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South Florida Beaches Open After Red Tide Outbreak Forced Closings

Katie Lepri
A dead fish lays in the middle of seaweed at Ocean Ridge Hammock Park in Palm Beach County. The beach was one of three that closed Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, because of red tide.

Updated 9:18 a.m.

Beaches in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties are open again after being shut down due to a red tide outbreak, according to county authorities.  

Ocean Ridge Hammock Park and two other county-managed beaches in Palm Beach County — Peanut Island and Phil Foster Park — were closed on Thursday due to  a rate red tide outbreak. Miami-Dade County authorities closed beaches north of Haulover Park due to the same reason. All beaches remained open in Broward County. 

On Thursday, Greg Baum said he wasn't aware of the alert. The 28-year-old Boynton Beach resident sat shirtless in his beach chair facing the sun at Hammock Park. He had just gotten out of the water. 

Baum said he knew the toxic algae bloom that caused red tide was in the Atlantic Ocean and off the coast of northern Palm Beach, but he didn't realize it had arrived this far south. 

Red tide can cause breathing problems in humans. 

“I’m hoping that I’m not going to have any symptoms. I was only in for about five minutes — I didn’t go in for very long — but still it’s a little bit scary," he said. "I'm going to stay at the beach, but probably out of the water." 

The toxic algae, which started last November, has already plagued Florida’s west coast, killing thousands of fish, sea turtles and manatees. It first showed up on the east coast this past weekend. 

Read More: State Says It Is Ready To Address Red Tide In Atlantic

The outbreaks are different from the inshore toxic blue-green algae that has ravaged areas from Stuart to Cape Coral. 

Over the weekend, lifeguards and beachgoers reported eye, nose and throat irritation, which led beaches to close. 

"I've been coughing since we came this morning," said New York resident Dinorah Fearn as she stood next to her husband Jim at the Ocean Ridge beach on Thursday afternoon. "It's like dust in my throat."

The beach was shut down just shortly after this interview.

Several Palm Beach County beaches from Kruesler Park in Lake Worth north to the Martin County line will remain closed because of red tide until further notice. 

While the toxic algae has also been found in Miami-Dade, Broward County is still awaiting results. 

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report. 

Katie Lepri Cohen is WLRN's engagement editor. Her work involves distributing and amplifying WLRN's journalism on social media, managing WLRN's social accounts, writing and editing newsletters, and leading audience-listening efforts. Reach out via email at klcohen@wlrnnews.org.
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