Weather Wednesday: Arm-Chair Chasing

Amazing storm structure from Craig Hilts

Amazing storm structure from Craig Hilts

I am so excited to be able to start talking about storm season again. We didn’t have a terrible winter but it always feels SO long to someone who is dying for summer storms!

The last few weeks has seen a return to arm-chair chasing for me and many other storm enthusiasts. Looking forward to even more live stream viewing as the season heats up!

Live streams? If you’ve never heard of them, you’re missing out and I’m here to let you in on one of the coolest things I’ve discovered in the last few years. Arm-chair chasing. Love storms but don’t have any in your area? Spend six months without them and almost physically crave a storm? Live streams are the thing for you!

Sometimes when you are watching TV you get the weather guys and gals breaking into your favorite show because of severe weather. They often have footage — someone following the tornado so you get to see it up close and know where the beast is and where it’s headed. This footage often comes from a chaser and a lot of chasers have live streams. Where you can watch, chat with others and with some you actually get to interact with them. The ones you get to interact with are my faves. I love when people can ask questions and get answers. It’s a huge community of storm-enthusiasts, wanna-be chasers (I’m in both of those categories) and chasers. There’s a wealth of knowledge to be had. Even if you are terrified of storms, this can be an amazing place to start losing some of those fears. Knowledge is the first step to dispelling fears. My story started with terror of storms, now I dread the arrival of winter and months of no storms. You can read how it all changed for me HERE.

I thought today I’d post some of my favorite links of live stream chasers to watch! Some are incredible. Some interact, some don’t. Some are pros and some are newer chasers. It’s a great collection of people to watch. The chat rooms are usually a lot of fun and the storms are awesome to watch!

I hope you’ll join us this storm season! Come arm-chair chase with us! Today (April 22, 2015) could be a great day to watch as there’s some expected storm action in Texas!

TORNADO HUNTERS <— I talk about this team a lot because they are awesome to watch.

TVN LIVE <— A pretty big collection of chasers to watch.

There are a bunch more and I’ll be updating this post anytime I find a new one to watch! Arm-chair chasing is great. All of the action, none of the danger. Which is super handy if you find storms pretty terrifying like I used to!  Now I just want to get out there!

If you have a live-stream site you want listed here, let me know and I’ll check it out!

To all you awesome chasers out there who live stream for us, you rock! Thank you for all you do!

~Sarah

Storm barn july 24-13

Awesome shot by Greg Johnson

 

 

Five Minute Friday ~ Plan

I’ve missed these days. Five Minute Friday. The day we just write without worrying if it is just right. Unedited, unscripted, unpolished. Just write. Welcome to my Five Minute Friday post.

GO

Plan

We all have them. Some of us have a 1-year plan, others have 5-year plans, some even have retirement plans when they are 30.

That’s all well and fine, but what happens when God has another plan?

I’ve been following this amazing blog called Mundane Faithfulness. If you’re not following it yet, do yourself a favor and get over there. (Though, can you finish reading this first? Once you get there, I won’t see you for a while) :)

Let me just say, Kara Tippetts faithfulness is anything but mundane. She is a superstar in my eyes when it comes to faithfulness.

This beautiful, loving, kind 38 year old is seeing the very possible end of her planning days. Her body is failing. She is dying. God has a plan.

What amazes me, day in and day out, about Kara is her attitude. I have no doubt that God’s plan looks nothing like she hoped it would. In fact, I’m reading her amazing book The Hardest Peace and I am seeing how she, like everyone, had a different plan in mind than diminishing health. Church planting, a young family to raise, friendships to make.

However, in spite of her life taking a very hard turn, she has not only accepted but embraced God’s plan in a way I wonder if I would ever be able to.

You know when your plans go askew – maybe that vacation you were planning for had to be cancelled. How do you handle it? Are you angry, bitter, sullen? Yeah, usually my reaction is similar. Even in the small things.

Yet, Kara has been asked to trust and embrace an eternity plan, and she is shining through it. She is so very real on her blog that I know she has her very sad days, but she trusts in the One who had the plan from the beginning. She knows that, even in the hard, God’s plan is the best plan.

Peace flows like a calm river from each of her blog posts and the pages of her book.

She accepts the plan of her Creator. She knows that whatever He is doing is good. She may not see all the good now, but she trusts that she will one day know it all. That He will wrap His arms around her and reveal His plan and how many people she has touched in this journey for Him. The journey in the hard of life.

