15 foot waves spotted near Milwaukee

Several surfers spotted along local beaches
Posted at 6:57 PM, Oct 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 19:57:51-04

Strong winds created dangerous conditions along Lake Michigan’s western coastline on Wednesday. The National Weather Service issued a gale warning for the area throughout the day. Waves as tall as 15 feet were spotted near Milwaukee.

While TODAY’S TMJ4 crews couldn’t find any boats on the water, several surfers were spotted along Bradford Beach and Atwater Beach.

"This is the glory of god right here," said onlooker Jeff Worcester. "Winds and waves."

Others flocked to the Milwaukee Harbor to watch from afar.

"I see people walking all the way down there showing off to their girlfriends and almost getting flushed overboard," said photographer Tim Holte.  

Throughout the day, U.S. Coast Guard boats in Milwaukee have been docked without having to respond to a rescue call.

"Weather like this is almost deemed unsafe and too much of a risk for even us to operate in a search and rescue," said Zach Hall with the U.S. Coast Guard - Lake Michigan. 

Hall said gales are caused by high winds more than 40 miles per hour. He calls the crashing waves a common site for fall, but even late in the season boaters aren’t usually their biggest concern.

"It’s going to be people like surfers, kite surfers, wind surfers, playing around in the water getting in over their head,” Hall said.

Throughout the warning, Hall urged everyone to stay out of the water, suggesting onlookers should keep a safe distance.

"Please stay away from all piers, try to stay as far away from the water as you can," he said.

The National Weather Service said the Gale warning is set to expire at 10 p.m. Wednesday.