Swim Bans At Nearly All City Beaches

UPDATED 07/19/11 9:03 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — All but one of Chicago’s beaches were under a swim ban most of Tuesday afternoon after dense fog rolled in off the lake, making it difficult for lifeguards to keep watch for swimmers in trouble.

As CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, although the beaches were open to visitors, no one was being allowed to go swimming in the lake because lifeguards could not keep an eye on swimmers through the dense fog. The only beach without a swim ban was 12th Street Beach, officials said.

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“A temporary swim ban has been posted due to dense fog and low visibility as a safety precaution,” the Chicago Park District said in a statement on its website.

The swim bans started just before noon Tuesday at Oak Street beach and North Avenue Beach, where lifeguards and police told people the beach was closed.

“They said you got to get off the beach and come to the sidewalk,” said Frank Pedota.

A short time later, folks were let back on the sand, but the water was still off limits.

“I’m ready to go in and I just got yelled at by a life guard,” said Venus Encarnacion.

By 2:30 p.m., it was the same story at every beach in the city, except 12th Street. The Chicago Park District said because of the poor visibility it was just too dangerous to let people in the water. Still, some tried. One man was even taken into custody after ignoring warnings by police to get out of the water at North Avenue Beach, but most of the beachgoers listened.

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Hundreds of beach-goers decided to stick it out, despite not being allowed in the water. Alex Berg and his friends were among them. “Water is closed for now just throw the ball around figure something out hopefully,” he said.

Lifeguards at each individual city beach to determine if there is enough visibility for them to see swimmers in the water and, if there’s not, the lifeguards can impose a temporary swim ban.

As CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, once the fog lifted Tuesday evening and the North Avenue Beach lifeguards went home for the day around 7 p.m., the swimmers were back in the water.

One of those swimmers, Victor Cuellar said swimmers went in when the lifeguards left, “but we had to come out because it’s freezing.”

It was the same scene at Olive Park Beach, just down the lakefront – no fog, no lifeguards, folks were swimming again.

But that was a far cry from the Chicago beach scene at midday, when police used bullhorns to tell swimmers that they had to get out of the water because lifeguards had called for a swim ban due to the fog.

The fog was so heavy that lifeguards couldn’t see swimmers in the water.

“As disappointed as we are that we can’t go in, it is probably a good safety precaution,” Jessica Perlaiza said. “You can’t see anything out there so it’s probably best.”

Navy Pier was socked in with fog nearly all day. The Ferris wheel was partially obscured and the east end of the pier seemed to have vanished.

But tourists weren’t complaining.

“I was kind of surprised, everyone seemed like they were enjoying things,” Kevin ford said. “It was kinda cool.”

“Oh yes, a lot of fog. We couldn’t even see the boats,” Greg Macias said, adding that the fog probably cooled things off quite a bit along the lakefront. “Much better for us,” he added.

AccuWeather Meteorologist Bob Larsen said it’s not unusual for fog to develop on a hot day in the middle of Lake Michigan, but it rarely reaches the shore.

Dangerous heat was hovering on the Chicago area Tuesday, with temperatures at 91 degrees as of midday, and heat indices as high as 110 in some areas.

The heat is expected to stick around for the rest of the week, and the air temperature will climb to a dangerous 97 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday.

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/07/19/another-day-of-heat-worst-still-yet-to-come/ Another Day Of Heat; Worst Still Yet To Come « CBS Chicago

    […] Going to the beach might have seemed like a good idea Tuesday, but for about an hour in the middle of the day it wasn’t an option. The North Avenue and Oak Street beaches shut down just before noon due to dense fog and low visibili… […]

  • marine43

    Watch out for ghost Pirates!!!

  • Idiots

    Yes you cannot swim in fog. You will drown in the vapor.

  • Mr Bob

    The best part of this story is they questioned a person named Venus Encarnation.

    • pocketpal

      EXACTLY my thoughts as well.

  • Rob

    OMG what is the humidity level? 91 with a heat index of 110? Wow that must just be disgusting.

    • Avery Windcastle

      Fog means the humidity is 100%.

  • Hank Warren

    Banning swimming, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our rights:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama, vote for Ron Paul.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

    • Dale

      I’ll drink and swim to all but your last.

  • mark

    How stupid, when cool air is trapped under a warm blanket of air, fog is formed.

    Lake Michigan is a pretty cold lake, even in the summer it does not get that warm.

  • Jim

    What a bunch of government dependent WIMPS

  • Sandy Lester

    Well you get what you get when you elect democrats………..they treat like children.

