Dangerous Rip Currents in Great Lakes Region
According to michiganseagrant.org, dangerous currents and breaking waves are common in all of the Great Lakes.
Even though I'm not much of a swimmer, I do know that rip currents and other currents found near piers and other places are extremely dangerous for swimmers and many can drown from these strong currents.
"Michigan Sea Grant is a proud member of the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium, a group dedicated to promoting water safety and ending drowning in the region." (michiganseagrant.org)
Most people know them as rip currents although some call them rip tides or undertows. I can tell you that I've personally never heard of anyone that I know getting caught in a rip tide and hopefully it will stay that way.
If you take a look at the science of currents, they can form from any combination of wind waves, bottom formation, beach slope, water temperature, and natural outlets.
"After the pressure builds up, the water creates a pathway and gushes from the shore back out to open water. That's a rip current. A narrow but powerful stream of water and sand moving swiftly away from shore." (michiganseagrant.org)
Here's something I'll bet you didn't even know:
Rip currents vary in size and speed and can be found on many beaches every day.
Strong currents are always present along piers and breakwalls, and they can be found where rivers and streams empty into the lake.
The next time you plan on taking the whole family to one of the Great Lakes, there are three things to be aware of when it comes to dangerous current related incidents. And they most often occur when:
1. Winds are blowing towards the shore.
2. Wave heights reach 3 to 6 feet.
3. A cold weather front is passing through.
It's important to keep in mind that when there are onshore winds and breaking waves dangerous currents may be present.