A red tide algae bloom that has spread along the southwest Florida coast is killing 10 or more manatee a day.
The algae bloom occurs nearly annually along Florida's coast from Sarasota through the middle of Lee County. They are called red tide algae blooms because the algae colony makes the water appear red.
"Not everything about the red tide is understood," said AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski. "The algae blooms sometimes show up when we have cold surges in the South during the late winter, early spring."
Kottlowski said the red tide seems to more prevalent when there are cold air intrusions in the Gulf of Mexico. "Three weeks ago, there was a prolonged cold snap. Shortly after that, the reports of a red tide and dead fish began."
Algae is a natural part of the ocean ecosystem, and many are not toxic. Most algae helps to feed aquatic species. However, the algae bloom killing Florida manatees is toxic.
"The algae can cause fish kills, kill manatee and even cause issues with the human respiratory system if the wind blows the algae toward shore," said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Kevin Baxter.
Prior to 2013, the most manatees killed in a year was 151. Already this year, 174 manatees have died from algae-related problems, said Baxter.
The algae becomes an issue when it settles on sea grass. Sea grass is the primary food source for the manatees. Once the algae is ingested, the manatees begin to have problems with their buoyancy. It may become difficult for them to lift their heads to get air.
"If someone sees a manatee acting in this manner, they can call us and we will come and rescue it," said Baxter. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has set up a manatee hotline for manatees who appear to be suffering from algae poisoning. Anyone witnessing a manatee who appears to be ill can call (888) 404-3922 to report it.
Baxter said that so far this year they have been able to save 12 manatees suffering from the effects of algae consumption. The rescued manatees are taken to The Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa for treatment.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
Five people were hurt after wooden planks were scattered everywhere after a scaffolding collapsed into the street in Lower Manhattan.
Following a stretch of relatively tranquil weather across the UK, a series of storms will cross the country this week with rain and wind.
Record-challenging warmth set to build across the western United States this week could bring both good and bad news to those planning on hitting the slopes during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Those traveling to, from or through the Pacific Northwest will face the highest threat of delayed Thanksgiving travel.
Cold air, gusty winds and widespread showers are once again on tap across Germany on Sunday.
A chilly wind may pose challenges to runners on Sunday morning in the annual Philadelphia Marathon.
A slow-moving storm in the Mediterranean Sea will bring additional rounds of rain to Greece into Saturday night.
While chilly weather is predicted at times during the first few days, an overall pleasant weekend is in store for most locations.