(Toledo, OH) All the rain this week in northwest Ohio will help fuel what's expected to be a massive harmful algal bloom on Lake Erie.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials delivered a forecast Thursday that calls for one of the largest blooms in recent history. Experts say, however, they can't predict the toxicity of the algae or how it might affect drinking water. Daily weather conditions will determine the bloom's location and toxicity.
This year's algae bloom in western Lake Erie is expected to be much larger than average and almost the size of the bloom in 2014 that shut down drinking water systems in southeast Michigan and northern Ohio.
The NOAA is basing the prediction on factors that include the amount of rain that's fallen to send phosphorus from area farms into the waterway. Officials say the biggest culprit when it comes to phosphorus getting into Lake Erie is the Maumee River.