Lake Michigan

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Warning: Danger In Lake Michigan Memorial Day Weekend

Take note if you're headed to the coast...

May 24, 2018 - 5:50 pm
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TRAVERSE CITY (WWJ) - If your plans take you to the lake this holiday weekend -- you might want to bring along a wetsuit. 

Mark Torregrossa, Chief Meteorologist for MLive, says there's a danger of hypothermia in Lake Michigan.

The spring has been so cold that at the warmest spots -- on the southwest end near Chicago -- the water is only at around 55 degrees. The majority of the lake is in the 40s, Torregrossa said, and the coldest area of Lake Michigan is currently around around 37 degrees.

Torregrossa​ said the above temps can be life-threatening, even if you're only in the water for a minute.

"We're seeing a lot of deaths and a lot of crazy things," he told WWJ's Zahra Huber. "I mean, there's the hypothermia, but mostly it's common sense -- and the biggest thing lately is the surge in the kayaking on the Great Lakes."

"I've seen people taking out on kayaks when there's a four to six-foot wave forecasts, and I just think: You're nuts!"

[Metro Detroit Memorial Day Weekend Forecast: Will It Be A Washout?]

It's going to be hot this weekend, ​so depending on where you enter the lake, Torregrossa said: "You might find some water ankle-deep that's 60 or 65 degrees -- and that'll only make you cold in about a minute. So I really think the nice thing is the temptation won't be there."

"You're gonna jump in a little bit up to the knees, and you're gonna run right back out."

When will the water warm up?

"It's gonna happen fast with temperatures in the 80s," Torregrossa​ said. "So if you can handle mid-60s water temperatures, you're probably talking middle of June or the last two weeks of June, there will be beach water, shallow water, that has that in some locations."

[Hypothermia occurs when the body gets cold and loses heat faster than the body can make it, which can happen when a person is exposed to cold air, water, wind or rain. Get more information about hypothermia -- including signs and symptoms -- from University of Michigan Health at this link.]

Meanwhile, the forecast for Memorial Day Weekend calls for warmer air than we normally see this time of year, in metro Detroit and statewide. Click here for the detailed forecast.