Higher lake levels mean smaller beaches this summer

CHICAGO (WLS) -- High water levels in Lake Michigan means that Chicago beaches will be more crowded when they open for the summer on Friday.

Water levels have been increasing over the last few years. Currently, the water is at 580 feet -- one foot above average for May.

Just four years ago, the lake was four feet lower.

However, the current level does not break the 1986 record, which was 2.3 feet higher than current levels.

City officials monitor water levels year-round and ensure there are efforts to limit beach erosion.

"Lake levels are naturally cyclical and we do see lake levels a little higher this year, than they have been over the last couple of years this won't affect our operations you can still come on out and enjoy the beach," said Cathy Breitenbach, of the Chicago Park District.

On a related note, the city's water quality testing process has been sped up thanks to a partnership with the University of Illinois-Chicago. Previously, results for water quality would take 16 hours, but now will only take two to three hours. null
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