lake michigan waves

Warning: Danger In Lake Michigan This Weekend

June 14, 2019 - 8:01 pm

(WWJ) Take heed, Michiganders, if your plans include a day at the beach this weekend. 

The National Weather Service warns that strong currents and dangerous swimming conditions are expected in Lake Michigan at least through Saturday morning (June 15), particularly in Leelanau, Benzie and Manistee Counties.

Putting out a Beach Hazards Statement, NWS Grand Rapids says waves up to 5 or even 7 feet are possible along the lakeshore.

Lake Michigan water levels are the highest in 33 years and a combination of high water levels and high winds had caused some piers to be nearly submerged.

Beaches that could experience dangerous conditions include Grand Haven State Park, Pere Marquette in Muskegon and South Beach in South Haven. The largest wave are likely to be in the area of Little and Big Sable Points, forecasters say. 

The high waves can make swimming difficult and can tire even a strong swimmer quickly. Structural currents, which form along piers, can quickly sweep swimmers out into deeper water along the pier structure. The NWS warns that dangerous rip currents --  powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore, most often at low spots or breaks in sandbars -- are also possible. 

Late last summer, rough conditions on Lake Michigan took the lives of two people, leaving several others hospitalized, after swimmers went underwater in a state park near Grand Haven.