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Beach Season in Duluth? Real time Data Accessible for a Lake Superior Beach

Recreational kayaker Sierra Moen couldn't feel her feet when she pulled up onto Duluth's Park Point Beach on Thursday afternoon. "The air temperature may be in the 80s, but Lake Superior is numbingly cold," she said. Such differences in air and water temperature along Park Point are common and are just one reason why Lake Superior beachgoers and recreationalists might want to access near real-time data compiled at www.ParkPointBeach.org before heading to Lake Superior's most popular beach this summer.

The ParkPointBeach.org website offers updates on beach, weather, and water conditions 24/7 from June through October. Useful information for recreationists includes water temperature, wave height, UV index, rip current risk, weather, and bacteria information for the Lake Superior beaches along Park Point, assembled from the National Weather Service and other organizations. A photograph of the beach is uploaded hourly thanks to Solglimt Bed and Breakfast's webcam.

This beach season, several Duluth radio stations are reading out the beach reports from ParkPointBeach.org as public service messages to listeners from Monday through Friday. Potential beachgoers can also check on the water and wave conditions at Park Point Beach through Twitter (@ParkPointBeach) and Facebook, where real-time alerts to dangerous conditions are posted. News of ParkPointBeach.org's real-time data and its value is being extended at Canal Park locations throughout the warmer months via restaurant coasters, t-shirts, Frisbees, and other summer-friendly items that are available to order through Minnesota Sea Grant. The public service campaign is also visible through local television and theater commercials.

ParkPointBeach.org was born because this six-mile stretch of beach is popular among visitors and residents but it also can be surprising to them once they get there. "Fog and water temperature can be only part of the surprise," said Jesse Schomberg, Coastal Communities and Land Use Extension Educator at the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program. Rip currents can form off of Park Point and occasionally other less-than-ideal beach conditions spring up. My colleagues and I knew of useful information about the beach that was scattered over the internet and discovered from surveys of beach users that nearly everyone was interested in at least some of this information. By compiling it in one place, folks that just want to know the water temperature will also see if there are beach closures or rip current risks that day."

How to access ParkPointBeach.org information this summer:

  • Go to ParkPointBeach.org
  • Follow @ParkPointBeach through Twitter.
  • "Like" Park Point Beach" on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ParkPointBeach
  • Turn your radio to 103.3 KUMD at 11 a.m. to hear the Beach Report, Monday through Friday.
  • Turn your radio to NU92 or KQDS to hear the Beach Reports during the morning show Monday through Friday.

From 2002-2012, 413 rip and channel current-related incidents occurred in the Great Lakes. For beach dangers such as these, the best way to prevent incidents is for recreationists to be aware of them. ParkPointBeach.org, which provides rip current alerts, is a product of a water safety collaboration led by the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program and funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Collaborators include the University of Minnesota Duluth's Natural Resources Research Institute, the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, and Michigan Sea Grant. The collaborators are developing similar websites for two beaches in Lake Michigan.

The Minnesota Department of Health, City of Duluth Parks and Recreation Department, Duluth Fire Department, Duluth National Weather Service Office, the Duluth Y, Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program, Northland Red Cross, and Visit Duluth have contributed to the ParkPointBeach.org website and associated water safety activities.

Posted on June 28, 2013

This page last modified on June 28, 2013     © 1996 – 2020 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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