Washington Post: Written by Darryl Fears and Lori Rozsa. August 28, 2018.
SIESTA KEY, Fla. — Even as she sat under the brilliant Florida sun, her toes covered in sugar-white sand, Alex McShane wasn’t exactly enjoying her summer vacation. Florida’s worst red tide in more than a decade had turned the aqua-blue surf to a rusty dull brown.
And then there were the lifeguards. They were wearing gas masks.
With no mask of her own, McShane, 24, wore a frown. Her eyes itched, she coughed, and the stench was giving her a headache — all telltale symptoms of the monster algal bloom spanning the southern Gulf Coast. It is killing untold numbers of marine animals from Bradenton to Naples, where rotting fish still lay scattered on a beach behind Gov. Rick Scott’s seaside mansion, even after a cleanup.