As Hurricane Sandy pounded the East Coast on Monday, officials along Lake Michigan's southern shore were urging caution as high winds out of the north generated increasingly bigger waves.
Waves as high as 20 feet high were being predicted along the south shore on Tuesday.
At the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, three low-lying parking areas will be closed Tuesday when dangerous wind and waves and flooding are expected along the lakeshore.
Bruce Rowe, public information officer for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, said parking areas at Mount Baldy, Central Avenue and Porter Beach/Wabash Avenue, will be closed Tuesday.
Rowe said the park officially will remain open, but they are urging the public to use caution in all areas of the park, even away from the lake, where high winds could bring down branches and trees along the trails.
The National Park Service's Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk site will remain open, but the beach, breakwater and riverwalk will be closed, Rowe said.
Waves on an already churned up Lake Michigan were building Monday as crews worked feverishly to get a 56-foot yacht that ran aground in New Buffalo, Mich., to safety.
In New Buffalo, several workers from Boat U.S., a marine towing company, worked well into the night and managed to get the twin engine Carver away from the rocks.
The boat late Monday morning was still on the bottom of the lake a few hundred feet from shore with forecasters calling for waves currently at 6 to 9 feet to more than double in size later in the day.
"It's a bad situation," said Mike Swietlik, a dispatcher with Boat U.S., which has ports all around Lake Michigan including Chicago, St. Joseph, Mich., and Michigan City.
Swietlik said the captain was heading from New Buffalo to St. Joseph about 10 a.m. Sunday to have his boat stored for the winter.
He just cleared the mouth of the channel when both propellers hit the shallow bottom, killing the engines.
Swietlik said the owner was not able to anchor down fast enough and the strong north winds pushed the vessel into the rocks on the west side of the breakwall.
Using one inch thick nylon rope, Swietlik said the tow boats out as late as 3 a.m. managed to pull the vessel away from the rocks.
Crews were back out after sunrise attempting to get the boat into the harbor.
Swietlik said there were no guarantees they would be successful before conditions would force them off the lake.
U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Brian Dykens said crews were preparing to get off the lake due to the waves continuing to build.
They were planning to anchor down the boat as best as possible to withstand the pounding expected from waves predicted to reach 20 feet or higher from winds generated by Hurricane Sandy on the east coast.
At the Port of Indiana, crews were taking extra precautions to secure vessels.
Ken Stone, operations manager at Lakes and Rivers Transfer, said they have three empty barges at the port and they are putting extra ropes on them to keep them secure.
Stone said the barges are bobbing quite a bit in the rising waves, even inside the harbor.
"Hopefully everything will hold strong for the next 24 to 48 hours," he said.
"The waves have definitely increased," Stone said Monday afternoon. "The swells are getting bigger out there. The wavers are getting bigger inside the harbor too."
In Lake County, the Lake County Police Department Marine Unit will be staffed 24 hours per day due to the high winds and waves, according to Sheriff Buncich.
Officers will remain there to ensure no boats are on the lake.
Times correspondent Stan Maddux contributed to this report.