  • http://www.fastnews.tv/?p=36630 CHICAGO CLOSES BEACHES AGAIN... | Breaking News

    […] headline, 5th story, link) Related stories: BLISTERING HEAT BLANKETS 1/2 OF NATION…Sauna Spreads…Heat index 126 […]

  • didactic1

    The people who go to the Lake beach can swim?

  • gdog5

    The lifegards had who ever is not letting the people in, need to go to sothern california for training…..LOL
    We have fog all the time and that does not keep us from entering the water…hahaha

    • Avery Windcastle

      You are smart. And funny. hahaha

  • CaliSurfer

    Wait… did I misunderstand? Was that children on the beach? OK Well that would make sense. Children need to be baby sat around large bodies of water. They don’t have the skills and knowledge necessary to make good sound judgements. HA! Funny I misunderstood and thought they were talking about adults. My bad.. Carry on…

    • Red Burton

      Babysit? Parents being responsible for their spawn in Chicago??!! Now that is funny.

    • Jack Zero

      No, they are talking about adults.

  • Xenophon

    “I’m ready to go in and I just got yelled at by a life guard,” said Venus Encarnacion.

    I thought that was a joke name at first. Would like to meet a girl with a name like that.

    • Ernaldo T

      She’d whip yo ass……

  • Ben Diamante

    Yeah and I think they should probably lower the federal speed limit to 50 mph and require all occupants to wear helmets, otherwise somebody might get hurt or even killed. It’s just too dangerous.

    • you

      I encourage you to go swimming in fog.

    • Jon Weiss

      When I was a kid on the Oregon coast we used to go swimming pretty much any time of year as long as the snow and hail was not falling.

      The water temp stays in the high 40’s and low 50’s year round and the fog is there ALWAYS.

      Funny thing in all those years of kids, in the fog, on the beach, no one ever came up missiing. I guess we had somthing that the people of Chicago lack, called COMMON SENSE!

    • Truth from The Usurper and Hamburgler

  • Gdogdontknow

    Yeah southern cali dudes are soooo tough. A little rain or temps above average and you people are on the psychs couch or jumping off bridges. wah wah wah it’s not 70 degrees in the house honey got to turn on the heat. A little thunder and lightning would have you under the table in your pink board shorts in no time and a snow storm would stop your state in it’s tracks. Your right you don’t close for fog you only close them for the trash and oil coming off the dirty 405 or when an illegal immigrants body washes up. People who have no real weather or are known for being weather wimps shouldn’t talk. Later Spicoli, get a job.

    • Ernaldo T

      Proof Chicahoans are stoopid? You morons stay there……hahaha

      • Jack Zero

        Most people can’t just pick up and leave, jerk.

  • Callie369

    Just proves that EVERYTHING about Chicago is dirty!

  • jd

    who mentioned any of this? Oh, you were re directed from Drudge…real original.

  • Moe1138

    What!? Fog? really? I’m on the west coast. If the beaches were closed due to fog…we would never be allowed to go in the ocean. We who live near the water, ocean, know that during weather, every person for themselves. We have rip currents, undertow and a typical water temperature of 54 degrees.
    No swimming?
    Sounds like Nanny has taken over.
    You voted them in, now you get to enjoy every happy day.

  • Dave

    i dont understand how they can do this.. get the people that want to go in to sign a waiver, or release of liability, and be done with it. Beaches are public domain. Let the individuals assume their own risk.

    • Dale

      A waiver? Are you kidding. Grab a chair next to the life gaurd

  • David

    I lived in Chicago for a summer. I used to make the lifeguards chase me in their stupid little row boats. They never caught me but those 18 year old chicks sure have a lot of power over you people in Chicago. I guess you deserve it because you put up with it.

  • David Maxwell

    Fog??? I don’t believe it for a minute.

  • Kip Noxzema

    Why not the rule that hotels use? “Swim at your own risk today”.

    It’s less safe to allow heat stroke for hundreds than to let the people cool off and swim at their own risk.

  • Hedley Lamar

    If an ADULT wants to swim in the fog, that’s up to them. Haven’t you people had enough of these liberal control freaks yet? Well…. haven’t you? Then why do you keep voting for them?

    • Norman N Hendrickson

      Well the Chicagoans that put Rahm inoffice can’t swim much, they just wash upon on shore now and then…dead mans float is about all they can manage, being dead and all.

  • Captain Hook

    In Chicago you can’t swim in the lake when it’s too hot or it’s too foggy, or when there are thugs on the beach.

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