Wills Weather Word

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Rip Current Season-Beware

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The 4th of July is usually a fun time of year with warm weather and summer vacation. Many people will take to the lake for time on the beach and cool off in the refreshing water of Lake Michigan. However, caution is advised when it comes to safety in this summer ritual.
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Wednesday June 20, 2012

Here is a response to a viewer who e-mailed SurfGrandHaven who inquired about using the State Park flag system: Flag color is a difficult way to gage water safety. There are several problems with using this system. 1. Changing conditions can occur faster than the ability to change flag color. 2. The flag color is subjective and qualitative, compared to objective and quantitative. 3. Flag placement is important. 4. Swimming area is important. SurfGrandHaven cares deeply for the safety of swimmers in the Grand Haven area. As a veteran surfer of over 45 years, I have been involved in many water rescues with my surfboard in the State Park where the flag system operates. The main problem is that the general public does not understand the dangers of swimming in the “swimming area” of the state park. Couple that with the relative inexperience of the state park personnel who hire only seasonal youths to work the state park, that have no water safety training. It is a wonder that we don’t have more injuries and loss of life at the state park. I view swimming at the state park is comparable to walking on the shoulder of a busy highway. The margin of error is very slim, and sooner or later accidents will happen. There is no reason to put people in danger. We are working with the City of Grand Haven Public Safety on a joint project, called Water Rescue which is designed for surfers to aid distressed swimmers, as first responders. I would like to take it a step further and put a program in place to reduce the number of incidents in the first place. This spring I asked the Supervisor of the State Park to make changes to their past procedures. The initial problem is that the swimming area is poorly designed. The swim buoys are too close to the pier. The flags are posted a long way from the water. The state park staff are not trained in water safety. On Monday, June 18th, I went to the main gate of the state park and asked what the water temperature was for the day. The young man at the gate said it was 66 degrees, and he said that they may change the flag color in an hour or so. I asked if I could swim anywhere in the swim area, even next to the pier? He said sure, “you can even walk out on the pier and jump in”, even though the red flag is flying. We are at the beginning of the "rip current season" now that the water temperature has reached 70 degrees. From now until Labor Day, the risks to swimmers is largely dependent on marine conditions. Here at SurfGrandHaven, we would rather warn of the dangers of swimming at the state park, instead of picking times to take a chance of swimming near the pier. ...
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Monday March 26, 2012

Lake Michigan water temperature, like our air temperature is much above normal for this time of the year. Typically, we see the last of our lake ice melt away around March 19, each year. However, last week there was no ice to be found anywhere on the Great Lakes with the record warm air temperatures. In fact, the water temperature near shore reached the upper 50's on the southern part of Lake Michigan. One factor that may not be as obvious, is the role of wind speed and direction in the record setting water temperatures last week. The surface water became exceptionally warm because of the low wind speeds kept the vertical mixing in the lake to a minimum. Therefore after a few days with air temps in the 80's and light winds, the surface lake water was able to rise 15-20 degrees in a single week. Last Sunday with the cooler weather we saw how gusty northwest winds brought the surface lake temperatures back down to the low 40's, or 15 degrees cooler than the temperature earlier in the week.
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Do you have an event?

SurfGrandHaven wants to promote your community events in our event section. It's a community service and we ask that it be an event that benefits the residents of our area. Check out the new listings.
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Lake Michigan Water Levels

Everyone would agree that the winter of 2011-2012 has been very mild......
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Indoor Community Garage Sale

I don't know about you, but after a few years the house seems to fill up with a lot of stuff....
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Highland Park Cottage Rentals

Check out the prime-time cottage rental in Highland Park in Grand Haven. ...
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Swimming, Surfing and Rip Currents

The current placement of swimming buoys needs to be reevaluated....
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What happened to winter?

Many Grand Haven residents are asking what's with the weather?...
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