Tornado Hunters Set to Storm CMT

Tornado Hunters is coming

Hey all! It’s been forever since I blogged but life is crazy! I was hoping to have so many things to talk about for storm season here this summer, but it largely failed to develop. We had a few storms but nothing amazing to blog about. Sadly. Waiting nine plus months for storm season and then having hardly anything to show for it… well, it sucks. Oh well. Thankfully, my favorite chase team didn’t have the brutal season I did.

The Tornado Hunters had a very, very busy summer. Greg tells me they did around 100,000 kms for chasing this summer. Doing that in a year would be crazy. Doing that in a summer. These guys are committed to the chase!

The Tornado Hunters consists of Greg Johnson, Ricky Forbes and Chris Chittick. If you talk to any of these guys for even a few minutes, you will see the passion they have for storms and chasing.

Great helment

Greg Johnson

Ricky Forbes

Ricky Forbes

Chris Chittick

Chris Chittick

From the moment that storms start to make an appearance in the US, these guys run full out until the fall. Thankfully, on occasion, there’s a bit of a break in the weather patterns and they are able to make it home for a while. I imagine that makes their families watch the weather pretty close too. Chris just married this summer and was on the road not long after.

I attribute much of the storm enthusiast (wannabe chaser) I am today to Greg’s chasing. I started watching him a few years ago and couldn’t help but be caught up in his passion for storms. I had the opposite passion. If I could go a whole summer without storms back then, I was thrilled. Now, my 180 degree spin leaves me super disappointed after a season like this.

Greg, Ricky and Chris were approached a while back about the possibility of doing a show. Of course, it was a brilliant idea and they went for it. Last year they did a few webisodes and a few pilot episodes. You can check out my review here and find the webisodes here. They were fantastic. A really gritty look at the world of storms and storm chasing. The guys, and Saloon Media, did an awesome job!

Then we waited. I say we because I was anxious waiting as well to see if the powers that be would want a whole season. I shouldn’t have doubted because the pilot was awesome! Thankfully, they fans had spoken and we got what we wanted. The Tornado Hunters were going to have their season premier in the fall of 2015. There was much rejoicing.

Fast forward to now. The summer has come and gone and we missed the live stream the guys used to have available to us, but we knew that some serious work was going into making this show the best storm show out there. I have no doubt that this season will be amazing. Greg, Ricky and Chris have put their heart and soul into this show. Blood (is that an alligator?), sweat and tears (were the wings worth it, Ricky?) went into this season and I hope that you will join the guys as they show us their life in storm chasing. Only 12 days from now, the premier will air on CMT Canada!

Check out the awesome trailer for Tornado Hunters here!

I know that a lot of you from other countries are asking ‘Will I be able to see it?’ and I really hope the answer is yes. I think that it will be available to see online at some point, but you can also contact your local TV providers and ask them to pick up Tornado Hunters for you! You could even beg them. ūüôā I know the guys would love if everyone everywhere who wanted to see it could. So, make those calls today so you can watch Tornado Hunters with us on October 18th!

You can see the pilot episodes on CMT at the following times to prepare for the season premier!

Thursday October 8

Tornado Hunters (Pilot Ep 1) 11pm ET/8pm PT
Tornado Hunters (Pilot Ep 2) 11:30pm ET/8:30pm PT

Friday October 9

Tornado Hunters (Pilot Ep 1) 6pm ET/3pm PT
Tornado Hunters (Pilot Ep 2) 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT

Sunday October 11

Tornado Hunters (Pilot Ep 1) 10am ET/7am PT
Tornado Hunters (Pilot Ep 2) 10:30pm ET/7:30pm PT

Find Greg on Facebook and Twitter!

Find Ricky on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Find Chris on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Here’s where you can find their website!

Tornado Hunters Banner

~Sarah

Advertisements

Summer Storm Fun in Canada

Monday July 27 tornado mb

Wow, I’ve been quiet lately. Sorry to all you awesome folks who like seeing me post. Guess the summer got to me and I’ve been out doing things rather than posting. Sadly, the ‘things’ I’ve been doing haven’t involved much storm chasing. I’m in this strange place where I very much want to get out and chase everything that even looks promising (or even those that don’t), but I’m not confident enough to go on my own. I can see me getting out there, getting eager to get close to a storm and then finding myself in terrible position. The kind that people don’t walk away from. Yikes! I like my family too much to be risking a lot. Also, there wasn’t much to chase this year. Not within driving distance at least. I seriously considered how disruptive it would be to uproot my family and take a vacation to Oklahoma for a few months. Abysmal would be the word I would use. I now understand why chasers spend hours and hours and months on the road to chase. Sitting still and waiting for storms to come to you is brutal.

Thankfully, while my season has been terrible, my favorite chase team has been busy. I miss the days they were live streaming but it’s still fun to follow their FB and Twitter sites to get updates. I can’t wait for the season premier of Tornado Hunters on CMT, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Last week, July 27th, the guys were finally chasing in Canada. I love when they chase in Canada. Not only because I am Canadian, but because these guys are local and it just feels right watching them chase here! Plus, that usually means the storms are near me and the chance goes up that we might get hit with some fun!