I know that one day He will embrace her and say “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

He has a plan. My life has been intertwined with Kara’s, thanks to the internet, for a time. She doesn’t know me, but I feel like I know her. God’s plan for Kara’s life has touched mine. I know God has a plan for my life too. In the good and in the hard, I want to have mundane faithfulness like Kara.

Stop

Kara, you probably won’t see this but I want to place it here in case you do. You have deeply touched my heart with your honesty and bravery in this journey you are on. You have a peace that I desire so deeply and have encouraged me to dig deeper in my quiet times that I too might be able to have peace in the hard. You have touched many lives and don’t, even for a second, believe that God isn’t working through you. Even from that bed, you touch lives all over the world. Bringing hope, encouragement and a yearning for a glimpse of the God that is holding you. Thank you, dear sister-in-Christ, for sharing your journey with me. I pray for you often and look forward to the day when I will meet you in eternity and give you a hug. Thank you for all you’ve given me in your humble blog.

08

If you want to get in on the awesomeness of Five Minute Friday, please click the image below and join in! We love getting people hooked on this unscripted, unedited joy of writing. Let me know if you join in as I’d love to read yours! You can see my others HERE.

~Sarah

FMF

 

Chaser Chat: Ryan Crouse the Yorkton Storm Hunter

Chaser Chats Banner

Welcome to my blog! It’s been a while since I posted. Gosh, it’s been a crazy few months. Anyhow, I’m back and I’m here with a new year of Chaser Chats! I got to chat with Ryan Crouse the Yorkton Storm Hunter about his chasing experiences. You can watch Ryan chase on TVNWeather! If you’ve never watched a storm chase on a live stream (something I affectionately refer to as ‘Arm-Chair Chasing’, you’re missing out! It’s a blast!) I love doing these Chaser Chats and especially enjoy the local chasers I get to chat with.

Ryan C photo

Hey Ryan, thanks for being willing to answer a few questions for me! I’m excited to learn more about how and why you chase!

First of all, what drew you to storms?

Well for me, it started as a little kid. Kids would be outside playing sports and what not and I would be in the house taking notes while listening to the weather report on the local radio station. Ever since I could remember, whenever there was a thunderstorm I would rush to the window and watch in awe. I remember even if it was late after being tucked in to bed, I would creep out and sneak over to the window and just watch the storm in all its glory.

Tell me about your very first tornado!

It was quite a few years ago, I believe I was in grade school. I was assisting my dad as he was building the garage and a storm began to form right over us. I remember the winds picking up to a pretty insane level, my mom and younger bro running into the basement of the house and dad and I, going outside, grabbing a piece of the garage frame and watching. After it passed over, we jumped in the truck and followed it :)

Ryan C storm

This is a cruel question to ask a chaser but I ask everyone so… what’s your best chase ever?

Well ok, let’s see … I have a “top 5,” but if I had to choose just one I would have to pick the one that “put me on the map” so to speak. July 6, 2013. What an awesome Storm Spotting day!! It began with being in the Yorkton Parade as the Severe Thunderstorm warning was issued. Within seconds of finishing, Chris Flasko (who is one of my 2 drivers), and I bolted out of the parade and headed out towards the Melville area where Owen Parker sent me in a tip of a wild Shelf Cloud that he spotted. We caught up the shelf and got some great shots. From there headed towards Churchbridge and picked up my other crew member Katie Vickers (2nd set of eyes & 2nd photographer). At that point our target was Wroxton bound and then off to the Kamsack direction where we then met up with Owen Parker and decided to work as a unit for the rest of the day.

Kamsack bound was pretty wild! About 15 kms North of Wroxton, we ended up being in a fairly intense placement. We were pretty much in the center of a Rain Wrap and there were 3 other funnels going up and down all at the same time! The wind strength and rain was just insane!! When I called into EC, it was funny as I said we have 2 funnels and I am currently watching a Tornado in front of me, the lady was like what do you see now?

Me: Another Funnel Behind Me!!! lol

As I was getting off the phone Katie began yelling at me to turn around. As I did (now facing the west), not a hundred yards away was another tornado on the ground, coming in our direction!

