YORKTOWN, Va. (WAVY) - Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science continue to monitor the algal blooms that have been discoloring local waters during the last few weeks.
These "red tides" occur in Chesapeake Bay every summer, but have appeared earlier and across a wider area than in years past, likely due to last winter's warmth and this summer's heat.
"It looked really rough," New Kent resident Tiaira Harris said. "It was like a reddish-black color. You couldn't even see through it."
Dr. Kim Reece, a researcher with VIMS, says algae respond to the same conditions that encourage plant growth on land, and thus are most likely to form blooms when waters are warm and nutrient rich. Reece says this summer's red tides are the worst in years.
"We don't know that there are any human health effects associated with this organism," Reece added. "With that said, we're watching it. We're doing tests on it."
Though the red algae is mostly harmful for marine life, researchers are concerned other types of algae could pop up.
"What we're doing is watching for some of those that can harm people," Reece said.
A vigil will be held Saturday morning in Newport News to mark the anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
A tractor-trailer crashed into a pole in Suffolk early Friday morning.
Crews battled a structure fire at a Newport News motel early Friday morning.