Tar balls wash ashore AL beaches. Swimming advisory in effect

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - Tar balls and rust-colored crude from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill were spotted in several locations along Florida's Panhandle, as the devastation appeared to move eastward.

A few dozen tar balls washed ashore on the sugar-sand beaches of Panama City Beach, the farthest east oil has been reported in Florida. And about 20 miles off Pensacola Beach, a ribbon of reddish oil mixed with seaweed and sea grass.

A black tip shark was spotted swimming through the toxic muck. Meanwhile, Escambia County announced it has placed cleaning stations on the beaches where people can wash off oil.

On the other hand, over inn Orange Beach, Alabama, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is causing confusion over whether it's OK to swim on Alabama beaches.

In Orange Beach, two red flags flew Saturday and beach patrols told people to stay out of Gulf waters. Some of the city was hit with a new wave of crude and tar balls during the morning.

A few miles away, though, people were in the water at Gulf Shores, where only yellow warning flags were flying.

The state has issued advisories telling people to stay out of Gulf waters because of oil, and Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft says his city tells visitors to stay out of the water when tar balls are present. Craft says city officials are consulting with state healthpfficials about water conditions.

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