Temp drop at area beaches possible this week


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Summers in West Michigan along the lakeshore are unmatched, but a wind out of the north this week could push the warm surface waters away from shore long enough for much colder water to surge up from the surface, meaning a sharp temperature drop for beachgoers.

The process of warm water pushing offshore and cold water rushing up to our beaches is called upwelling. Upwelling usually happens when we have a steady, brisk wind out of the north or the east over the big lake for more than a day.

This wind power is usually enough to shove warmer water offshore, exposing us to chilly 50 degree temperatures below.

Winds have been out of the north over several West Michigan beaches already on Tuesday. Water temperatures Tuesday morning were registering in the upper 60s and low 70s.

Already this season, we experienced a sharp drop in water temperatures just before the Fourth of July along our coast of Lake Michigan. Water temperatures plummeted from near 70 degree to the upper 40s and low 50s! It can take several days for warmer waters to return to shore.

Surface water temperatures of Lake Michigan this year (red) compared to average (blue)

You can keep an eye on current conditions this summer on our Lake Michigan Beach and Boating page.

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