Coast Guard urging residents to avoid Lake Michigan due to high waves from weekend snowstorm

CHICAGO — The Coast Guard is reminding area residents to exercise caution, heed heavy surf warnings and avoid the shoreline of Lake Michigan as remnants of this weekend’s snowstorm continue to create dangerous surf conditions and high waves.

Residents, curiosity seekers and outdoor enthusiasts are urged to stay off of walkways near the Lake, as well as rocky terrain, beaches, piers and jetties which may appear safe; however, may be icy and slippery. Waves and winds are extremely unpredictable and can cause onlookers to slip and get washed or pulled into the surf.

As this weekend’s weather system continues to move out of our area, and as winds subside and skies clear, residents should understand that heavy surf and high waves on Lake Michigan will typically take an additional day, at least, to calm.

Hypothermia is the biggest danger after falling into the water, even if one manages to get out immediately. Hypothermia sets in quickly as the human body’s core temperature drops below 95 degrees (35 degrees C).

“Survival time is greatly diminished for someone immersed in water below 70 degrees,” said Cmdr. Max Moser, deputy commander of Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, in Milwaukee. “Cold water drains body heat up to 25 times faster than cold air. We urge everyone to use extreme caution due to unsafe lake conditions resulting from the past weekend’s storm. Our first priority is to keep people out of dangerous situations.”

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