Pollution, reverse storm surge from Hurricane Ian means a red tide may be looming

TAMPA, Fla. — Hurricane Ian caused pollution along the coast of southwest Florida that was so extensive, it can be seen from space.

It was not that long ago that Floridians were dealing with a two-year red tide event following Hurricane Irma. Mounds of dead fish lined the west Florida beaches and many beachgoers were prevented from getting into the harmful water.

Red tide is a harmful algae bloom that produces toxins which kill fish, shellfish, birds and mammals. Experts are sounding the alarm that a red tide may be looming after all the pollution from Hurricane Ian.

On top of the pollution, the reverse storm surge that occurred in Tampa Bay could be another initiator of a red tide. When the storm surge was taken out of the bay, upwelling could have occurred, which causes deeper, colder nutrient water to come to the surface. It essentially flips the water, killing the fish and animals located within it.

If you’d like to help victims of Hurricane Ian, local businesses are collecting items for survivors. North Rapid Response is a new disaster medical response team in Charlotte. The group is working with the following StarMed Healthcare, StellarMed and Keith Clinic locations:

  • StarMed Family & Urgent Care, FreeMore clinic, 4001 Tuckaseegee Road, Charlotte
  • StarMed Family & Urgent Care, Eastland clinic, 5344 Central Avenue, Charlotte
  • StellarMed Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine, 4355 Gum Branch Road, Jacksonville, NC
  • Keith Clinic Estramonte Chiropractic locations in Charlotte: West office at 4016 Triangle Drive, South office at 7001-A South Boulevard, North office at 402 East Sugar Creek Road, East office at 5344 Central Avenue

You can drop off water, non-perishable food, towels and personal hygiene products at those businesses. Click here for more information, including the hours you can drop off your items and details on the accepted donations.

(WATCH BELOW: Buyer beware: Watch out for flood-damaged vehicles from Hurricane Ian)