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Forecasters: Stay away from Lake Michigan Monday as waves build, waterspouts likely

A lakefront flood advisory and small craft advisory are in effect for the Lake Michigan shoreline in the Chicago area Monday morning through Tuesday as powerful waves pummel the coast, forecasters said.

A waterspout was reported in the lake from Evanston about 7 a.m. and about 5 miles off the coast of Rogers Park about 7:15 a.m., according to meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Chicago.

The lakefront flood advisory and small craft advisory are in effect until 4 p.m. Tuesday along Lake Michigan from southern Wisconsin over to the Michigan shoreline, with waves up to 10 feet and winds up to 25 knots this morning. A special marine warning was in effect 9:15 a.m. and from Wilmette Harbor to Calumet Harbor near shore, and from Wilmette Harbor to Michigan City in open waters.

“Conditions will remain favorable for showers producing waterspouts in an axis 3 to 8 miles off the northeast Illinois shore through at least mid-morning. In addition, under and near these showers will be strong wind gusts and quickly building hazardous waves,” according to the weather service.

Chicago closed the Lakefront Trail between Oak and Ohio streets because of high waves Monday morning, according to the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Waterspouts can easily overturn boats and create locally hazardous seas, meteorologists said. Small craft could be damaged in briefly higher winds and suddenly higher waves.

Forecasters said light showers are possible throughout the day, but the building waves, spurred on by strong winds, could remain dangerous until Wednesday.

“Wave action has increased sharply early this morning. Stay away from the lake today, and really through Tuesday as waves will remain high!” forecasters at Chicago’s National Weather Service posted on Twitter.

Meteorologists said a buoy in Lake Michigan near Wilmette saw waves build more than 5 feet in the span of three hours.

Offshore locations that could be dangerous include Calumet Harbor, Wilmette Harbor, 31st Street Harbor, Montrose Harbor, Monroe Harbor, Belmont Harbor, Burnham Harbor, 59th Street Marina, Jackson Park Harbor, Diversy Harbor and DuSable Harbor.

More weather news can be found here. Check back for updates.

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