68
      Thursday
      82 / 61
      Friday
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      Saturday
      85 / 62

      Deadly currents lurk just offshore

      Most people don't believe that it's a big problem on the Great Lakes.

      "But on average, there's about 10 to 11 people that drown per year within the Great Lakes system due to rip currents," said Matt Zika, N.W.S. Meteorologist.

      Just like any other current, rip currents are fast-moving streams of water. But this type of current rips swimmers away from the shoreline.

      While it happens in each of the Great Lakes, some areas are particularly more hazardous.

      There were multiple drownings in Lake Superior over the last few years. Picnic Rocks is a local Marquette area notorious for dangerous currents. Double-red flags are posted there every day warning swimmers to stay away.

      Flags at each location let you know how safe it is to swim.

      Green flags indicate a low hazard, while red flags are posted during the most hostile swimming conditions.

      "Always keep a close eye on your children. We do have lifeguards that are watching, but nothing takes the place of mom and dad keeping an eye on the kids," said Tom Belt, Marquette City Fire Chief.

      Belt suggests only swimming in the 11 miles of guarded beach areas like McCarty's Cove, South Beach, and Middle Bay Beach at Presque Isle.

      Swimmers caught in these deadly currents should never fight against them. Even Olympic swimmers can't compete with current speeds measured, at times, up to eight feet per second. It's not impossible to escape, though.

      "Rip currents typically aren't a very large stream of water flowing out from the shoreline," Zika said. "And so, if they swim a little way in either direction from where they're at, they can swim away from that current that's pulling them away from shore, and they can return back to safety."

      The Marquette area beaches are open with lifeguards on-duty generally from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend. If you live in the Marquette or Alger county area, the Marquette National Weather Service forecasts Rip Currents here: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mqt/?n=rip_risk

      City of Marquette Waterfront Safety page: http://www.mqtcty.org/Beachfront/default.html

      More information on rip currents:

      http://ripcurrents.noaa.gov/

      http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mqt/?n=rip_toc

      http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mqt/?n=whatconditionscauseripcurrentstodevelop?

      http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mqt/?n=ahistoryofripcurrentsandchannelcurrentsonthegreatlakes

      http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mqt/?n=lakesuperiorripcurrenthistory

      http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mqt/?n=whatconditionscausechannelcurrentstodevelop?

      http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mqt/?n=marquettenwsripcurrentpage

      http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2012/20120604_ripcurrents.html