The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science forecast 36 hours of high risk for respiratory irritation caused by red tide along the shores of Sarasota, Manatee and Pinellas counties for 36 hours beginning 9 a.m. Wednesday.
The centers also caution that red tide is present in Charlotte and Lee counties and that it could cause respiratory irritation in those areas as well.
The red tide bloom originally took hold off the shore of the same communities directly affected by Hurricane Ian's landfall in October and has continued to spread north along Florida's Gulf Coast in recent weeks.
In case you missed it:Dead fish stench: Red tide worsens along Sarasota and Manatee beaches
A range of low to high levels of red tide was found in samples taken in Sarasota County last week, low to medium levels in Manatee, and low levels in Pinellas, according to the latest Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission update issued Friday.
However, sample data published on Monday show that red tide has cleared from some Sarasota County beaches, such as Manasota, Brohard and Siesta, but intensified in other locations like Higel Marine and Ken Thompson parks.
Mote Marine ambassadors report discolored water and dead fish found on Wednesday morning in Sarasota County at Lido Key and Siesta Key beaches. Ambassadors also report clear water but slight respiratory irritation and some dead fish at Manatee Beach and Coquina Beach in Manatee County.
Sarasota County has experienced the most intense effects of red tide since then, but samples this week show high levels of the red tide as far north as Pinellas County. Samples show red tide has not spread into Tampa Bay but is present in nearby Gulf waters.
The commission has not issued a new update to accompany the latest sampling data, as of early Wednesday morning.
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Red tide to cause respiratory irritation in Sarasota and Manatee