The Great Lakes are notorious for extreme weather conditions in November. Fog banks and high winds make boating conditions among the most dangerous on earth.

When Lake Michigan was hit with a November storm recently, surfers caught a piece of the action as 25-foot swells marched toward the shore. The above photo, captured by Snap Happy Gal Photography, shows one surfer taking on the dangerous surf in Traverse City, Michigan.

Though many mid-westerners make their way to California to avoid weather like this, it’s not often that surfing opportunities come closer to home. How exactly did this confluence of weather conditions make this possible?

The Washington Post, which chose this featured photo has a good layman’s descriptor, explaining how the first cold blasts of winter come against the warm air still lingering over the water creating pressure differences that whip up wind and fog. 

Some of the most deadly shipwrecks in history took place on the Great Lakes during the month of November. This recent storm occurred Nov 12 bringing 50 mph winds and closing several piers.

Photo credit: Snap Happy Photography