NWS warns of dangerous Lake Michigan currents

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities urged swimmers to avoid Lake Michigan Tuesday as the National Weather Service issued a Beach Hazard Statement.

The statement warned of dangerous longshore, rip and structural currents, which can pull even experienced swimmers far out into the water. The NWS said the north sides of northern piers would be the most dangerous areas.

Tuesday afternoon, winds between 15 and 20 mph were coming out of the northwest. Storm Team 8 says 5-foot waves were recorded in some areas.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Beach and boating conditions

On beaches from St. Joseph to Manistee, red flags signaled hazardous swimming conditions.

generic lake michigan waves generic flag signal system generic lake hazardsOnly a few people headed to the beach to see waves between 3 and 5 feet at Silver Beach in St. Joseph, and no one ventured into the water while a 24 Hour News 8 crew was there.

In South Haven, a police officer said he couldn’t order people out of the water, but he advised staying dry.

At Holland State Park, red flags did not prevent some swimmers from going in — even though the area north of the pierhead where they got into water is known for dangerous rip currents. Others stayed safely on the shore, but not many. Most beach-goers were locals who said they weren’t disappointed to have the area to themselves.

Cool temperatures likely contributed to people avoiding the beach. It was below 70 degrees at the lakeshore all day.

24 Hour News 8 did not hear reports of anyone needing to be rescued from the lake as of late Tuesday afternoon.

The rip current risk was expected to decrease after 8 p.m.

>>Inside woodtv.com: More information on Bill’s Blog

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