Coast Guard warns of dangerous waves, rip currents

11:44 PM, Jul 19, 2013   |    comments
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MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- The U.S. Coast Guard urged swimmers to use extreme caution and suggests stay out of Lake Michigan Friday after gusty winds and storms whipped waves three to six feet high, creating the perfect conditions for deadly rip currents.

At Pere Marquette Beach southwest wind gusts of 40 miles per hour pushed offshore currents and big waves north up the beach and right into breakwall; it's the most dangerous place to swim because that's where rip currents often form.

A short distance from the breakwall daring swimmers were in deep taking on the big waves. Others proceed with caution knowing what could happen.

"We know the undertow is dangerous so we did not go out very far," said swimmer Neil Wilson. "We only went out a shot distance then got knocked back in by the waves."

On a hot day people like Tina Jordan wanted to go in the water, but the mother took one look at the conditions Friday and decided to leave Pere Marquette beach, settling for Fulton Street beach on Muskegon Lake. The beach is blocked from the winds responsible for creating dangerous waves on the big lake.

On a day when beach hazard warning are out Jordan suggests others use the Fulton Street beach too; it's a safer alternative when Lake Michigan is choppy. "The water is cool and it is not overly crowded."

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