How warm does Lake Michigan get at the Chicago beaches?
Chicago area beach water temperatures are taken at a depth of about 15 feet near Navy Pier at the James W. Jardine Water Purification Plant. After gaining heat through spring and summer, they usually peak around 80 degrees in August. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maintains a buoy in the middle of southern Lake Michigan about 50 miles east-southeast of Milwaukee that has been archiving the lake water temperature since 1981. The highest temperature recorded there was 81.3 degrees on Aug. 18, 1995. That benchmark reading occurred about a month after an intense, killer-heat wave brought widespread triple-digit temperatures to the Midwest. That heat wave was responsible for nearly 750 fatalities in the Chicago area alone.