Not even an hour later, we were asked to join TVNweather.com

I have to say, one of the coolest moments from that day was when all this was going on, I remember feeling absolutely calm (it might be an ADHD thing, as times like Christmas when everyone is rushing, people finally seem to be moving at my speed hahaha). I remember taking a brief moment to just watch. it was really cool, we were in the center and amongst the intense winds, tornados and rain, you could actually see the rain circle, curtain whatever you want to call it. You could see it moving and follow along with it when you moved your head along with the rain. We seen 4 funnels at the same time and place. We seen 3 touch down and possibly a 4rd, but trees were in the way. I know 2 were confirmed, not 100% sure on the 3rd.

Ryan C storm 1

What’s the most intense chase you’ve ever been on?

Well, the #1 would be from the answer to the 3rd question, but my 2nd would be May 28, 2014 – Miles City Montana. Notanee Bourassa and myself had quite the adventure on that day! While in the heart of the action in Northern Montana. This beast fought with us for more than 4 hours! It possible dropped 1 Tornado (which we caught) also dropped up to 2 inch hail! I remember on Mobile Treat Net that at one point, the system which we were on was moving over 100 mph, and when I say beast – that is what it was. I remember looking south and seeing the sunset merging with the side of the storm. When looking North, a monster of a Shelf Cloud, which was gaining speed on us. The intensity came from the powerful winds of this storm. There was one moment when we were driving, and if you watch the video back it sounds like rain hitting the vehicle. It wasn’t rain but scattered fragments of dirt, sticks and who knows what else! There was even a moment I had to swerve the vehicle as a billboard sign was sliding across the road and I could see a bigger stick, log or something moving across the road with it and was worried about blowing out the tire! Some short time later, we pulled over to get a few structure shots when all of a sudden there was a loud BOOM behind us, scaring the crap out of the both of us! it was the power lines giving away.

Sounds like it was pretty crazy! What an experience! What is your favorite and least favorite things about chasing?

Well for the best, I would have to say the love of nature and both the sheer power and beauty of a good storm. I believe that there is nothing more peaceful and yet scary powerful, then watching a good severe warned thunderstorm as it forms! The worst, running out of gas :)

I can’t wait to get out there! What are your goals when you go storm chasing? What, if anything, do you hope to see change in your storm chasing years?

Well, first and foremost is to stay safe. Next to that, capture some great photographs and video of nature’s fury. Another important thing for me it to make sure Environment Canada knows what is going on during severe weather events. They tell me they watch my Live Stream, I think that’s great as they then have a ground level view of what “they” are seeing on radar. The changes I hope for are actually in progress right now. Brandon Crane, my mechanic and driver is working on adding some hail protection, armor if you will, to the Storm-Finder (Nissan Pathfinder).

Ryan C storm 4

Looking forward to seeing you guys out there! Does one year stand out to you as the best season yet?

2013 was an absolute blast for me. There were some powerful and fun storms as well as I met a lot of great Chasers and Spotters whom have helped me on my way. 2014 was also on the top, mostly from my Texas and Montana adventure.

2014 was so boring here! Glad someone loved it! Ryan, what advice would you give aspiring storm chasers?

The first thing I would say is even though Storm Chasing/Spotting is a hobby (and an expensive one at that), for some like myself, it’s a way of life. From May – August, I eat and breathe storms. I would also say sleep, but that doesn’t really happen much during Storm Season for me. hahaha!

Learn from your mistakes, you ARE going to make them! Learn from the pros and the chasers whom have been doing it for years. I have been fortunate enough to have people like Notanee Bourassa, Braydon Morisseau, Sean Schoffer, Reed Timmer along with others aid and guide me when needed. Listen to what they have to say and respect it.

Another thing would be to do your homework. Study weather. I’m not saying that you have to be a meteorologist, but knowledge can get you out and keep you out of a possible bad situation. Environment Canada does, at times offer CANWARN weather courses – take them. If you go on Google, search SKYWARN training and you will get dozens of free .pdf booklets made from NWS & NOAA. A book that I learned a great deal from was the “Storm Chasing Handbook” written by Tim Vasquez.

Ryan C storm 6

Those are great tips! What do you wish would change in the way people think of storm chasers?

That what happens in the movies are real. Storm chasing movies are very far from reality. Another would be that just because one chaser does something questionable doesn’t mean we are all bad.

There’s been a lot of bad publicity but I’ve met a lot of amazing chasers! It’s sad how one bad chaser can destroy so many opinions. Tell me about your chase team!

