TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- Toxins possibly from algae on Lake Erie fouled the water supply of Ohio's fourth-largest city Saturday, forcing officials to issue warnings not to drink the water and the governor to declare a state of emergency as worried residents descended on stores, quickly clearing shelves of bottled water.<br />
"It looked like Black Friday," said Aundrea Simmons, who stood in a line of about 50 people at a pharmacy before buying four cases of water. "I have children and elderly parents. They take their medication with water."<br />
The city advised about 400,000 residents in Toledo, most of its suburbs and a few areas in southeastern Michigan not to brush their teeth with or boil the water because that would only increase the toxin's concentration. Showers and baths are fine, the mayor said.<br />
Toledo issued the warning just after midnight after tests at one treatment plant showed two sample readings for microsystin above the standard for consumption.<br />
Gov. John Kasich's emergency order will allow the state to begin bringing water into the Toledo area.<br />
Some neighboring communities that aren't connected to Toledo's water system were offering their water to people who brought their own bottles and containers.<br />
The city's advisory said Lake Erie may have been affected by a bloom of harmful algae that produces the toxin. Consuming the tainted water could result in vomiting, diarrhea and other problems.
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
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