The Long Arm of Hurricane Sandy Roils Lake Michigan

It isn't unusual for stormy weather to roil the waters of Lake Michigan, with big waves crashing against Chicago's ridged seawalls and creating what I like to call natural fountains. But these events usually happen when the weather system is right on top of us.

When I went out to photograph the lake this afternoon, the stiff winds whipping up the waves were produced by the outer bands of Hurricane Sandy -- a storm that was about 1,000 miles away and was hours from landfall along the New Jersey shore.

And conditions here in the Great Lakes region are expected to get worse as the storm -- now merged with a cold front that had been marching west until it collided with this massive tropical remnant of summer -- moves west into Pennsylvania and then turns north toward New York and an uncertain final destination.

A lakeshore flood warning is in effect from 1 a.m. tonight through 4 p.m. on Wednesday, with waves of 18 to 23 feet, driving by winds gusting to 45-55 miles per hour, predicted by Tuesday. Flooding near the lake and coastal erosion appears likely.

From a megastorm the center of which will not come within hundreds of miles of Chicago.

And yet, the wild waters produce some awesome beauty. Here are some photos from a wild walk by the lake.

Lake Michigan waves October 29 2012

Lake Michigan waves October 29 2012

Lake Michigan waves October 29 2012

Lake Michigan waves October 29 2012

Lake Michigan waves October 29 2012

Lake Michigan waves October 29 2012

Lake Michigan waves October 29 2012

Lake Michigan waves October 29 2012

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