Beach Hazard in effect for 5th day; 2 drown in Lake Michigan over weekend

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Beach Hazard is in effect for the fifth day in a row with officials warning everyone not to get in the water, especially after two drownings in Lake Michigan last weekend.

The National Weather Service has issued the Beach Hazard statement for Cook and Lake (Ill.) counties until 10 p.m.

In Waukegan Sunday, a man was thrown from a jet-ski and pulled out of Lake Michigan. He was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Then, two men disregarded warnings and jumped into the lake near Fullerton Avenue. Officials pulled the men out. One of them died.

Red flags are flying over 25 beaches across the city warning people to stay out of the lake.

RELATED: Man who died in Lake Michigan was trying to save daughter, 12, who slipped on rock

The waves are so dangerous that for the first time in 37 years, the swimming portion of the triathlon was canceled Sunday. It has been a dangerous summer for lake rescues.

"We've been on a record pace this whole summer," said Dave Benjamin of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. "When we are comparing Lake Michigan on this date in 2018 we had 27. Today we've got 35."

Lisa Wiersma is heeding the warning for good reason.

"A couple of years ago, I walked along the terrace and I didn't expect the waves to come up so quickly," Wiersma said. "I mean, I'm comfortable around water, but the waves came up so quickly I complletely fell. My lab went into the water. I had to let go of the leash, so that was a real wakeup call for me as to what the power of water is."

Runners and walkers along North Avenue Beach are keeping their eyes and ears open to avoid potentially dangerous situations.

"You judge how far up the waves are coming,"said walker Mary Kathleen Natelson. "Obviously, sometimes runners have to be in the bike lane and vice-versa."

The National Weather Service is calling the waves and currents, life threatening. Both piers at North Avenue and Montrose Beach are closed. Lake Michigan water levels are also at the highest level seen in years.
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