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Winds dilute but spread of Lake Erie's algae bloom
Ohio State expert says this year's threat is more extensive than what hit Toledo in 2014

Kevin Niedermier
Satellite image of this summer's algae bloom in Lake Erie.
Courtesy of NOAA
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Wind patterns this summer have created a “good news-bad news” scenario regarding toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie. Toledo may not see a repeat of last year’s bloom that left residents there without drinking water for nearly three days. But, the threat of a toxic bloom along Northeast Ohio’s coastline is elevated.


LISTEN: The dynamics of this year's bloom

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Jeff Reutter is with Ohio State University's Stone Laboratory which studies the lake. He says last summer’s winds from the north and east pushed and held the algae bloom into the Toledo area. This year, winds mainly from the west and south have spread the blooms across the lake, which has diluted their potential toxicity. But he says it has also made more drinking water sources vulnerable.

“Clearly, people down in the Kent, Akron and Cleveland area are more likely to see this bloom this year because it’s currently off shore from those locations. And depending on what the wind does it would be pretty easy for the bloom to move on shore.”  

Though the bloom’s peak has been predicted for the middle of this month, Reutter says depending on wind patterns and heat, it could come as late as early November.                                                                                     

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