National Weather Service teaches public about beach hazards

With beach weather quickly arriving in the Upper Peninsula, the National Weather Service in Marquette is helping educate residents about potential beach hazards.

The service’s Beach Hazards Awareness Week was created to inform the public about various Great Lakes currents, waves, and other dangers that could pose a threat to swimmers. In addition to posting daily informational updates on their website and social media, the NWS continually provides hazard forecasts to help beachgoers stay prepared.

“One of the things we’ve been saying is, you know, ‘know before you go.’ Check our beach hazard forecast. Just go on there and check that out before you head to the beaches,” said NWS Meteorologist Keith Cooley. “When you get to the beach, watch for the flags that are up. You know, if there’s a red flag day, you don’t want to go out and swim. That can be hazardous for anybody, even expert swimmers.”

In addition to rip and channel currents, the National Weather Service advises swimmers to watch out for the uniquely large and rapid waves of the Great Lakes, and for other hazards such as hypothermia. The service also warns against swimming near piers, jetties, or the mouths of rivers, as hazardous currents can be far more active in these areas.

“We actually kind of compare that to the inside of a washing machine,” Cooley added. “The currents are really erratic, you know. They’re all over the place.”

To find out more about Great Lakes hazards and how they can affect your day at the beach, head to the NWS Marquette website.