Algae turns some lakes in Lake County brown

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. —

It took only a couple of weeks for two big lakes in Lake County to turn brown.

The water has been invaded by a microscopic strain of algae that has made things really ugly.

The water changed color from greenish-blue to brown. It's not a pretty sight along Little Lake Harris.

Shane Lancaster and his buddy said nothing beats a morning out on the lake, as long as they stay in the boat.

"I don't want to swim in it, that's for sure. Jet ski, tubing – I don't want to do any of that out here," Lancaster said.

"It's called cylindrospermopsis, and it's been here before. We saw it 10 or 12, maybe 15 years ago. And it's back," said Mike Perry with the Lake County Water Authority.

The algae have invaded Lake Harris, Lake Eustis and the Dead River.

"It makes the water look brown. And in this case, it makes it look really brown," Perry said.

It looks even more nasty magnified 100 times and 400 times under a microscope.

Experts with the Lake County Water Authority said a unique combination of air temperature, water temperature and the amount of sunlight triggered the outbreak, though they're not exactly sure what that combination is.

Residents are stuck with it for weeks, and possibly months until the algae dies off on its own.

Experts said it won't kill the fish and won't hurt people, but advise not to drink this water.

As for swimming, Perry said folks need to look at it and decide for themselves.

"If somebody is concerned about getting in the water -- don't," Perry said.