Check this before heading to the beaches in Chicago

It might be hard to believe but beach weather is just around the corner. Highs will be back into the 80s by Sunday and near 90 degrees by Memorial Day. Before you pack up the beach ball and towels you might want to check the National Weather Service's recreational beach forecast.

Here is an example of the information you will find in each forecast:

TODAY... Swim Risk*..................Low.

Wave Height.................1 to 3 feet.

Water Temperature...........49-53.

Weather.....................Mostly cloudy. Patchy fog. 

Showers likely and a chance of thunderstorms.

High Temperature............In the upper 60s.

Winds.......................Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph.

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The Great Lakes beach hazards page can alert you to any dangers lurking along the shores. The biggest threat today is hypothermia with water temperatures now in Lake Michigan only in the 40s and 50s (even some 30s in the middle of the lake), 

The "beach headlines" graphic is updated frequently to highlight areas of low, moderate or high swim and rip current risk. 

There are more sources of information for a "deeper dive" into water and wave conditions.

NOAA's Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System offers a graphic depicting the water temperatures for the lakes. It is displayed using Celsius instead of Fahrenheit.  For a quick glimpse of water temperatures in text form (and in Fahrenheit) the Chicago office of the National Weather Service provides that at this link.

For a graphical forecast of wave heights you can check out NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory page

Last but certainly not least, to find out how much sunscreen you will need, don't forget to check the UV Index. You can find it at this link.

You can find a more detailed hour by hour UV Index forecast at www.uvindextoday.com.

The National Weather Service likes to say "know before you go!" Hopefully these links will help you better prepare for your day at the beach.