PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — While most Pinellas County beaches haven't been experiencing the impacts of red tide over the last few days, the bloom is still lingering a few miles off the county's coast.
- Report: Samples show red tide organism present in Palm Beach County waters
- Red tide diminishing in Pinellas; but could be short-lived
- Gov. Scott urging additional FWC research on red tide
We visited the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science for a look at the latest satellite images showing the size and location of the bloom.
They show that the bloom has increased in size in recent weeks and has moved in a northward direction.
The surface area of the bloom is currently seven times the size of Tampa Bay. It stretches across 160 miles of the west coast of Florida.
This time two weeks ago, most Pinellas County beaches were covered with dead fish. Visitors encountered a strong odor, and many reported respiratory irritation.
Though right now that's not the case, it doesn't mean the bloom is moving away from the coast.
“The purpose of the imaging is to provide a general outlook, not to provide precise information on a certain beach," said Dr. Chuanmin Hu, a professor at USF and the Director of the Optical Oceanography Lab.
When it comes to odor, wind is one of the predicting factors of whether the smell impacts the beaches.
“Over the next couple of days we’re going to continue with an east, to east-northeast wind, and that’s an offshore wind, and it’s going to be strong enough that we’re not even going to get a sea breeze to form, which means the wind is not going to be blowing on shore at all," said Spectrum Bay News 9 meteorologist Josh Linker.
The wind should stay in this pattern over the next few days.