FORT LAUDERDALE — Portuguese man-of-war have stormed the beaches in Broward and Palm Beach counties in recent days, prompting lifeguards to warn beachgoers to keep out of the water.
Most beachside cities, including Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Boca Raton and Delray Beach, reported the presence of man-of-war. If southeasterly winds stay at a steady 5 mph to 10 mph, there's a chance the pesky sea creatures will linger this weekend, Delray Beach Ocean Rescue Superintendent James Scala said Friday.
Before hitting the beach Saturday and Sunday, residents should check their cities' ocean rescue websites for the latest conditions, he said.
"It's all going to depend on the wind," Scala said. "We've had the right conditions and the right time of year. Man-of-war are at the stage of being mature. And with the steady wind, you get a prolific number that are being blown into our shoreline."
With neon purple and blue balloon-like floats and dangling tentacles, man-of-war deliver powerful stings that can sometimes cause swelling and shortness of breath. Lifeguards usually keep gels and solutions on hand to treat any stings.
Hundreds of man-of-war washed ashore north of the Pompano Beach Pier on Thursday, requiring lifeguards to treat 22 people for stings, said Sandra King, Pompano Beach Fire Rescue spokeswoman.
On Wednesday, Delray Beach Ocean Rescue treated about 45 people for stings; Thursday, it was 30. Lifeguards on Friday took the added step of walking up to beachgoers to warn them, lowering the number of stings to about 15, officials said.
No serious injuries have been reported.
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