Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rain, Red Tide Continue Attack St. Johns Feels Irritating Effects of Ocean Algae

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rain, Red Tide Continue Attack St. Johns Feels Irritating Effects of Ocean Algae

Article excerpt

Expect to reach for the umbrella and slosh through puddles of water again today as a stalled cool front passing through the state showers Northeast Florida with more rainfall.

And near the beach, expect to feel the effects of the red tide that's been around for a week and has expanded from Jacksonville to southern St. Johns County.

In Duval County, winds from the northeast carried traces of the red tide onto land, said Jimmy Wilkins, head of Jacksonville Beach's parks, recreation and ocean rescue department. Wilkins said visitors to the beach continued to report coughing, watery eyes and other irritations to lifeguards.

"I live two blocks off the ocean. . . . The breeze was blowing and you could just feel it in your throat," he said.

The easterly winds also helped launch a wave of rain, with 1.92 inches at Jacksonville International Airport by midnight Sunday.

That brought the monthly total so far to 9.9 inches. Combined with a prior rainy weekend, September's rainfall sits above the normal 7.05 inches for the month.

"What we've had happen about the last three weeks is a series of early season cool fronts which have pushed down into the state of Florida and stalled," said Steve Letro, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"Once these fronts have stalled south of us, we've had easterly winds set up, lifting the moisture associated with those stalled fronts and creating rain across North Florida," he said.

The rainy weather should start to end today, Letro said.

"High pressure should start to build back into the area," he said. "It'll cut it [the rain] down. We'll still keep some chance of showers but it should be much less than we've seen."

Jacksonville remains below its yearly average for this time of year. A dry spell lasting from late February through mid-to-late July left Northeast Florida in a very dry situation and in high fire danger, said Larry Figart, of the Florida Division of Forestry.

Though the rainfall is an inconvenience for many people -- including 61,000 fans at Sunday's Jaguars game -- state foresters welcome the rain, which cuts down on forest fires.

The rainy weather Northeast Florida has been experiencing is allowing forestry workers who were dedicated strictly to fire control to perform some of their other duties, Figart said. …

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