The National Weather Service is adding red tide alerts to their services for Gasparilla Island and surrounding areas from Levy County south to Lee County.
The alerts are part of their ongoing experimental initiative called the "Beach Hazards Statement."
Another group within NOAA, its National Ocean Service, is already providing red tide forecasts.
The new service from NWS is aided by Mote Marine Laboratory in a couple of ways:
Mote's red tide monitoring activities contribute to NWS alerts. Examples are: Mote takes water samples to reveal how much red tide algae is out there and deploys underwater robots to help monitor the bloom.
Mote's Beach Conditions Report (www.mote.org/beaches) gathers information about red tide effects on multiple Florida beaches and provides online updates for the public as often as twice daily. This on-the-ground information can be compared with forecasts to "groundtruth" the forecasts and support accurate forecasting.