Hazards increase for boaters and swimmers Memorial Day

Posted at 5:01 PM, May 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-24 18:59:05-04

LAKE MICHIGAN — While we have the chance for some showers and thundershowers on Monday as a warm front lifts through the state, there’s an even bigger risk on Lake Michigan for Memorial Day if you plan on venturing out in the boat or swimming in the water. Since this weekend marks the unofficial start to summer…especially at the lakeshore, this is also the very first time this season the National Weather Service has issued a HIGH BEACH HAZARD RISK for swimmers up and down our West Michigan shoreline.

Winds will increase on Monday from the south to southwest at about 15 to 30 mph with some higher gusts. That means SMALL CRAFT ADVISORIES have already been issued for the lake on Monday with waves running about three to five feet. It also means swimmers could be facing dangerous conditions like rip currents, structural currents, long shore currents, breaking waves, and wave return. In fact, a strong south/southwest wind will likely yield structural currents on the south side of all piers and jetties…so make sure to exercise caution. Our state and county parks along the lakeshore will likely have red flags flying throughout the day on Monday in an effort to deter swimming.

While the day itself will be gloomy with the chance of a few showers and thundershowers in the morning as a warm front lifts through the area, we may see more of these again on an isolated/scattered basis in the afternoon…perhaps firing on a lakeshore breeze. SOme sun is possible in the afternoon over the lake as well. Michigan will be squarely in to the warm sector of an approaching frontal system which will increase our humidity levels and place us in a somewhat unstable environment. That said, the day itself won’t be the best for swimming considering Lake Michigan water temperatures up and down the shoreline are only in the upper 40s/low 50s at best!

The attached graphic is our FOX 17 Lake Michigan (boater/beach) forecast. The numbers in the corresponding cities are water temperatures taken from the satellite Sunday morning. The red along the lakeshore indicates a “HIGH” beach hazard risk. Expect three to five foot waves throughout the day on the water with a few showers or thundershowers possible.

Get the complete forecast for the inland locations too at Have a pleasant, peaceful, and safe Memorial Day!