Dangerous beach conditions Thursday


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The beaches and waters of Lake Michigan offer a nice respite from the summer heat, but sometimes they can become dangerous.

Thursday is one of those days. A cold front swept through Wednesday night and stronger northerly winds will arrive Thursday

The stronger winds will only last one day, therefore, adverse swimming conditions will not last long.

Winds will be consistently from the northwest 10-20 knots. The net result will be building wave heights of 3-5 feet with isolated six footers from South Haven to Benton Harbor.

The air temperatures will not be as warm Thursday with highs at the beach in the 70s also accompanied with a cool wind.

Water temperatures took a big hit this past weekend and are not quite as inviting with readings in the 50s and lower 60s. The strong wave action today will likely keep the cold water in place.

This is a very popular time of year along the lakeshore with campgrounds at full capacity. Storm Team 8 is concerned that people will venture onto the piers and breakwaters instead of going into the water. Storm Team 8 would not recommend that today with the near record high water levels. This will easily allow waves to crash onto the piers that could sweep you off the structure.

Holland State Park and Pentwater are two piers that are the most susceptible and dangerous with stronger north winds. Also, keep in mind that with the higher water levels there’s more slippery moss that has formed on the piers.

Much improved conditions will arrive Friday and will continue through the weekend. Waves of two feet or less are expected Friday through the weekend.

Storm Team 8 expects the beaches will continue to be very popular through next week with a bon-a-fide heat wave in the forecast. This ought to really help warm the water temperatures.

Meteorologist Ellen Bacca will present the latest Boat and Beach forecast along the lakeshore beginning at 5 p.m. on WOOD TV8.

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