Sandy kicking up 20-foot waves on Lake Michigan - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Sandy kicking up 20-foot waves on Lake Michigan

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CHICAGO -

Superstorm Sandy is so vast it's kicking up near record-high waves of 20 feet out on Lake Michigan, several hundred miles from the center of the storm that's pounding the East Coast.

National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Krein says the record wave height on the lake is 23 feet, set around the same time last year during a strong winter storm.

Krein says what's unusual is that this time, it isn't a winter storm, but the outskirts of a former tropical system that is so large it's producing storm conditions on Lake Michigan.

Krein says wind speeds were at 54 mph Tuesday morning.

Officials in Chicago are warning residents to stay away from the lakefront. Portions of the bicycle path along Lake Shore Drive are closed.

Meantime, cargo shipping on the Great Lakes is at a standstill as crews have taken refuge from waves up to 20 feet high churned up by the storm.

Freighters as long as 1,000 feet haul loads of iron ore, coal and other bulk commodities on the lakes. Most if not all have taken refuge in harbors or bays to escape the storm's wrath.

Glen Nekvasil of the Lake Carriers' Association said Tuesday he wasn't aware of ships moving anywhere on the lakes. His Cleveland-based organization represents U.S.-flagged vessels. Robert Lewis-Manning of the Canadian Shipowners Association says everything's come to a halt in Canadian waters as well.

Bad weather has caused many shipwrecks on the lakes, including the legendary ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald that sank in a monster 1975 Lake Superior storm.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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