Software Predicts Unsafe Beach Conditions

CHICAGO, May 28 (UPI) — Chicago and its suburbs are using state-of-the-art software and social networking to alert beachgoers to unsafe conditions, officials said.

Using weather data, the software models project when and where E. coli and other bacteria counts will rise, allowing city officials to anticipate when beach conditions will be unsafe, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

Alerts then are sent out through Twitter, Facebook and text message, said Cathy Breitenbach of the Chicago Park District Office.

“That’s how people live now,” Breitenbach said. “People have an expectation today to get information quickly and in multiple ways. We’re doing our best to meet that expectation.”

Beaches along Lake Michigan in Chicago and to the north can be problematic because of storm water runoff, pet waste, bird droppings and urban trash. The pollution creates microscopic filth that can cause sore throats, stomachaches and other ailments.

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