FLORIDA: The Red Tide

At St. Petersburg, the tarpon boats lay idle at their piers. Down the coast at Sarasota, merchants glumly watched the summer vacationists pack their bags and leave. The beach hot-dog stands were deserted at Indian Rocks and Pass-a-Grille; many beach cottages were empty. Under the hot summer sun, the stench of rotting fish seeped into houses, clung to clothes. The strange phenomenon which Floridians called the "Red Tide" had come back to the Gulf Coast.

The Red Tide had appeared off the west coast of Florida last January (TIME, Feb. 10). Fishermen first noticed long, wavering streaks of reddish-amber smudging...

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