NATURE: The New Plagues of Summer

In Exodus, Aaron smote the waters of Egypt with his rod and the waters turned to blood. Across the U.S. in steamy midsummer, it seemed that at least a few of Pharaoh's plagues were descending—a reminder, if not of biblical wrath, then of nature's perplexing force.

The Gulf Coast of Florida from St. Petersburg to the Marco Island area was visited by a "red tide," a massive bloom of microorganisms (Gymnodinium brevis). They stained the sea water rusty brown and killed thousands of fish, which then washed up on the beaches to rot....

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