Website provides Park Point Beach conditionsRecreational kayaker Sierra Moen couldn’t feel her feet when she pulled up onto Duluth’s Park Point Beach on Thursday afternoon.
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 beach-goers might want to access near real-time data compiled at www.ParkPointBeach.org before heading to the beach.
The website offers updates on beach, weather and water conditions 24/7 from June through October. Useful information 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 website’s beach reports 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 and Facebook, where real-time alerts to dangerous conditions are posted.
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.”
From 2002-2012, 413 rip and channel current-related incidents occurred in the Great Lakes.
“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,” Schomberg said. “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.”
To access the information go to the website, follow @ParkPointBeach through Twitter. Or like Park Point Beach” on Facebook. Or turn your radio to 103.3 KUMD at 11 a.m. to hear the beach report, Monday through Friday. Listeners can also tune in to NU92 or KQDS to hear the beach reports during the morning show Monday through Friday.