Miami-Dade, Broward officials testing for red tide

Rare toxic algae blooms on east coast have closed beaches in Palm Beach County

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Health officials in Broward and Miami-Dade counties are testing the waters off their coasts for toxic algae blooms just days after Palm Beach County beaches were closed due to red tide.

Tere Florin, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County, said officials collected samples Tuesday at multiple locations, including Haulover Beach Park, Miami Beach and Key Biscayne. On Monday, officials in Deerfield Beach and Fort Lauderdale in Broward County said they conducted tests and should see results by Wednesday.

Over the weekend, dozens of people complained of breathing problems and skin irritation at beaches along Palm Beach County. Tests confirmed the presence of red tide, but officials said the concentrations were lower than those found on the Gulf coast.

Palm Beach County officials expected the beaches to reopen Wednesday. However, officials said late Tuesday that several beaches from Lake Worth to the county's northern border will remain closed out of an abundance of caution. 

Red tide is a natural occurrence that happens due to the presence of nutrients in salt water and Karenia brevis, also known as dinoflagellates.

This summer, Florida's west coast has been plagued by these salt water algae blooms. Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency as hundreds of dead fish and other marine animals have washed ashore and the stench has driven tourists away from beaches.