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Cold Lake Michigan Water Temperatures Create Risk

Christopher Furlong, Getty Images

Memorial Day weekend brought near-perfect weather across Michigan.

Many enjoyed the water over the holiday.

Even with outdoor temperatures in the 80s, the cold waters of Lake Michigan still create a big risk.

On May 27, water temperatures in Lake Michigan were in the mid-40s to mid-50s for much of West Michigan. Just to the north, water temperatures in Lake Michigan were in the mid-30s to mid-40s.

The U.S. Coast Guard Great Lakes provides estimates on water temperature/time it takes to lose consciousness.

  • 0°-32°, < 15 minutes
  • 33°-40°, 15-30 minutes
  • 41°-50°, 30-60 minutes
  • 51°-60°, 1-2 hours
  • 61°-70°, 2-7 hours
  • 71°-80°, 3-12 hours
  • Over 80°, indefinite

The USCG shares life-saving information about how to survive the cold water.

  • Always carry a life jacket or floating device, not just to keep afloat, but also to decrease the energy you would otherwise have to use to stay afloat by swimming
  • Do not try to swim (you’re losing heat energy!) to shore, unless the it is reachable or very close…many times people misjudge how close the shore may be
  • Devote your effort to getting out of the water only if you are very near the shoreline or are able to climb atop a nearby floating object
  • You must stay calm to decrease the chances of losing body heat at a faster rate
  • Stay clothed to keep body heat closer to the body
  • If in a group, huddle together to preserve heat

View more information on Lake Michigan water temperatures and the risks of cold water.

Follow Matt Milhouse on Facebook and Twitter.  Listen to 100.5 The River weekdays, 10 a.m.– 3 p.m.

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