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'Life-Threatening' Waves, Rip Currents Lead To Swim Warning And Bans

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's not the greatest beach weather anyway, with lakefront temperatures hovering around 70 and strong north winds, but those hitting the sand the next couple of days are being warned to stay out of the water.

The National Weather Service has issued a Beach Hazard Statement, warning of high waves and dangerous rip currents, for the next two days. The warning, now in effect, remains in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday as northerly winds of 10-25 mph are expected.

"Life-threatening waves and currents are expected at the beaches," the NWS warning states. "People visiting the beaches should stay out of the water."

The warning affects beaches in Lake and Cook counties in Illinois, plus northwest Indiana, southwest Michigan and southeast Wisconsin.

Swimming bans have been put in effect at several Chicago beaches, including North Avenue, Oak Street, Osterman, Fargo and MT Burroughs. Swim advisories have been posted at several others, including Ohio Street, Montrose, Rainbow, North Shore, Humboldt and Lane.

The "dangerous swimming conditions are expected to persist through Saturday evening," NWS warns.

They includes waves reaching 7-10 feet along the beaches, and strong rip currents and structural currents expected.

Rip currents are strong channels of water around sand bars or low spots that can drag swimmers into deeper water, NWS says. Structural currents occur near piers or other structures and also sweep swimmers out into deeper waters.

The status of Chicago beaches can be found here.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2016. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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