Chicago’s beaches may be open for the season, but experts are warning residents to use caution when going out on the water this weekend.
That’s because the Lake Michigan water temperature is still on the cold side, holding at 54 degrees in Chicago as of Saturday at noon.
According to the National Weather Service, “even strong swimmers can lose muscle control in about 10 minutes” in water that is cold, with officials recommending that boaters, kayakers and swimmers wear life vests if they are planning on going out on the water because of the chilly conditions.
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According to the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, cold-water immersion can create a condition called “immersion hypothermia,” which can conduct heat away from the body up to 25 times faster than air.
Hypothermia can occur at some level in any water that is below 70 degrees, according to NIOSH.
Chicago’s beaches opened for the first time this weekend, and while lifeguards are on duty, experts are still cautioning residents to be careful when entering the water because of the cool conditions.
In the coming days, the water temperatures should begin to rise as warm air gets pumped into the region, with air temperatures expected to soar into the 90s by Monday.