Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Beaches along Florida's Atlantic coast reopened Friday after red tide confirmed in Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County led to closures a day earlier.
Miami-Dade County closed beaches Thursday after a moderate level of red tide was confirmed north of Haulover inlet, where algae levels were high enough to trigger breathing problems and kill fish.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez cleared the beaches to reopen Friday after meeting with state environmental and health officials.
Wildlife officials said red tide occurs when microscopic algae multiply at higher-than-normal concentrations, often discoloring the water. It can cause itchy throat and coughing and health officials urge people with chronic respiratory conditions to avoid red tide areas.
Palm Beach County-managed beaches also reopened Friday after being closed Thursday owing to reports of eye, nose and throat irritations.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said at a news conference beaches there would reopen Friday, but advised sunbathers to obey warning signs. "Moderate" red tide is expected to last on several south Florida beaches through Tuesday.
Trantalis said he was waiting for official test results for red tide off Fort Lauderdale Beach.
"Red tide has already been detected in both Miami and Palm Beach counties in low to moderate levels to our north and to our south," Trantalis said. "Also, since this morning we have seen and removed approximately several hundred fish that have died and washed up on our beach.
"For those residents who don't know red tide is a toxic algae bloom that can turn the water red or brown. It's developed in the Gulf of Mexico and is carried here by the current."
Florida officials said a red tide bloom that began last fall now stretches along roughly 135 miles of the southwest portion of the Gulf Coast.