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Friday, May 10, 2019

2019 Lake Erie Algal Bloom Forecast: Pretty Bad!

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2019 at 1:25 PM

  • Eric Sandy, Scene

It's that time of year, folks.

The first forecast for algal bloom levels in Lake Erie this year was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and right now it's looking like it will be worse than last year.

"We project that the bloom will have a severity greater than 5, which is larger than 2018, as a result of heavy rains in April that produced high river flow and large phosphorus loads," the report reads. "High flow is expected to decrease after this week, then precipitation is forecast to be near normal going into summer. There is considerable uncertainty in the projected maximum severity; the maximum is based on the possible occurrence of heavy rain in June and early July. As we add data over the next two months, this uncertainty will decrease. Any bloom that develops will change with time and move with the wind."

The NOAA will update the forecast weekly through July.

Northeast Ohioans are intimately familiar with the seasonal bloomage, which scientists say is being exacerbated by climate change and runoff from small to medium farms in Northwest Ohio.

Plenty has been made of the health and future of Lake Erie, from statewide efforts at regulating farms to Toledo's effort to grant personhood to the lake (the statehouse seems hellbent on passing stipulations in this year's budget that will usurp that vote and prevent groups from passing similar measures), from DeWine's efforts to allocate nearly a billion dollars to protecting Lake Erie to the $300 million allocated for the Great Lakes Initiative, despite President Trump's initial objections.

As that all continues to evolve, Ohio can look forward once again to harmful blooms in 2019 that cause a bunch of adverse health effects and that, in the most severe modern example, led to a protracted stretch when Toledoans were without clean water.

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