UPDATE | Kentucky removes warning for Ohio River waters

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HUNTINGTON/CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ/AP) -- UPDATE 11/7/19 @ 2:21 p.m.
Kentucky officials have removed a public health advisory for harmful algal blooms along the Ohio River.

Environmental and health officials in Kentucky are warning about a harmful algae bloom on parts of the Ohio River, due in part to hot, drought-like conditions.

Kentucky's Division of Water and Department for Public Health issued the advisory on Sept. 26 for people using the waterway for recreation from the McAlpine Dam near Louisville to the Greenup Dam in northeastern Kentucky. They recommended that people not participate in activities such as swimming and wading in the water.

The agencies said on Thursday that results from recent water samples are below the recreational advisory threshold for toxins, but still advised avoiding contact with any water that has visible algal blooms.

UPDATE 9/27/19 @ 8:45 p.m.
One every 5 to 10 years during low water, low flow falls, an outbreak of algae forms on the Ohio River. Tony says the developing fall drought is proving the perfect conditions for this latest episode.

The parched September steamrolled toward history on Thursday. Officially Huntington getting a 10-minute, pre-dawn shower that did not measure in the rain bucket. Those same showers fed on a sudden spike in moisture off to the east toward Charleston and did blossom into genuine rain makers. The Charleston airport measuring .16” in a 10-minute period with .18” over the course of an hour.

At this point, Huntington has measured a mere .01” of rain this month so unless a healthy shower can break through Saturday morning (long before the Herd’s big game), then the month will end as the driest since weather records began back in the late 1800s. Heady stuff for sure!

Signs of the growing drought include weak river flows, large sand bars on small rivers and now a HARMFUL ALGAE BLOOM (HAB) on the Ohio River. In fact, the Kentucky Division of Water in conjunction with the Department of Health, has issued an alert for anyone coming in contact with the Ohio River’s water this weekend. Basically from Greenup downriver to Louisville, swimming, wading and other water activities that create spray are not recommended.

The algae bloom is common during low water, low flow, hot and dry weather in late summer and fall. Basically algae toxins are thriving in the late summer heat and drought-like conditions.

Anyone who comes in contact with the HAB may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

While the Cincinnati and Dover, Kentucky, area has had the highest measure of HAB, conditions are favorable throughout the Ohio Valley for new blooms as the next heat wave develops.