High winds make for dangerous waves on Lake Michigan

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Lakeshore Flood Advisory issued for Cook and Lake counties was extended to 11 p.m. Saturday as strong winds and 11 to 14-foot waves are expected throughout much of the weekend.

It is on days like this that Lake Michigan shows just how imposing and dangerous it can be, but in true Chicago fashion, people were flocking to the lake instead of away from it.

"The strength of the waves, it's incredible, knocked me off my feet a number of times, but some amazing, thrilling runs. Just crazy, absolutely crazy," said boogie boarder Howard Samuel.

It is a boogie boarder's paradise. Wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour are causing up to 15-foot waves. While some run from the lakefront on days like this, others run and bike to it.

"This is weather-permitting for us," said Brian McElligott, Bobby's Bike Hike Chicago. "Rain or shine, cold, wind, hurricanes, anything. We keep going."

Photographers love to shoot Lake Michigan this time of year.

"It's a great tool for observing light and observing conditions," said amateur photographer Scott Anderson. "Everybody's out here. It's almost like a holiday. If you're a photographer, this is the place to go."

Starting on Friday, winds from the northeast blew sand around and caused waves to slam into lakefront trails. Low-lying parts of the lakefront trail were closed to joggers and bike riders due to flooding. Some of those who went around barricades near Oak Street got caught in high water on Friday morning.

Winds of up to 40 miles per hour triggered waves that sunk a 30-foot sailboat in Monroe Harbor, by severing its mooring and causing it to take on water.

VIDEO: Sailboat sinks in Montrose Harbor

A Gale Warning is in effect until 10 a.m. Saturday for all of the Chicago area harbors in Illinois and Indiana.

"If you do go out, be very smart make sure you have your life jacket on," said Chicago Sgt. Ruben Ramirez. "We've gotten calls with people in distress."

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