MADEIRA BEACH, Florida -- Since Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle, beach conditions throughout Pinellas County have worsened from red tide.

  • Red tide returns to Pinellas County beaches
  • Many beaches had dead fish, odor and poor air quality
  • Conditions worsened after Hurricane Michael

Researchers are studying exactly how the storm impacted the bloom, but this weekend many beaches had dead fish, odor and unfavorable air quality.

In Madeira Beach, leaders are urging beach goers to use caution when heading the beach.

Curt Preisser, the city's public information officer, says individuals with respiratory conditions should be careful spending a lot of time on the beach. He also says anyone with an open cut or wound should be careful swimming.

"We don't want to see anybody jeopardizing their health even in a minor way [by] going to the beach. We just want to give them the information so they can be informed and make an informed decision," Preisser says.

The city and county are working around the clock to clear all the beaches of any dead fish. So far, more than 800 tons of red tide waste has been removed from county beaches.

Preisser says the hurricane made conditions along the beaches worse.

"It stirred up the plume and broke it up into smaller parts, which released more aerosols. And also the tides coming in after the hurricane pushed some fish on shore," Preisser says.

On many of the beaches, including Madeira Beach, all of the dead fish were cleared by the afternoon on Saturday. There were many people taking advantage of the sunny weather despite the odor in the air.

"Today is the first day we've felt we could come and sit on the beach because it's been so bad," Sandra Peacock says.

She owns a vacation home in the city and has been here for three weeks. 

For more information about the latest beach conditions, visit the Pinellas County government website