High waves up to 7 feet and dangerous currents are expected at Lake Michigan beaches
CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Beach Hazard statement is in effect for Lake Michigan Labor Day weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
High waves up to seven feet and dangerous currents are expected at Lake Michigan beaches.
The Beach Hazard statement was issued as of 3:15 p.m. Saturday and will continue until 10 a.m. Monday.
Swimming conditions will be life-threatening, especially for inexperienced swimmers, NWS warns. Officials said to remain out of the water to avoid dangerous swimming conditions and do not venture out onto piers, jetties, breakwalls, or other shoreline structures.
In the wake of several drowning incidents there will be special focus on the lakefront, Chicago safety officials announced Friday.
"Lake Michigan is fun, but it can also be dangerous," said Chicago Fire Department Deputy District Chief Jason Lach. "In recent weeks, the Chicago Fire Department has had several emergency runs for drowning victims and injured people in the water."
With 560 search and rescues made along Lake Michigan so far this year, the Coast Guard says Chicago is the third highest city for water rescues.
"Unfortunately, of those 560 cases, 29 people have not come back from them. And that's why I'm standing up here today, is because I want to drive home safety," said Commander Tom Pequignot, with U.S. Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan.
Warning of dangers on the water, police are also adding more bike patrols and deploying extra resources to major events to keep everyone safe.
"Please don't swim alone. Swim with a partner, and understand that even the strongest swimmers can be overtaken by rip currents and other conditions out in the lake," Brown said.
The marine and dive team will also be on patrol over the weekend and ready for deployment, as officials urge people to not swim alone and always wear a life jacket.
On Monday at 7 p.m. the city's beaches officially close for the season and no longer will be staffed by lifeguards.
"I want to remind everyone that when there is no lifeguard on duty, you cannot be in the water," said Rosa Escareño, Chicago Park District CEO.
For information on swim advisories or bans at Chicago beaches: www.cpdbeaches.com.