Red Tide: How Hurricane Michael will affect toxic algae

Toxic algae, known as the red tide, has been wreaking havoc along the Florida coastline for months.

As Hurricane Michael approaches, many are wondering what effect this storm will have on this harmful bloom. 

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According to marine biologists, there may be two different scenarios that play out: one positive and the other negative.

The positive would be strong offshore winds that would help to break up the algae and push it away from the coastline. On the flip side, if the track alters and winds blow onshore, this could push the bloom inland into interior channels and canals. 

Related: Hurricane Michael live updates: Storm strengthens into a powerful Category 3 hurricane

In this Monday Aug. 6, 2018 photo, a dead Snook is shown along the water's edge in Bradenton Beach, Fla. From Naples in Southwest Florida, about 135 miles north, beach communities along the Gulf coast have been plagued with red tide. Normally crystal clear water is murky, and the smell of dead fish permeates the air.
Photo: Chris O’Meara/ Via AP

The bigger concern is whether Hurricane Michael becomes a heavy rainmaker leading to flooding. Runoff from agricultural areas could send fertilizer filled with nutrients to the beaches and coastline. If these nutrients reach the toxic algae, they would feed the bloom and cause it to grow. 

Hurricane Michael: If you live in the Florida Panhandle, do this by the end of Tuesday

Experts will continue monitoring the red tide and the effects Hurricane Michael may have on it.

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