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Gale Warnings issued waves up to 26 feet forecast

Gale Warnings issued waves up to 26 feet forecast

Lake Michigan, Huron and Superior

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MICHIGAN.  October 16, 2019  (LSN) Gale Warnings are being issued by the National Weather Service for the Great Lakes surrounding Michigan as another high-wind fall storm system takes aim at Michigan. And as to be expected as the calendar marches toward November, Lake Superior is not messing around. Waves up to 26 feet high are forecast for our biggest of the Great Lakes during Monday and Tuesday’s storm, which is likely to send freighters seeking safe harbor close to the Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota shorelines.

Gale warnings are issued when winds are forecast to gust between 39 and 54 mph.

The storm system that whips into Michigan on Monday and sticks around until early Wednesday is expected to bring rain, high winds and big waves that are predicted to eat away more duneland along the lakes’ shoreline, the NWS said.

The Gale Warnings go into effect at different times Monday for each lake, and wave forecasts are different for each. Let’s take a look:

Lake Huron

The Gale Warning goes into effect from 2 p.m. Monday to 4 a.m. Tuesday. Sustained winds of 35 mph from the southeast are expected, with gusts up to 47 mph. Maximum winds are expected around 9 p.m. Monday. The biggest waves are expected to reach 11 to 16 feet, with the waves peaking around midnight.

“Deepening low pressure to the west will lead to a transition to moderate easterly flow tonight,” the NWS said. “This low is forecast to deepen throughout the day Monday supporting a transition to uniformly strong southeast flow with gusts to gale force expected Monday afternoon through Monday evening. This will be especially true over northern Lake Huron where gusts to 40 knots or more seem plausible by Monday evening.”

See massive waves from last week's storm

Massive waves pummel Lake Michigan shore during October gale

“Winds will veer to the southwest late Monday night into Tuesday, with gale or near gale force gusts expected again after a relative lull during the morning hours.”

Lake Superior

The highest waves are forecast for our northernmost Great Lake. The gale warning is in effect from 2 p.m. Monday to 1 a.m. Tuesday, with sustained winds of 43 mph from the east, and gusts possibly reaching 54 mph, the NWS said.

Maximum winds are expected around 8 p.m., with the largest waves expected to peak around 11 p.m.

“The largest expected significant waves will be 18 feet, with a maximum wave height of up to 26 feet possible,” the NWS said.

“Operating a vessel in gale conditions requires experience and properly equipped vessels. It is highly recommended that mariners without the proper experience seek safe harbor prior to the onset of gale conditions.”

Lake Michigan

“Strong southeast winds will develop ahead of the approaching low on Monday, followed by strong south to southwest winds Monday night and Tuesday,” the NWS said, adding that wind gusts over the open waters of Lake Michigan may top 50 mph at times.

The Gale Warning goes into effect at 9 a.m. Monday and lasts through 1 a.m. Wednesday - the longest of the warnings for our Great Lakes.

Waves of 8 to 11 feet are expected on Monday, with some forecast to reach 14 feet, and wave action continuing into Tuesday.

Meteorologists predict this will be a longer high-wave action storm than the one we saw last week. That storm washed away 20 feet of dunes along some areas of Lake Michigan, prompting the NWS to label it the most shoreline-destructive storm since 1986.

By Tanda Gmiter | tgmiter@mlive.com

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