Yep, I am hopelessly in over my head with this draw to storms. Often times I wonder, in slow seasons, if it would be easier to just go back to hating storms… but I can’t. I’m addicted.

Back to the story. Last Monday the pros were all seeing some sweet weather patterns setting up. Greg, Ricky and Chris (and their entourage) booked it back up here, from Arizona I believe. The day was slow and the afternoon continued on as though there was nothing much to talk about. A friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook of a chaser convergence. Which we had fun with since a chaser convergence in Canada is nothing compared to the ones in the US. He, like them all, was in waiting mode.

Canadian Chaser Convergence by Ryan Crouse

Canadian Chaser Convergence by Ryan Crouse (Yorkton Storm Hunter)

Yep, that’s the Dom 3. Waiting. Everyone waits.

It was worth the wait. Finally the action began and the chaser were off. I spent most of the night following Yorkton Storm Hunter (Ryan Crouse), RAIDEN (Notanee Bourassa) and Nick Schenher live stream. While I didn’t get a chance to see the beast that the storms produced, Greg Johnson, Ricky Forbes and Chris Chittick¬†(the Tornado Hunters) did!

Sweet Wall Cloud

Wall cloud

Since I wasn’t there, maybe next year, I’ll let Ricky describe it.

That moment

“My¬†favorite¬†part of storm chasing is this moment right here. When we get right underneath a massive rotating supercell. A monster chaotic storm over 50,000 ft tall above¬†us yet so eerily calm below, as we watch the clouds start to slowly twist and churn above us. Feeling the rush of the winds blasting into this storm, and then the clouds start to lower. Faster and faster the clouds spin and tighten up, lightning blasting down, torrential rain beside us, and then a huge tornado touches down and its game time.”

Could I be more jealous? Probably not.

Then, as Ricky said, the huge tornado touched down.

MB tornado chittick pic MB tornado July 27 201 MB tornado July 27 2015 tornado tornado MB july 27 2015 July 27 2015 EF2That thing is a BEAST! Wow! It was on the ground for three hours! Three. Hours. That’s only a half hour less than the current record for longest known tornado on the ground, the Tri-State Tornado. Thankfully, though this beast was on the ground for three hours and reached a kilometer wide (I heard) and maybe more at some point, unlike the Tri-State tornado no one was killed in this storm and there was very little damage done. The rating, because of this, was an EF2. The Dom 3 measured the winds on the back of the tornado at 122 MPH. Pretty wild!

Chasers like the Tornado Hunter team, and¬†many others, make it possible to get warnings out early and keep eyes on storms like this so that people in the path can prepare. I’m so grateful for chasers and many people owe their lives to them.

July 27 tornado damagePretty amazing to see the road torn up by that tornado. I can’t imagine the power that was in that storm and in that tornado. I’ve been told it’s not that uncommon for roads to be torn up like this, depending on the age and upkeep of the road. However, I’m still pretty impressed with the damage and the cool shot.

Here’s a sweet video by the Tornado Hunters of the wedge tornado.

http://www.newsflare.com/video/50305/weather-nature/massive-wedge-tornado-in-tilston-mb-canada-clip3

While I miss the live stream these guys used to do, I can’t wait to see the footage of this storm on the new season on Tornado Hunters coming this fall!

If you haven’t heard of Tornado Hunters on CMT Canada, you’re missing out. Last year they did a few webisodes and a couple episodes to feel out the show and I, along with many others, really liked what we saw!

You can find the webisodes here to prepare for the new season!

In my review last year of the pilot of Tornado Hunters, I said: ‘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.’ I hope, and expect, that the new season will be the same! I can’t wait to see it and I know these guys have been busting their butts in order to give us the best show that they can!

Ricky, Greg and Chris, I can’t¬†wait for the new season of Tornado Hunters! It’s one of the only reason that I am looking forward to fall.

Find team Tornado Hunter on their website, Twitter and Facebook page!

Ricky: Facebook Twitter

Ricky Forbes

Greg: Facebook Twitter

Great helment

Great helmet

Chris: Facebook Twitter

Chris Chittick

Here’s hoping the season isn’t over for me, or for these guys who will continue to chase as long as the season holds out. I wouldn’t be surprised to find them chasing blizzards next!

How about you? Do you love the thrill of a storm chase? Are you, like me, an arm-chair chaser and watching these awesome chasers do what they do? Maybe, like me, you’re hoping to do some chasing of your own. Tell me your story!

~Sarah

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 Р#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

Chaser Chat with Nick Schenher

Nick S

Welcome everyone! I’m grateful today to be chatting the Nick Schenher (aka Nick the Body). Nick was one of the first chasers I ever started to watch. There was a day back in 2012, an incredible season and my first as a storm enthusiast, when Nick was out chasing a nice tornado near Wadena, SK. Nick makes mention of this day too. Nick was near another¬†team¬†that was right in there, but he was hanging back. It was amazing to watch the tornado on Nick’s live stream. The other team was too close for us to see the tornado well but Nick kept an awesome view for those of us watching. It was so cool.

