DOWNTOWN — There could be "life-threatening" waves and currents at beaches in Chicago on Thursday.
The National Weather Service warned that waves could reach 4 to 7 feet at beaches in northeast Illinois, and there could be rip currents and structural currents that can carry swimmers into deeper water. The warning is in effect until 7 p.m. Thursday.
"People visiting the beaches should stay out of the water," the National Weather Service said in a beach hazards statement.
Exposed beaches — those without breakwalls or jetties — will be "most likely" to experience the waves and currents. The Chicago Park District did not have any bans in place at city beaches besides Fargo Beach as of 2 p.m. Thursday.
Rip currents are potentially deadly channels of water that go away from shore. Structural currents can "form along piers" and carry swimmers into deeper water along the pier, according to the National Weather Service.