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Windy Conditions Could Bring 10-Foot Waves To Lake

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High waves pound the shore at Oak Street beach on Sept. 16, 2013. (Credit: CBS)

High waves pound the shore at Oak Street beach on Sept. 16, 2013. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Windy conditions at the lakefront will make for very choppy conditions on the lake, with dangerous pounding waves prompting a warning for anyone who might want to go swimming, despite the chilly conditions.

CBS 2 Meteorologist Ed Curran reports wind-blown waves could reach as high as 10 to 12 feet at some beaches.

The choppy conditions have prompted a warning from the National Weather Service, which advised lakefront visitors to stay out of the water through Monday night.

The high waves could attract surfers, however, as northeast winds will produce waves between 5 and 9 feet high along most of the lakefront at the southern end of Lake Michigan, from Wisconsin to Michigan, including the Chicago area and northwest Indiana.

“Dangerous pounding waves and life-threatening rip currents are expected at the beaches … through Monday night,” according to a beach hazard statement from the National Weather Service.

Those waves will create rip currents, which can drag swimmers away from shore, and into deeper water. Rip currents don’t pull swimmers under the water, but rather away from shore. Swimmers can drown when they panic and try to swim toward shore against the current, and become exhausted.

Even though Chicago’s official swimming season is over at its beaches – and Park District rules prohibit swimming when lifeguards are off-duty – many people who visit the lakefront venture into the lake anyway when there’s no one to keep an eye on swimmers.

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