Tourists believe effects of red tide are being felt in Broward County

Water testing results to be completed this week in Broward, Miami-Dade

By Trent Kelly - Reporter

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. - While water samples are still being tested, tourists told Local 10 News Tuesday that they believe effects of red tide are being felt in Broward County.

"We started coughing, a little tickle. But didn't really think anything of it," Tom Lopez, of Long Island, New York, said.

Lopez is vacationing with his family this week in Deerfield Beach.

"We noticed that everybody else was having the same problem. So, just in jest, I said, 'It's probably red tide.' And lo and behold, here we go." 

Lopez is one of many now awaiting the results from a new round of testing after officials found low to medium levels of the toxic algae just to the north, in Palm Beach County.

"This thing has gotten everybody scared and nobody comes here," Frank Lograsso said.

Businesses along Lake Worth Beach are already taking a hit after officials there closed down the shoreline Monday.

Some lifeguards were even wearing masks, while urging beachgoers to get out of the water.

"I did not even know this was going on, but it makes me sad, especially if people are here visiting," Deerfield Beach resident Ruth Poirier said. 

The naturally-occurring algae bloom has been hammering Florida's Gulf Coast this summer, where the phenomenon is far more common. 

State wildlife officials said the red tide levels found in Palm Beach County are much lower than those discovered in the Gulf.

Still, no matter what the Deerfield Beach tests show, some tourists are determined to make the best of their vacation.

"Things happen," Lopez said. "Natural occurrences happen. So what are you going to do?"

A Miami-Dade County spokeswoman confirmed water samples were collected Tuesday in Haulover, east of 79th Street, off 22nd Street in Miami Beach and in Key Biscayne. 

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