Warning: dangerous swimming in Lake Mich.

Tribune Staff • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:44 PM

The beach hazards statement is in effect until 2 a.m. Thursday for beaches from St. Joseph to Manistee. Beaches with particularly dangerous conditions include Holland State Park, Muskegon State Park, Mears State Park in Pentwater, Stearns Park in Ludington and North Beach in South Haven.

The advisory calls for:

* High wave action with strong currents and dangerous swimming conditions expected.

* Strong structural currents expected.

* Strong longshore currents expected.

* Rip currents possible.

Overview/potential impacts:

* Winds from the north will increase behind a cold front this afternoon and evening, which will build waves into the 3-5 foot range.

* Beaches on the north side of piers will be most prone to hazardous swimming conditions.

* The winds and waves will diminish overnight.

* High wave action makes swimming difficult and can tire even a strong swimmer quickly.

Structural currents form along piers where longshore currents and wave action flow into the structure. Structural currents can sweep you out into deeper water along the pier structure.

A longshore current is a lake current that moves parallel to shore. Longshore currents can be strong enough to prevent swimmers from being able to keep their feet on the bottom, making it difficult to return to shore.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore, which occur most often at low spots or breaks in sandbars. Rip currents can sweep you into deeper water.


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