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'Life-threatening' swimming conditions on Lake Michigan, flood warning extended, NWS says
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'Life-threatening' swimming conditions on Lake Michigan, flood warning extended, NWS says

high waves along the lakefront in nwi FILEE

High waves batter Whiting’s Whihala Beach during a storm. 

Fourth of July weekend is set to start with hazardous swimming conditions due to high waves and dangerous currents. 

A beach hazard statement has been put into effect until late Friday night for Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Cook counties, according to the National Weather Service. 

The NWS called the conditions "life-threatening, especially for inexperienced swimmers."

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There will be waves of up to 4 to 8 feet high are expected. People should stay out of the water and not venture out on piers, jetties, break walls or other shoreline structures. 

Gusty northeast winds traveling at 30 to 35 mph are expected to continue making high waves and strong currents at beaches in Illinois and Indiana, leading to a high swim risk all day Friday in addition to Thursday. 

According to the latest data released Wednesday from the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, there have been a total of 16 Lake Michigan drownings so far, in addition to two people whose final outcome is unknown. 

Sunday is predicted to bring a limited excessive heat risk with temperatures in the high 80's. Monday will also be in the high 80's with a limited excessive heat risk, and there will also be a limited thunderstorm risk. 

Meteorologists predict Tuesday and Wednesday may bring more thunderstorms. 

In addition, a flood warning has been extended for the Kankakee River at Dunns Bridge, affecting Jasper and Porter counties. It has also been extended for Kankakee River at Shelby, which will affect Lake and Newton counties. 

A flood warning indicates that water levels that are above flood stage are imminent or may already be occurring. People who live along the river and streams have been instructed to take immediate precautions to protect their safety and property. 

The NWS has not issued an end to the flood warning for those regions, but will release additional updates at 12:30 a.m. Friday. 

The NWS warned residents in those areas to not drive vehicles in flooded areas, which can lead to serious injury and drowning.  

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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts and investigative news. She is a graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology. 219-933-4194, anna.ortiz@nwi.com

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