Beach visitors scramble for shelter as storm rolls in

A life preserver on the Grand Haven State Park breakwater.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD)— The National Weather Service is warning that the waters of Lake Michigan may turn dangerous Monday, as potentially severe storms roll into the area.

The NWS expects particularly dangerous conditions spanning from St. Joseph to Manistee, beginning 2 p.m. Monday.

The beach hazard statement includes South Beach in South Haven, Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon and Grand Haven State Park.

The Grand Haven Department of Public Safety has deployed officers to the campground area to ensure all visitors take shelter before the storm arrives.

Public Safety Director Jeff Hawk says campers and visitors without vehicles can take shelter in buildings at the state park or YMCA.

Those in a vehicle are advised to find shelter at the Grand Haven Community Center at 421 Columbus Street.

Hawke says if a tornado warning siren sounds, Grand Haven visitors and residents should take shelter in a building or go to a basement or interior room with no windows.

>>More: Michigan Weather Alerts

The NWS expects dangerous swimming conditions and strong currents, including:

  • Structural Current– This forms along piers where longshore currents and waves combine. The force can sweep swimmers out into deeper water along the pier structure.
  • Longshore Current– A lake current that moves parallel to shore. Can be strong enough to prevent swimmers from keeping their feet on the lake bottom, making it difficult to return to shore.
  • Rip Current– A powerful channel of water flowing quickly away from shore which is most commonly found in low spots or breaks in sandbars. The force can sweep swimmers into deeper water.

The NWS says waves could build into the three to five foot range Monday afternoon which could grow even higher as a storm system moves into the area.

The beach hazard statement will remain in effect through Tuesday morning.

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