Lake Michigan waves dying down, but lake conditions still dangerous

MILWAUKEE -- In superstorm Sandy's wake, the U.S. Coast Guard continues to warn boaters and gawkers that Lake Michigan is dangerous. While the wind has died down as of Wednesday, October 31st, Coast Guard officials say waves in the lake could top 10 feet.

Ahead of Sandy making landfall on Monday night, October 29th, Milwaukee police, fire and Coast Guard officials warned residents to stay home and watch Sandy on TV -- and stay away from the dangerous Lake Michigan. Officials said the condition of Lake Michigan would likely be too risky for anyone to be on or near the water.

Officials even shut down lakefront parking and closed off access to break walls to deter people from getting too close to the water.

Despite the warnings, several took to the lakefront on Tuesday to catch a glimpse of the large waves created by Sandy.

On Wednesday, the waves weren't as high, but Coast Guard officials warned the danger lurked off shore, where huge waves continued to churn.

Christopher Drayna came to the lakefront Wednesday to check out the conditions on Lake Michigan.

"Some of (the waves) are spaying six to eight feet over my head!" Drayna said.

"(There is a) gale wind warning in effect until (Wednesday) afternoon. Then, we still have a small craft advisory probably until the weekend," Lt. Brian Dykens with the Coast Guard said.

An amateur photographer snapped photos of a 13-foot Coast Guard boat disappearing as it dipped on the back side of a wave Tuesday. Lt. Dykens said waves exceeding 10 feet were still possible beyond the break walls Wednesday.

Meanwhile, at the Port of Milwaukee, an enormous ocean liner with a shipment of steel was missing Wednesday. The boat was delayed by two days after seeking shelter from the rough seas.

Captain Jason Woda with Reel Sensation charter fishing crossed his fingers for one last October charter. Winds from Sandy ruined any change of fishing -- but Captain Woda said he is thankful the biggest waves stayed out in the lake.

"90% of all the charters in the area were all out last week. I stuck it out, hoping for the phone to ring over the last week. Had that wind been 30 degrees different out of the east, northeast, we would have seen something very, very cool. (Waves) would have been big," Woda said.

Captain Woda decided to take his big boat out of the water for the season. He plans to use a smaller boat for charters in the winter months -- but he'll have to wait to head back out onto the lake. There is a small craft advisory expected to last into the weekend.

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