As if suddenly cued by the turn of the calendar, the Gales of November swept across Lake Michigan battering the shoreline and everything in between.

Courtesy of Tim Wenzel

Appropriately enough, the Gales of November is nicknamed the "Witch of November", according to Wikipedia. With the first gale winds of the month hitting just hours after Halloween 2020.

Courtesy of Tim Wenzel

The Witch of November, or November Witch, refers to the strong winds that frequently blow across the Great Lakes in autumn. The "witches" or gales are caused by intense low atmospheric pressure over the Great Lakes pulling cold Canadian/Arctic air from the north or northwest and warm Gulf air from the south. When these cold and warm air masses collide, they can result in hurricane-force winds that stir up large waves on the lakes.

Courtesy of Tim Wenzel

Gordon Lightfoot's song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" refers to the Witch of November: the storm that wrecked the Edmund Fitzgerald was the equivalent to a borderline Category 1/2 hurricane.

Courtesy of Tim Wenzel

Similar gales have caused numerous shipwrecks over the years. Another storm that hit in November 1998 was equivalent to a solid Category 2 hurricane.

Courtesy of Tim Wenzel

A still stronger storm, of October 2010, brought Minnesota and Wisconsin record low barometric pressures equivalent to a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale and lashed Duluth with 81 mph wind gusts and 19-foot seas during the night of October 26–27, 2010.

Photographer Tim Wenzel lives for this stuff. As soon as alerts were sent out of the impending wind event, he began planing on when and where he would go to best safely observe. A walk on a Lake Michigan pier can quickly turn deadly as the waves batter and pummel anything in their path. As dangerous as the wind is, it's the rip currents that will get you.

As dangerous as the Gales make Lake Michigan, there is something so soothing about watching the fury in slow motion. Tim Wenzel was able to capture the beauty of this "November Witch" in slow motion video.

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