Warm first weekend of autumn, but Lake Michigan could be dangerous

Large waves expected on Saturday
Posted at 10:49 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 22:55:08-04

WEST MICHIGAN — The first weekend of fall might feel a bit more like summer with above average temperatures (highs in the mid 70s to lower 80s) in the forecast. That could bring a crowd of people to Lake Michigan one last time before the cooler weather sets in next week, but take caution if you do decide to make that trip.

After a day with relatively light winds on Friday, south winds will increase on Saturday. This will create large waves and structural currents on Lake Michigan. Here is a look at forecast wind speeds and direction for late Saturday afternoon:


So according to this model, wind gusts by the lakeshore will be in the mid to upper 20s at this time. This is enough to make Lake Michigan quite turbulent, but waves could increase further during the evening as this same model suggests even stronger winds and gusts at 8:00 P.M.


Sustained winds around 20 mph with gusts in the 30s are possible near the lakeshore at this time. As a result, waves of up to 5 feet are expected by Saturday evening. Here is a look at the Lake Michigan forecast for Saturday, with Sunday and Monday included as part of the 3 day forecast graphic:


The 3 to 5 foot forecast is focused on the center of the West Michigan lakeshore (Holland to Grand Haven). So with a south wind on Saturday, even bigger waves (6 or possibly even 7 feet) will be likely north of Grand Haven. Waves of 4 to 6 feet will also be possible on Sunday with a strong westerly wind.

If you happen to have Friday off, that looks like the best beach day with highs around 80° and waves of only 1-2 feet for most of the lakeshore most of the day. Waves will build somewhat during the evening, but should still fall into the 1 to 3 foot range for the most part.


Once we get into next week, chillier air will arrive and rain chances will increase. This could effectively end the "beach season" in West Michigan. Stay tuned to FOX 17 for updates!