I have gone out alone, but for the most part I have a team. I am the “Yorkton Storm Hunter” I am in charge of photography, video, the live stream, navigation and watching the weather radar. Brandon Crane is my mechanic and driver. Katie Vickers is the 2nd photographer and another set of eyes. She also is good at telling Brandon and I when we missed our turn lol. Chris Flasko is another driver that helps out when Brandon isn’t available.

Do you have a favorite storm memory?  Being asked to live stream as “Yorkton Storm Hunter” on July 23-24, 2014 from within the Dominator 3.  The experience was just incredible! Ryan C storm 3

That is totally awesome! I’d love to chase in the Dom 3! What can we expect from the Yorkton Storm Hunter team in 2015? Any exciting changes?

More of the fun stuff! I hope to improve the quality of the stream a little. We touched on it earlier, Brandon Crane is also working on adding hail protection to the Storm-Finder. We are also working on adding a couple more video cameras into the vehicle to have different angles of footage for my highlight videos.

That sounds awesome! If you couldn’t do storm chasing, what would be next on the list of jobs you would love?

Well, I am actually doing them. I love straight out being a photographer but, my other passion is my Paranormal Investigation TV Show, “Knights Of The Dark.” We are currently finished filming season 2 and are working on going through the data, editing and making the episodes. Cheap plug, but the show airs on ACCESS7 TV at 11:30 pm on Friday’s. The website is http://www.knightsofthedark.com. If anyone in Saskatchewan whom reads this, has a story or event that happened to them and wants us to investigate, the email is on the website.

Okay, Ryan, send a shout out to those businesses that support your storm chasing career!

My main Sponsor is HAAS NISSAN from Yorkton Sk.

Precious Therapies Vitamin Store – #14-3 rd Ave N, Yorkton 

RhynoPack: Nobody likes a dead smart phone, #StayCharged with Rhynopack!

Last one, Ryan, when you aren’t out chasing (the long cold of winter), what do you like to do?

Well, I stay pretty busy as to when I’m not chasing, I am working on the Ghost Show. When I “DO” find some free time, I do enjoy playing PC games like Diablo III and Half-Life and catching up on my WWE Wrestling. I also help High Impact Wrestling promote their shows when they come to Yorkton. Next to all of that – I like to sit down with my electric guitar and jam to some good heavy metal!

You can find Ryan on his Yorkton Storm Hunter website on Twitter and on Facebook!

Ryan C storm 5

Thanks for reading this Chaser Chat! Check out the others here!

~Sarah

No Home for Complacency

I am weary. Weary to the very depths of my being.

Broken and broken hearted.

I am so tired of complacency. Unawareness. Dangerous unawareness.

I think that I am happy. I think things are good. I am complacent. I’ve allowed satan to slowly blind my eyes. To the point where I don’t see the issue. I don’t see the danger.

Then, because He is merciful, God tears away the blinders… and I see.

The mess. The horrible, devastating crippling disaster that I have allowed to happen right in front of me.

It brings me to my knees. How could I have let this happen? How could I have let satan, the ENEMY of my SOUL, get such an anchor in?

Shame, horror, pain and a grief so deep drive me to my knees. I see who I am. I see the rubble. The complete devastation of myself.

I see Him. Through a mirror dimly, but Him. The light of His glory. I see how I have no idea of the size and power of the King I have promised my all to.

The mess can be made clean. The destruction… restoration.

Not by me. Only by Him.

I am done with dangerous unawareness. I am no home for complacency.

The blinders are off and I will fight to keep them off.

Thank you, Lord. The revelation is painful, but I know You are with me in the clean-up. You faithful will remain.

‘HAWK’ by Ronie Kendig ~ A Review

HAWK large

Raptor’s communications expert, Staff Sergeant Brian “Hawk” Bledsoe is struggling with his inner demons, leaving him on the verge of an “other than honorable” discharge. Plagued with corrupted intel, Raptor team continues to track down the terrorist playing chess with their lives. Afghan pilot Fekiria Haidary is devastated when a systems glitch on her aircraft forces a weapons launch on a safe target. And when the deadly bombing separates Brian from the team, he must make an impossible choice: save his brothers-in-arms, or save the woman and children depending on him to survive a brutal snowstorm.

Go RFF

I made this graphic not long ago, but I’ve felt this way since I first delved into Ronie’s military-suspense world! Hawk is possibly the most rapid-fire ever. I could not catch my breath and, once I started reading, did not want to put it down until I finally hit the last page.

