Lake Michigan water temperature still frigid despite warmup

Grand Haven, Lake Michigan
The sunset over Lake Michigan at Grand Haven. (Courtesy Thurston De Vos, file)


PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Don’t let the unusually warm temperatures fool you: Lake Michigan is still very cold.

About 25 buoy cameras float in the Great Lakes, monitoring conditions including wind speed, wake heights and water temperatures.

Tuesday, the buoy stationed in the middle of Lake Michigan recorded a water temperature of just 44 degrees. Near the Grand Haven shore, Lake Michigan’s temperature measured 49 degrees Tuesday.

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While that’s warmer than the average Lake Michigan temperature of 41.5 degrees, it’s nearly 40 degrees colder than West Michigan’s highest air temperature for the day.

Lake Michigan’s chilly temperatures poses a threat to anyone who ends up in its waters, as hypothermia can set in quickly. With water temperatures in the 40s, it only takes 30 to 60 minutes for a swimmer to become exhausted and possibly lose consciousness.

Water temperatures depend on how big and deep the lake is. The larger and deeper the lake, the longer it takes to warm up after winter.

The silver lining: smaller inland lakes are warmer. Wednesday morning, the temperature for Dean Lake in Plainfield Township was about 70 degrees. The water temperature for Reeds Lake was about 63 degrees.

No matter what lake you visit, you should always wear a life-preserver.