“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.” ~ Marie Curie
I have always been afraid of storms. Since I can remember, I always wanted to run when a storm was coming. If I was being totally honest, I would admit that it wasn’t the storms so much as the tornado potential. Now, to clarify… I have never seen a tornado in person. My parents used to work in the insurance field and when ‘Black Friday‘ struck in Edmonton, AB they were working with many people who’d lost everything. Because of this, they would watch the news about it and I would too. At the time I was 6 and the footage and talk was pretty intense. (Good note to be aware of what you are watching with your kids, even on the news.)
I had a love-hate relationship with summer because of it. I know, I know. GASP! How can anyone hate summer? I hated the storm part of summer. I usually didn’t mind it if my whole family was home with me, but my adrenalin would spike if the sky got really black or they started to talk tornado on the radio. I’m the one who has the tornado stuff all prepared in the basement in the summer. That’s not a bad thing mind you. Being prepared never is, but being afraid is. You can have a healthy respect without fear.
For those of you who don’t know who these guys are: On the left is Greg Johnson, the Tornado Hunter, and on the right Reed Timmer, Storm Chaser. (I’ll include the links to their awesome websites at the bottom of this post.) So I didn’t know these guys from Adam. I think that’s how the expression goes. I used to watch Reed on the Discovery Channel do what he does best, but it’s been a while. This summer we had some wild, and I do mean WILD, weather in our province. It seemed like there were tornado warnings every other day. Last year we had 3 tornadoes. This year we’re already up to somwhere between 26 and 31 and the season might not even be over. If Reed Timmer visits your neck of the woods it’s usually a good sign something intense, weather wise, is going to go down…. especially if he arrives in the Dominator (seen above).
This summer there was a round of storms that was looking scary (even to the cool, calm storm chasers). Greg started talking about warnings that were coming out two or three days in advance. So, my adrenalin and anxiety kicked into high gear. I found out the Greg and his AWESOME team and Reed had live feeds (link below too… be sure to check it out). I liked the idea of being forewarned so after getting the tornado stuff ready, I sat in front of the computer and watched to see what it was all about. By the end of the day, I was hooked. My fear of storms now included a slight curiosity. Well, like I mentioned, we had just a few tornadoes around here this summer. I spent time ‘arm chair chasing’ with these guys. Each new storm got rid of some of my fear and added a bit more curiosity… and then excitement. I wasn’t excited that others might be in danger, but there’s something about seeing a tornado live (and knowing it’s only about 30km away) that makes it pretty amazing. The chases were intense, amazing, exciting, frustrating and incredible… and I was just sitting on my couch!
I was able to check off two boxes on my ‘Summer Bucket List’ when I got to meet Greg and Reed this week. It was awesome! These guys are passionate about what they do! They are working hard to learn more about these storms and to inform and teach you and I. They’re always out there speaking and meeting with people. I have a terrible memory so I’m not word for word on this but Greg said ‘being informed can take the fear out of it’. I could not agree more! It’s amazing how a little knowledge can put you at ease.
Here I am, sitting on the couch, and as I write this I am feeling a bit sad that the season is drawing to a close. At least up here. I’m even considering signing up to ride along with Greg next summer. Wow, what a change a summer can make! Thank-you to Greg Johnson and Reed Timmer and your awesome teams and all you amazing storm chasers for helping make summer my favourite season!
Your turn!! What about you? Did you get a chance to watch Greg and Reed this summer? I’d love it if you would leave me a comment and share this blog. Thanks!
Here’s those links I promised! These guys are awesome!
**Click on their names to find Chaser Chats with Ricky and Chris!!**
**Click Sean Schofer’s name to see my Chaser Chat with him!!**
http://www.tornadohunter.ca/live (when Greg is chasing, this is where you want to be!!)
http://live.tvnweather.com/ (when Reed is chasing, this is where the magic happens.)
**There are a TON of amazing chaser who chase on this site! Ryan Crouse, Notanee Bourassa and Nick Schenher to name a few!**
(This is an intense video from team Tornado Hunter about the El Reno, OK tornado!)
(this is an intense video of Reed Timmer and his team)