PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Dark clouds hung over Clearwater Beach Monday as Hurricane Michael headed towards the Florida panhandle.
Some beach goers were worried about the storm.
“I don’t know if I should evacuate or not,” said one Clearwater resident.
The bigger concern is how Hurricane Michael will impact red tide.
“Some beaches they said, it was already starting to smell.”
For weeks, Tampa Bay area coastal beaches have had tons of dead sea life and rotting fish.
The conditions were improving.
“So it looks pretty good right now and if that is sustained, things will get much better. But we also know that once the hurricane passes, we will be having on shore winds, so we’ll have to wait and see how that effects the coastal environment,” said Dr. Richard Pierce, with Mote Marine Laboratory.
He said it will depend on the storm’s hurricane force winds.
“We don’t really know exactly what’s going to happen. There have been instances where a hurricane have come through, disperse the red tide so it couldn’t come back. There have been times when it stirred things up, maybe brought more nutrients to the area and so the red tide came back worse than it was,” said Dr. Pierce.
Scientists are monitoring red tide conditions as the storm approaches.