Beach hazard warning for high waves, rip currents in effect

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Beach-goers should exercise caution on Wednesday. The National Weather Service predicts "life-threatening" waves and dangerous swimming conditions at Lake Michigan beaches.

A beach hazard warning is in effect for lakeshore areas in Lake and Cook counties in Illinois and Porter County in Indiana until 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The weather service warned people to stay out of the water on Wednesday. Waves between 3 ft. and 5 ft. tall, strong rip currents and structural currents are expected.

Rip currents are fast-flowing channels of water that lead away from the shore. NWS said they usually occur at low spots of breaks in sand bars. Structural currents tend to form where a wave or current flows into a structure, like a pier. Both types of currents can pull simmers into deeper water.

"It doesn't suck them in, it pulls them out. People do what they shouldn't do, which is swim against it. If you get caught in rip currents, the best thing to do is swim parallel to shore," Chicago Fire Department Deputy Chief Ron Dorneker said.

For more information about swim bans or advisories at Chicago beaches, visit