore, with respiratory issue becoming an issue. Further updates will be provided on this page for the rest of this week.
Tuesday Afternoon: Information from the University of Texas/Pan American Coastal Studies Lab noted "decreasing" counts of K. Brevis cells along South Padre Island. In addition, increasing north to northwest winds are helping to drive aerosols away from the shore, providing relief this evening and into Wednesday. Full details on the status of the red tide will be updated here on Wednesday, October 19th.
Tuesday Morning: Heavy red tide concentrations continue on South Padre Island, including resort areas. Moderate to high aerosol from South Padre Island to Boca Chica Beach will be an issue through at least noon, as easterly swell continues to bring 3 to 5 foot surf waves and foamy waters, which exacerbate the impact to beachgoers. The Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services recommends people with respiratory conditions, especially asthma, avoid all beaches until further notice.
The red tide has caused significant fish kill in the area. Visitors should refrain from taking their dogs on the beach; dead or infected fish on the shoreline can pose a life risk to dogs. Young children are also at risk and should not pick up any dead fish along the beach.
The Cameron County Extension Office, the Texas Red Tide Rangers, Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services and the Cameron County Parks Department will continue to monitor these reports to ensure the safety of beach visitors. As conditions change, the public will be updated. For additional information on red tide, please visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Red Tide website.
NOAA satellite chlorophyll image of possible Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) area shown by red shading along Texas Gulf Coast. Within the bloom area (outlined), red=high, orange=medium, yellow=low, and green=not present.