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Beach hazard statement extended through late tonight

Becky Vargo • Aug 28, 2018 at 4:03 PM

UPDATE: The warning for hazardous swimming conditions on Lake Michigan beaches from St. Joseph to Manistee has been extended until 11 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29.

North winds of 15-25 mph will slowly diminish this evening to 10-20 knots by midnight. The 3- to 5-foot waves should subside to 1-3 feet toward midnight.

Strong longshore currents and structural currents are expected to continue. The north sides of piers will be the most dangerous place to swim.

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Most of the visitors were staying out of the water during a red flag day at Grand Haven State Park on Tuesday.

A few people tested their abilities in the churning water, while others chanced a walk on the lower section of the south pier between washes of water.

A beach hazard advisory, in effect until late Tuesday, has been extended through Wednesday afternoon, with a chance of severe weather Tuesday night. High waves, strong currents and dangerous swimming conditions are expected, according to the National Weather Service.

Strong structural and longshore currents are expected at beaches in West Michigan from South Haven north to Manistee. Rip currents are possible.

The currents

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.

Flood watch

A flood watch for Ottawa County continues through Wednesday morning.

Several rounds of showers and thunderstorms are expected tonight. Rain from recent storms has saturated the ground. Parts of Muskegon County have received more than 6 inches of rain since Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service.

In areas where heavy rain showers are repeated, up to 4 inches of rain is possible.

Hazardous outlook

Damaging winds and hail are possible with some of tonight’s storms.

The National Weather Service said the area should be dry most of Wednesday and Thursday, but storms could enter the picture again over the weekend.

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