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Lake Superior Swimming Risky as Beach House Opens

Updated: 06/10/2014 11:32 PM
Created: 06/10/2014 3:37 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

A beautiful day across the Northland Tuesday, but down by Lake Superior a cool breeze is fueled by even cooler water. It's creating dangerous conditions for swimmers.

"Hypothermia is a big risk," Cheryl Vander Heyden, with the Duluth YMCA, said. "It's always a risk in Lake Superior because it never gets very warm, but the risk is much higher this year."

The Park Point Beach House opens Wednesday, but the water isn't ideal for swimming. The temperature is in the mid-40s. That's five to ten degrees cooler than usual this time of year.

"I totally recommend going down and sitting on the beach and if you want to put your toes in," Vander Heyden said. "The total body submerging is not something I would recommend."

Vander Heyden said water that is 40 degrees and below is considered immediately life threatening and very dangerous. Just a few weeks ago, Lake Superior still had ice and was about 35 degrees.

"It's kind of annoying that it's so cold because I want to go swimming and I can't," beachgoer Jillian Klatte said.

Signs of hypothermia include shivering, lips turning blue and clumsy speech or walking.

The Park Point Beach House will start being staffed by lifeguards Wednesday and is open until Labor Day.

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