`Dangerous waves` at Chicago area beaches: Alert - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

`Dangerous waves` at Chicago area beaches: Alert

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Strong winds and high waves expected to pound the lakeshore from the northern suburbs to northwest Indiana have prompted the National Weather Service to issue warnings to beachgoers and small craft operators through Wednesday and at least one suburb to close its beaches.

Strong northerly winds behind an unseasonably strong cold front are expected to develop Tuesday and continue into Wednesday, blowing down the length of Lake Michigan and bringing dangerous waves and rip currents to area beaches, the weather service says.

It has issued a special beach hazards statement, in effect until Wednesday afternoon, for the lakefront in Lake and Cook counties in Illinois, and Lake and Porter counties in Indiana. That's when "unseasonably large waves" are likely, up to 10-12 feet with occasional higher waves possible, particularly from Chicago south to northwest Indiana.

The large waves, according to the weather service, will inundate wave vulnerable locations along the shore, including a few spots along Chicago's lakefront bike path. Because of this, the weather service is urging people not to venture out onto breakwalls or too close to breaking waves, since "occasional rogue waves" could reach up to 15 feet and sweep anyone who is at those vulnerable spots into the lake.

Because of the dangerous waves and "life-threatening" rip currents, the weather service is also urging people who will be visiting the beaches to stay out of the water. It also issued a small craft advisory through Wednesday afternoon.

The city of Evanston took a precautionary step Tuesday afternoon, announcing it has closed its six beaches because of unsafe and worsening wave and current conditions. Evanston's dog beach is open only on the sand, with the water portion of the beach closed.

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