Recent Lake Michigan drownings reminder of rip current dangers
The high waves and rip currents on Lake Michigan Thursday caused at least two people to lose their lives.
Wave heights in parts of Berrien County spiked to six feet Thursday evening.
Always respect Lake Michigan— Tom Coomes (@TomCoomes) July 31, 2020
Waves have calmed to under 3 ft this afternoon. Conditions changed quickly Thursday evening when waves spiked to 6 ft.
The lake is calmer Saturday but clouds increase with showers this weekend.
Forecast ? https://t.co/81y0RPW0Tf pic.twitter.com/ACGEMnJmhQ
The number of drownings on the Great Lakes have spiked over the last five years. Lake Michigan is where the majority of drownings occur every year.
This year, 23 people have drowned in Lake Michigan as of July 31. While most incidents have happened outside of Michiana (Berrien or LaPorte counties), the year to date numbers doubled with the drownings this week.
If you are going to be swimming in Lake Michigan, check the forecast before you head out. Anytime a front or wind shift is on the way, wave heights usually are going to rise.
However, if you are caught in a rip current, don't try to fight the current. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you can safely escape the current. If you can't get out of the current right away, float or tread water until you can. Call or wave for assistance if you need help.
Make sure to respect the lake and heed any swim warnings, like red or yellow flags.
Swimming conditions could be dangerous at times in August as well, as Michiana typically sees multiple wind shifts and storm systems move through the end the summer.