Updated 07/23/14 – 12:21 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Anyone considering a visit to the beach on Wednesday might want to avoid going for a swim; and not just because the lake is so cold and the weather is unusually brisk for July. Choppy conditions could make swimming dangerous.
The National Weather Service has issued a beach hazard statement through 11 a.m. Thursday, with big waves expected on Lake Michigan.
The forecast calls for waves of 6 to 9 feet, with occasional waves as high as 11 feet along the Chicago lakefront.
“High wave action makes swimming difficult and can tire even a strong swimmer quickly,” the National eather Service said.
Swimmers were advised to stay out of the lake, to avoid potentially dangerous rip currents.
The conditions likely will draw surfers to Lake Michigan, considering the lake has been relatively calm all year, giving them few opportunities to hang ten in Chicago.
Virtually every beach on the lakefront was under a swim ban or swim advisory due to the rough conditions on the lake on Wednesday. Chicago Park District officials said anyone visiting the beaches should check the flags at the lakefront before going in the water, and follow any instructions from lifeguards. A green flag means there are no restrictions. A yellow flag means there is a swim advisory and caution is advised while swimming. A red flag means swimming is prohibited. You can also check swim conditions at Chicago beaches here.
Experts have said swimmers caught in a rip current should not fight it, and should swim parallel to the beach until free of the current, before swimming back to shore.