WEST MICHIGAN — An area of low pressure over the Dakotas as of this writing is dragging a cold front eastward. This front will arrive in West Michigan Thursday afternoon. Although there is little or no moisture of significance with this front, it will bring windy conditions to the area for Thursday and Friday, along with a drop-off in temperatures by Friday.
The strong winds will certainly play an impact on Lake Michigan conditions as we approach Labor Day weekend. Small Craft Advisories and High Beach Hazard risks have already been issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) for most of the area. Here is a look at the latest Marine Forecast for tomorrow:
And here is a look at forecast wind speeds and gusts for tomorrow afternoon:
High winds like this will produce large waves, dangerous rip currents, and structural currents. All of which will make conditions dangerous for swimmers, and unsafe for most recreational boating activity. Even pedestrians walking out towards local pier heads are at risk of being swept away by large waves. So the bottom line is this: Keep a safe distance from Lake Michigan on Thursday.
Even on Friday, waves and currents will still be a big factor, producing a moderate or high beach hazard risk once again for swimmers and people walking out towards local pier heads. Although winds will be a bit lighter, they will still be strong enough on the lakeshore to produce 6 to 8 foot waves at times. Here is a look at Friday's Marine Forecast, along with a look at Saturday and Sunday:
The above forecast suggests that Saturday is your best bet for making plans to swim or boat on Lake Michigan, with waves only expected to reach 1 to 2 feet. Sunday will be windy enough for at least a moderate beach risk, plus we will have to watch for dangerous lightning in the afternoon and evening.
Temperatures look seasonably mild over the weekend, with the possible exception of Friday -- which will be a bit cooler than average with highs only in the lower 70s. Otherwise, we expect mid to upper 70s for highs. In addition to the storm chance on Sunday, Labor Day itself could also be a bit on the wet side with a chance of rain in the forecast.
Stay tuned to FOX 17 for updates!