Weather warms up, but Lake Michigan stays cold

EMBED </>More Videos

Beach crews at 31st Street are finishing up their final preparations before swimming season starts Friday. While it will be warm outside, the water will be a different story. (WLS)

Beach crews at 31st Street are finishing up their final preparations before the swimming season begins Friday. While it will be warm outside, the water temperature will be a different story.

Starting Thursday, the mercury was rising with highs in the 80s and even low 90s by the end of the Memorial Day weekend.

The Chicago Park District's beaches officially open Friday, but Chief Petty Officer James Doll of the U.S. Coast Guard said that warm air temperatures don't necessarily mean safe swimming conditions.

"The water temperature is not going to be up, it's still in the mid 50's and that's something everyone should be aware of. We have to dress for the water temperature and not the air temperature," said Chief Petty Officer James Doll, US Coast Guard, Station Calumet Harbor.

Doll said temperatures under 60 can lead to cold shock and even experienced swimmers should consider wearing wetsuits.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Park District will be staffing lifeguards on the beaches starting Friday. The lifeguards will be on duty from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day through Labor Day.

The Park District said keeping the beaches clean is another way to keep beach-goers safe.

"We expect our beaches to get a lot of love beginning this weekend so we're asking everybody to do their part to help up out. We have about 4,000 garbage cans up and down the lakefront. Please use them. If you come out for a picnic, put your trash in the bin, put your recycling in the blue bin. Help keep our beaches beautiful and clean," said Cathy Breitenbach, Director of Cultural and Natural Resources at the Chicago Park District.

The Coast Guard said they'll be ramping up their patrols on the water this weekend. In particular, they'll be looking out for drunk boaters.
Related Topics:
weatherwaterlake michiganswimmingbeaches
(Copyright ©2018 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)