Strong gusts could bring waves as high as 20 feet to Lake Michigan

The fury of Mother Nature was causing problems along Chicago’s lakefront on Wednesday.

Huge waves driven by 45 mile an hour winds forced the closure of parts of the Lakefront Trail. The waves were also creating dangerous conditions for anybody getting close to the shoreline.

It was a beautiful but potentially deadly sight at the 57th Street Beach, as massive waves pounded the lakefront from north of Chicago all the way to Michigan.

The National Weather Service declared a Lakefront Flood Advisory through Thursday afternoon, as 12 to 16 foot waves would be crashing the shoreline — forcing the city to close parts of Chicago’s Lakefront Trail.

"I was trying to get down to Streeterville but it looks like I'm going to have to take the long way around," said Alex Bost.

Despite the danger, there were plenty of people drawn to the lakefront to see the spectacle firsthand and take pictures for social media.

But one Chicago fire department diver warns that this is how people get hit by rogue waves and sucked into the water.

"Today we’ve got 40+ mile an hour winds. We have cold water. We have no lifeguards on duty. So one of the things we have to be aware of is undertows and rip currents. Anybody into these waters with 5 to 6 foot waves could get swept in very easily," said Jason Lach of CFD Marine Dive Operations.


A restaurant at Oak St. Beach was being pulled apart by the waves piece by piece. A garbage dumpster and an icemaker could be seen bobbing in Lake Michigan.

"Well this is my normal walking route. But I guess it’s not gonna be today. So I’m just gonna detour and look for the surfers," said Chicago resident Joni Light.

Sure enough, FOX 32 found one man in a wetsuit with a surfboard, riding the waves Chicago style.