FALMOUTH, Mass. (AP) – Scientists are warning that there could be an unusually intense outbreak of red tide this spring.

A wet winter and high numbers of “seeds” of the toxic red tide algae off the coast of Maine are setting the stage for a large outbreak.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution biologists say the field of these algae “seeds” is 30 percent larger than normal.

But biologist Don Anderson said, even with the abundance of seeds, the severity of the tide still depends on the weather.

He said the wet winter has meant more fresh water runoff, which creates a lighter layer of water for the algae to float on. A northeast storm could broadly disperse that algae and cause problems.

The red tide algae is absorbed by shellfish, which, if eaten, can cause sickness or death.

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