Chicago residents are being urged to stay away from the shores of Lake Michigan in coming days, as dangerously high waves are expected on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Wind gusts of up to 45-to-50 miles per hour are expected on and near the lake on both Wednesday and Thursday, leaving to several advisories and warnings from the National Weather Service.
The winds are expected to cause waves that could top 10-to-14 feet, which would cause flooding of lakefront parks and trails. Flooding is also possible in ports, river mouths and roadways along the lake because of the high waves, according to forecasters.
With those dangerous conditions, Chicago officials are urging residents to be safe along the lake, avoiding piers and breakwaters and avoiding swimming in the lake.
“We are also expecting 8-to-12 foot waves, which on the bike baths could definitely wash somebody into the water,” Jason Lach of the Chicago Fire Department said.
With at least 14 people having drowned in the lake so far this year, Chicago officials are beginning to install new life rings in both swimming and no-swim areas along the lakefront. Those rings are going up even after swimming season came to an end in the city on Labor Day, with red flags posted at all city beaches.
The Chicago Police Marine Unit says it will be patrolling the lake to ensure that residents remain safe, and urged boaters to take proper safety precautions and to keep an eye on weather forecasts to ensure that conditions aren’t too rough for watercraft.