GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Water levels on Lake Michigan typically peak in the summer, then begin their seasonal decline during the late summer or early fall. But it’s not until fall that the greatest threat of erosion arises.

That’s because the storm systems that move across the Great Lakes region during autumn are what can lead to the most erosion.

As we head into fall, cooler, arctic air masses begin to develop over Alaska and Canada. At the same time, the Gulf of Mexico provides heat and humidity to the south.

Low-pressure systems develop by the Rocky Mountains with the help of the temperature difference to the north and south. The jet stream then carries the low-pressure systems into the Great Lakes.

The waters of Lake Michigan are still relatively warm during the fall, which helps the storms to intensify more than they would otherwise.

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These intense storms lead to strong winds and significant waves. Consequently, severe erosion can happen during these fall storms.

Though any high wind and large wave event can lead to damage, it’s often the fall storms which cause the most damage.