Today was a wash for many looking to get wet on the beaches of Lake Michigan, as high waves continued to pound the shore.
At Tiscornia Beach in St. Joseph, the official policy is “swim at your own risk,” but today, very few people did. In fact, the problem was obvious—even to a visitor from the “Show Me State.”
“We haven’t been swimming, I don’t think we will,” said Ken Moberg of Kansas City.
Yesterday, waves between six and ten feet hit Michigan City where two swimmers had to be rescued by lifeguards.
Today, waves were estimated to be between three and five feet: High enough to continue to pose a high risk.
“Red flags were posted yesterday, they are posted today (at Silver Beach),” said Brian Bailey, Executive Director of the Berrien County Park Department.
“When we got here it was disappointing to figure out that we drove all the way from Illinois and we can’t even go in the water,” said a frustrated pre-teen in her swim suit.
“I don't think it’s really rough because we were in Florida the waves was more rougher and they allow us to swim,” said an adult with the group.
At Silver Beach, the red flags represent more than just a suggestion that conditions are dangerous.
“No it's a rule here at Silver Beach County Park, we, our lifeguard staff will tell people that there's no swimming, which means no going in the water really. And if people disobey our ordinance, we'll ask them to leave,” said Brian Bailey.
The emphasis here is on safety, and that is not something Bailey takes lightly.
"We're doing the right thing by keeping people out of the water, and preventing an accident from happening," he said.
That leaves vacationing families with little choice but to remain patient, as their days-off pass by. “Two out of our four days have been water-less,” said Maria Padd of Chicago, “But we’re OK with that.”
This afternoon, patience finally paid off—at least for near-the-pier Silver Beach where the red flags were replaced by yellow—allowing patrons to swim with caution.
Those who rushed into the water quickly found out that it ‘felt’ as uninviting as it looked.
“The water on Monday was in the low 70’s to mid-80’s,” said Bailey. “Today we have a report of 53 degrees, so we had a north, northeast wind, and typically when you get a, particularly northeast wind, that pushes the warm-what I refer to shore water out. That wind pushes that water out and replaces it with some colder water.”
While Silver Beach did lift its swimming restrictions, the red flags flew at Warren Dunes all day long.
At very least, the forecast calls for calmer water overnight.