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As Chicago beaches prepare to open, photos – and a forecast

Beach attendants got together to get their job assignments for the summer at North Ave and the lake on Thursday, May 22nd in preparation for the reopening of Oak Street beach and others in the Chicago area.

Jacob Yeng of Chicago takes a photo of “Lucy” to send to her owner. Jacob is a dog walker and he took advantage of the nice weather to take a photo of Lucy near Oak Street Beach.

Chicago’s beaches open for the season Friday — but someone should probably tell the lake.

The city’s 24 beaches — all free and open daily — will open for swimming at 11 a.m., but it may be too soon for a dip.

Though the high temperatures along the lake will be in the 60s Friday, the water’s temperature along the shore is currently in the low 50s, Birk said.

“It’ll be a bit of a chilly day on the lakefront,” National Weather Service meterologist Kevin Birk said.

Away from the shore, the water temperature was recorded at 39 degrees Thursday morning — one of the coldest temperatures in recent history for this time of year, according to the weather service.

The water is still safe for swimming, but can be dangerous if swimmers stay in the water for a prolonged period of time, Birk said.

Chicago Park District spokeswoman Jessica Faulkner said it is difficult to predict how many people will head to the beaches Friday, since it usually depends on the weather.

Some Chicagoans may want to hit the beaches later in the weekend instead, as temperatures are expected to warm up through Memorial Day.

“We could be flirting with 80 degrees for Monday,” Birk said.

John Sabbia, who is a carpenter for the Chicago Park District, repaired a bench on Thursday, May 22nd in preparation for the reopening of Oak Street beach and others in the Chicago area.

Puddles of water on the pavement of the underpass that leads to Oak Street beach reflect the mural on it’s wall and a bike rider passing through. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media