BIG LAKE, Minn. - Originally from Big Lake, Minnesota, Bonny Bjorkedal decided to leave behind the brutal winters 14 years ago and move to Florida.
"We moved down there because of my husband's health," Bjorkedal said. "He had retired and his health wasn't good, and the snow and the cold were bad for him. We had a place in Florida so we moved down there."
When Bjorkedal isn't visiting family up North, her view from her Florida home is filled with white sand beaches and mild weather. However, these days, that view is plagued by toxic red tide blooms.
"Fourth of July, most restaurants along the Gulf of Mexico on Sanibel and Captiva had drastic reduction in their clientele because of the red tide," Bjorkedal explained. "People couldn't be out on the beaches."
Florida Fish and Wildlife's red tide reports show, some of those areas still showed high or moderate levels of red tide. The blooms' toxicity isn't just limited to killing marine creatures.
"Your throat itches, your eyes water," Bjorkedal said. "It's just very uncomfortable to sit out."
She said she feels bad for her neighbors who struggle with respiratory issues.
"I have a neighbor that hasn't been out in weeks because he has such bad respiratory problems and they used to go fishing everyday," Bjorkedal said.
She added that she hopes this particularly nasty red tide season will pass soon, so the sunshine state can shine on its beaches once more.