Brian ‘Hawk’ Bledsoe has, in the past, been my least favourite of Ronie’s heroes. Though he only played a supporting role, I didn’t like his attitude. Numerous times I felt he deserved a good punch in the face. I wondered at Ronie’s choice to make Hawk front and center in this book. Well, as usual, I should not have doubted her. This was not only a fantastic thrill ride, I really enjoyed learning more about Hawk. This was another good reminder that I can’t judge a character by his cover. I need to learn where the character comes from to make a judgement. I came out of this book with a deep respect, and possibly a kinship, with Hawk. He is all passion and heart. While he doesn’t always direct that passion well, he learns a lot in this book and is a much richer character at the end.

Fekiria is a fabulous character. I love the depth of her right from the beginning. The struggles she faces and the danger she lives each day make you root for her from the beginning. Her chemistry with Hawk is amusing. I won’t say much more since I don’t want to wreck it for you. Fekiria is brave, bold and confident in herself. She doesn’t think that she needs help until her world starts crashing down around her.

HAWK is a one-two punch of adrenalin. Each chapter will leave you guessing and dying to dig into the next. Raptor is facing a huge threat so it’s AHOD (all hands on deck). Strap on your combat boots, grab your ruck and join the team as they track down the threat!

Well done, Ronie! Can’t wait for FALCON! (Due out in May 2015)

P.S. Only downside: I miss Candyman on the team.

HAWK quote

Find RONIE on Facebook, on her website, on Twitter and on Goodreads!

Ronie Kendig

Get your copy of HAWK here:

Amazon

Chapters

Christianbook

Barnes and Noble

~Sarah

 

 

Greater Love Hath No Man

sarahssundry:

I posted this two years ago and feel the same way this year. Lest We Forget.

Originally posted on Sundry & Specifics:

From Pinterest

‎”Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13

Around the world there are men and women giving up their lives for friends, for strangers… like me.

Today we remember all who have fought and all that are fighting for ourfreedom.  For our freedom to sleep in peace, do coffee with friends, hug our children and even blog.  This blog feels even more insignificant now.

This year I am even more grateful for these men and women.  I’ve learnt more in the past year.  Seen more, of what the Military men and women go through, have gone through.

Some went so young, and died so young. Some went and left families behind… forever. Some still serve around the world, sadly still needed.  Some still serve in their dreams, in their nightmares, though their days of battle are…

View original 41 more words

Tornado Hunters on CMT ~ Review

Tornado Hunters

Let me start out by saying a huge THANKS to Ricky Forbes for the invite to the sneak peek screening of the Tornado Hunters TV show set to hit CMT on October 26th!

If you haven’t already watched the webisodes that were released a few months ago, you should! It gave me a pretty good idea of what I would be seeing in the TV show. Here are my thoughts on the webisodes (which I really enjoyed).

I’ve been a fan of storm chasing shows for many years. I’ve watched a lot of them but I found this one unique. I like the focus in Tornado Hunters on the realities of chasing. Yes, many of them show some of the ups and downs of chasing, but I found that Tornado Hunters showed a uniquely honest point of view. The webisodes showed us some of the ugly downsides of chasing and that continues in the episodes for TV. I really liked how they showed the comedy,frustration and action of the profession.

I love the moments with amazing storms, tornadoes and the almost palpable thrill of the team as they capture some amazing footage. They also addressed the tough part of the profession. The fact that slow storm years, being out of position and being unable to chase, all contribute to huge pressure on the guys. This is another reason why I think these guys (and all chasers who do this for a living) are brave. You can learn all there is to learn, you can be in the right place and yet the storms do what they do. There’s predicting, but there’s no predicting when you’re going to go bust. Miles and miles of road, hours and hours of sleeplessness, anxiety and pressure building, it all adds up to one heck of a way to make a living. Makes me extremely grateful that these guys are here to track the weather that is on our doorstep!

This show is a very clear look into the lives of these guys and the realities of storm chasing as a profession. All the thrills, frustrations, joys, angers, laughs and tornadoes that go along with it.

Make sure to set your PVR’s or just cancel all plans and check out Tornado Hunters, airing October 26th, 2014 on CMT!

Thanks again to the guys for letting me come and a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Ricky, Greg and Chris on TORNADO HUNTERS! Can’t wait to see the episodes again and I sure hope that it turns into a whole series for you!

Ricky Show Shot

Ricky proudly showing off the poster he got us to sign at the party!

~Sarah