Lakefront warning: Don't go in the water

MICHIGAN CITY – Anyone who was planning to head to the beach on Thursday might want to think twice before heading into the water.

The National Weather Service has issued a Lakeshore Flood Advisory and Beach Warning Statement for La Porte County as well as Berrien County, Michigan, including the Lake Michigan beaches.

The warning is in effect from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, and discusses the threats of lake shore flooding, high waves and dangerous swimming conditions, strong rip currents and strong structural currents.

"The combination of high water levels on Lake Michigan, strong onshore winds, and wave heights of 8 to 12 feet, occasionally up to 15 feet, can result in flooding of areas along the lakeshore," the Weather Service said in its statement.

"Additionally, these conditions will create life-threatening swimming conditions."

It said the combination of high waves, wind and above-normal water levels could result in beach erosion and minor flooding along the lakeshore, with high waves expected to wash over jetties and piers.

It also calls the combination of high waves and strong currents at the beaches a threat.

"People visiting the beaches should stay out of the water," the warning said.

"Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from the shore, which occur most often at low spots or breaks in sandbars. Rip currents can sweep you into deeper water."

Structural currents, meanwhile, form along piers where longshore currents and wave action flow into the structure.

"Structural currents can sweep you out into deeper water along the pier structure," the Weather Service said.

If the warnings aren't enough to keep you away from the beach, the weather just might be.

Thursday's forecast calls for a high only around 60, with an 80 percent chance of rain in the morning hours, with northwest winds of 15-25 mph, gusting as high as 35 mph.

Friday might be a better day, with the forecast calling for mostly sunny skies and a high near 75, with southwest winds from 5-15 mph.

More rain and storms are expected for the weekend.

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