CHICAGO (CBS) — High waves on Lake Michigan have prompted a warning for boaters and swimmers, due to potentially deadly currents on the water.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Amy Seeley said cold temperatures and high winds led to the issuance of a beach hazard statement through early Tuesday morning.
“Just over yesterday, we had a pretty strong cold front that moved across the area, and that’s given us fall-like temperatures across Lake Michigan, and northerly winds behind the fronts have caused some … near-record large waves across southern Lake Michigan,” she said.
The winds have resulted in winds of 8 to 9 feet, with some waves possibly as large as 13 feet.
The National Weather Service warned swimmers of both rip currents and structural currents, either of which can sweep swimmers out to deeper water.
“Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore, which occur most often at low spots or breaks in sandbars. Structural currents form along piers where longshore currents and wave action flow into the structure,” the National Weather Service said. “Exposed beaches are more likely to experience the most significant wave and current impacts.”
The Chicago Park District has imposed swim bans at more than a dozen lakefront beaches as of Monday morning, and swim advisories – warning swimmers to use caution in the water – at a handful of others.
You can monitor swim conditions at all Chicago beaches by clicking here.