Lake Michigan storm bringing big waves, high winds

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 19, 2011 2:09 PM
Lake Michigan storm bringing big waves, high winds

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The southern section of Lake Michigan could see waves of 25 feet or more later on Wednesday with wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour prompting shore line warnings from southwestern Michigan into Wisconsin.

Warnings for storm-forced winds extended to parts of Lake Huron into Thursday morning with forecasts for a lesser impact up into Lake Superior, the National Weather Service said.

Gale force winds of up to 45 miles per hour already were pushing waves of up to 10 feet onto the shore in the Chicago area by midday, forcing the park district to close part of a lake front jogging and cycling path.

"We expect those speeds to build across the rest of the lake through the afternoon all the way up to northern parts of Michigan and Wisconsin toward the Upper Peninsula of Michigan all the way across the lake," said Mike Bardou, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Chicago area.

Conditions like these are seen typically about twice a year and the forecasts for winds, waves and flooding are similar to a storm that struck in late September, Bardou said.

On Wednesday, waves on the southern part of Lake Michigan were expected to reach 14 to 18 feet in the afternoon and build into the evening. Winds are expected to reach nearly 60 mph with gusts up to 65 mph possible into the evening, he said.

The weather service issued a gale warning for the southern half of Lake Huron early Wednesday, expanding to a warning for storm-level wind gusts possible as far north as Presque Isle, Michigan from Wednesday evening to Thursday morning.

Wind gusts could reach more than 60 mph on parts of Lake Huron with 23-foot waves expected and up to 28-feet possible, the weather service said. On Lake Superior, wind gusts of more than 40 mph and waves of up to 17 feet are forecast.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Jerry Norton)