GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The last Beach and Boating forecast of the season is bringing sunshine, a holiday weekend, and unfortunately, dangerous beach conditions.
DANGEROUS WAVE HEIGHTS
Winds take a southerly trend early Friday and stay that direction for much of the weekend.
Friday is, by far, the calmest day of the weekend. Winds will come from the south/southwest at 5-10 knots, bringing waves up to 3 feet at times, especially north.
Winds pick up Saturday at 15-25 knots kicking up waves to 2-4 for most of the day. Isolated 5 foot waves cannot be ruled out. Expect most beaches to fly red flags or close water access altogether. The south side of piers will be particularly dangerous as waves pile up. Rip currents are likely to form.
Remember, if a double red flag is flying at local beaches, water access is closed. A fine may be given if patrons enter the water.
Slightly calmer conditions arrive Sunday and Monday, but it will still be breezy. Southwest winds continue at 15-20 knots with 2-4 foot waves. Mostly yellow flags will be flying.
COOL LAKE TEMPERATURES
In addition to dangerous waves, water temperatures have cooled significantly over the last few days. Most local beaches are reporting in the mid 50s to mid 60s.
The Muskegon buoy has dropped nearly 20° over the last two days thanks to upwelling.
Upwelling occurs when cooler water beneath the surface mixes closer to the surface. Therefore, it feels cooler to swimmers.
HEAT RAMPS UP
The unofficial end of summer is nearing as Labor Day weekend approaches. The summer temperatures, however, are sticking around.
Temperatures continuing warming to the mid to upper 70s by the lakeshore Friday and Saturday. Inland will be substantially warmer with highs in the low to mid 80s. Plenty of sunshine will be sticking around.
By Sunday and Monday (Labor Day) the heat is on. Well-above-normal highs are expected in the low to mid 80s.
IS FALL AROUND THE CORNER?
Grand Rapids average high temperature falls more than 10° throughout the month of September. That may not be the case this year.
As temperatures warm into Labor Day weekend, the dew points rise as well. Expect mid to upper 60s through mid-week. It will feel a bit sticky during those peak afternoon hours.
Above-normal temperatures will stick around through the first and second weeks of September. This isn’t only the case here in West Michigan, but for most of the country. Expect highs near or above 80°.
With above-normal temperatures, rain chances are far and few between. The next chance for any showers and storms arrives Wednesday.
The Lake Michigan Beach and Boating forecast is sponsored by Michigan State University Federal Credit Union.