Stay off the piers and keep yourself and your boat out of the water.
This is the message the National Weather Service and the FOX17 Meteorologists want you to remember if your Labor Day Weekend plans take you to Lake Michigan on Sunday or Monday. While you can enjoy the Lake on the beach, while dodging some rain and storms all day Sunday and Monday morning, you will be putting your life at risk if you step onto the piers or in the water any time of the day, both of those days.
Red flags will be flying, a clear sign of the danger. If those don't catch your eye, the rough seas will hopefully deter you enough. Waves will peak between 6 -9 feet Sunday evening into Monday morning. Gale Warnings go into effect Sunday morning and last into Monday morning.
We have seen drownings and water rescues when waves are only a few feet in height this year. This has a lot to do with the record high Lake Michigan water levels. With how high the water is now, it only takes waves of a few feet in height to sweep you off the pier.
Sunday and Monday will be rare days for this time of the year because of the strength of the low pressure to our north. Wind will increase out of the south throughout the day on Sunday, increasing the wave height and swim risk each hour. The wind will remain very strong until the cold front pushes through Monday morning. Wind will slowly subside into Monday evening, but the risk remains high until the sun goes down.
The risk will also be elevated during thunderstorms that move through Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Monday morning. If a thunderstorm is approaching and you are on the beach, find shelter until it passes. There is also a risk of severe weather with the storms that develop along the cold front Sunday evening into Monday morning. Heavy rain and lightning is likely with damaging wind gusts and large hail a possibility.
If you take the chance and venture out into the dangerous waves or onto the piers, make sure your friends or family know where you are going to be if help if needed. You will still be able to enjoy last bit of summer on the sand, but your life will be at risk if you go into the water or onto the piers.