Dangerous Lake Michigan waves swallow piers, walkways

Southwest Michigan
Lake Michigan South Haven pier

A June 13, 2019 photo shows a bird’s-eye view of the high waves on Lake Michigan swallowing the north pier in South Haven.

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Heavy rains and strong winds are leading to extreme conditions on Lake Michigan and a warning from the National Weather Service: stay out of the water.

A lakeshore flooding advisory is in effect through 8 p.m. Thursday. Waves off the big lake swallowed the north pier in South Haven Thursday morning. High waves and elevated water levels also sent waves crashing onto the walkway of South Haven’s south pier.

>>App users: Watch the waves in South Haven here.

The NWS also issued a beach hazards statement through Thursday evening. The NWS expects waves to reach as high as 15 feet, leading to life-threatening swimming conditions. Additionally, strong rip and structural currents are possible, which could sweep swimmers into deeper water.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Weather Alerts | Beach and Boating Forecast | Great Lakes water levels

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources also warns swimmers and boaters to be vigilant about water over docks that have electrical power, which are typically located near a marina. The DNR says those docks pose a risk of electric shock drowning, which happens when a person comes in contact with an electrical current in the water.

The DNR says ESD can be prevented by avoiding getting into water near a marina or dock.

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