WTSP Meteorologist Ashley Batey says Draft Michael is packing above draft strength, a lot of rain and cogent storm billow threats. USA TODAY
Hurricane Michael’s apprehension and rain may accompany a alloyed bag of allowances and agitation apropos red course and baneful blue-green algae blooms forth Florida’s coast. Here, Lighthouse Point on Sanibel Island on Aug. 22, 2018.(Photo: Andrew West/The News-Press)
FORT MYERS, Fla. – As Draft Michael lumbered against Florida’s west coast, belief swirled about what aftereffect the storm ability accept on the assiduous red course and baneful blue-green algae blooms afflictive the region.
The Category 2 storm could accomplish landfall Wednesday afternoon a Panama City as a Category 3 storm with torrential rains and abiding apprehension of up to 120 mph.
Though scientists are afraid to accomplish abundant predictions at this stage, they accede that the hurricane’s apprehension and rain may accompany a alloyed bag of allowances and trouble.
Serge Thomas, accessory assistant for ecology studies at Florida Gulf Bank University doesn’t apprehend the wind to draft the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) up or bottomward the Caloosahatchee River much.
However, if the wind is affective alongside the baptize in areas with canals, “It could accept a cogent appulse … potentially, it could assemblage up the algae into the aback of canals, which could be a botheration for some association in Cape Coral,” he said.
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If the storm lowers the temperature, that could apathetic algae growth, Thomas said.
“Lower temperatures do not favor cyanobacteria … their metaism responds abnormally to temperature drops.”
The bifold baneful blooms, anniversary with its own Gov. Rick Scott-declared accompaniment of emergency, accept ravaged wildlife and the region’s tourism-dependent economy. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aboriginal recorded the red course Oct. 16, 2017; the cyanobacteria blossom started blooming once the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began sending attenuated Lake Okeechobee baptize bottomward the river June 1.
Although Michael’s not currently accepted to accompany huge amounts of rain, if it does, calamity could activation added algal advance as the baptize washes over the acreage and into the river, Thomas said. “If retention/detention ponds overflow, if catchbasin tanks and carrion systems are overflowing … that could beget the algae.”
As of the aboriginal anniversary of October 2018, analysis scientist Rick Bartleson of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation begin no Karenia brevis — the bacillus that causes red course — at any of the bank locations his alignment samples. (Photo: Andrew West/The News-Press)
Such nutrient-rich overflows additionally ability animate the red course bloom, which appeared to be administration near-shore aftermost week. Then again, in 2005, Draft Katrina swept abroad a red course that had lasted 18 months, but “I don’t anticipate we’re activity to get the Katrina effect,” Thomas said.
The baneful course may already accept been on the way out. As of backward aftermost week, analysis scientist Rick Bartleson of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation begin no Karenia brevis, the bacillus that causes red course at any of the bank locations his nonprofit samples, and testing he did over the weekend adopted bootless to appearance any as well.
“I sampled the causeway, a few Sanibel and Captiva beaches and adopted up to three afar from Captiva,” he said, “and no Karenia.”
Bartleson affairs to sample offshore in the advancing days.
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Initially, a abnormality alleged advection ability boost any actual blossom abroad from the island in the advancing days. “The apparent band will be branch abroad from shore, at atomic at first,” he said. “So if there’s Karenia out there, it will be branch away.”
Then, the water’s lower band will move against shore, which additionally should help, because Bartleson found very little Karenia in that band back he sampled two weeks ago. Also, he said that layer’s abridgement of oxygen, hydrogen sulfide and black aren’t accessory to red course blooms either.
What’s more, “The advection abroad from bank will additionally adulterate and advance out the (Karenia) cells, so there’s beneath adventitious of a close patch,” Bartleson said.
Accuweather meteorologist Alyson Hoegg said the storm’s wind could act to breach up the red tide, “depending on how it advance as it comes arctic … with the apprehension alarming counterclockwise you guys will get an adopted flow that will advice cull it abroad from the beaches.”
Follow Amy Bennett Williams on Twitter: @AmySWFL
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