Thanks, Nick, for chatting with me. I appreciate it! Tell me, what drew you to storm chasing?

I was always interested in storms from a young age. Not sure what the draw was, but I always knew I wanted do pursue some kind of career/hobby in weather.

How old were you when you first realized that you wanted to chase storms?

The first time I found out what a storm chaser was I was about 10 years old, watching a National Geographic documentary. It was about that time.

Tell me about the first tornado you ever saw.

The first tornado I saw was extremely brief, and occurred in southwestern Saskatchewan. The only thing I remember was that by the time I got my old film camera out and fired up, the tornado was over. It kicked up a lot of dust, and I was immediately into heavy rain and hail right after.

I bet that was so cool to see! Nick, what is your goal when you go out storm chasing?

My goal is safety ‚Äď being able to provide whatever entity ‚Äď whether Environment Canada, the National Weather Service, or the general public information about severe weather so loss of property or life is minimal.

That’s a great goal! What vehicle are you chasing in this year?

I have chased almost exclusively in my 2006 Toyota Yaris. It is a subcompact car that I trust. My goal is not to get into the middle of severe storms like other chasers, but to be able to stay dry, and keep a visual on rotation. With this in mind, there are times when I choose to stay a greater distance away from severe weather. I always want to give myself as much time and as many directional options as well in order to report and escape, if necessary. The Yaris relieves me of my temptation to go off-road or get into more precarious situations, as it does not handle well on anything but pavement. I also have a 2007 Jeep Compass which I utilize if storms are going to be a little more unpredictable, or if the road system in the area is less favourable than around the City of Regina.

I like that you deliberately drive a vehicle that will keep you, hopefully, out of danger. When you are out chasing, do you chase alone or do you have a team you usually go with?

I typically chase with a local photographer named Chris Graham (@cgphotography). I am not a photographer, and hate taking pictures of storms. The set up in the car allows me to live stream HD video in real time, but that I can set and then forget about. My dashboard camera captures any images I wish to reproduce, but Chris captures incredible images which are nice to look back on. I usually attempt to take another person for a ride-along when possible.

Now I have to ask how I get on that list for a ride-along! ūüėČ What do you find most amazing about chasing storms?

The fact that there are never any guarantees despite favourable conditions or high-risk ingredients atmospheric ingredients mixing together. I am always intrigued by how every chase is different, and always produces different memories and moments, and often times I hear myself saying, ‚ÄúWow, I don‚Äôt think I‚Äôve ever seen that before.‚ÄĚ

What was the most memorable chase you’ve ever been on?

Probably the Wadena tornado in 2012. I had two persons with me who had never seen a tornado before, and the progression of the day was excellent. We were correctly positioned all day, never got touched with a drop of rain, and had a clear and safe road with which to run parallel to the storm until it fizzled out.

That was an amazing day even to watch on the live-stream! What was the scariest moment you’ve ever had chasing? Was it when your car caught on fire?

My car catching on fire was more frustrating than it was scary. Even though we were under a tornado warned storm, with a wall cloud rotating a short distance away from us, it would have passed a few 100 metres to our north, so we would have been fine. Scariest for me is always chasing at night with little visual. I have had a couple of tornadoes pass not far in front of me, one of which was not noticed until a lightning flash while we were parked on a highway.

Yikes! That would be scary for sure! If you could go back and experience one tornado again, which one would it be?

I probably wouldn’t go back. Each experience is different, and with the chaser community being so large now, tornadoes are rarely missed. I am passionate about the weather, but the reason I chase is to keep people safe and educate others about storms, their risks, and why people do not need to fear the weather.

That’s one of the most unexpected storm-chaser answers I’ve ever had, but I like it. What advice would you give to aspiring storm chasers?

Do as much reading as possible, get comfortable understanding severe weather, watch as many videos observing movement and structure of tornadoes and storms, understand the risks, and then just go and do it. It astounds me that many chasers have a problem with so-called ‚Äúmembers of the public‚ÄĚ chasing or taking pictures of severe weather rather than huddling in a basement somewhere. I firmly believe people have the right to do whatever they want as long as they are not harming anyone else. There are certainly risks involved, but to say, ‚Äúleave it to the professionals‚ÄĚ when the whole system is reliant on the public is crazy to me. Many chasers will be happy to take anyone out with them for a share in gas, and if it‚Äôs about fulfilling a thrill or desire for excitement, then that is the way to go. If you are interested in weather or photography or contributing to the chaser community, then get educated and do it.

As someone who is trying to get educated, I can say there is a LOT to know. Nick, what is one thing that you wish the public understood better about storm chasers?

Nothing here. I think the public knows exactly what they need to about chasers ‚Äď some do it for photography, some for the adrenaline rush, some for education, some for science, many for a combination. Some take a lot of risks, others not as much. The chaser community, like any other community is filled with an eclectic bunch of people who all have their own reasons for doing it, and any of those reasons are acceptable. To try and box everyone in and say that the chaser community is filled with a bunch of safe, responsible role models would be incorrect, though there are many out there who do fit that role. They all serve a purpose, and that is that. Let everyone do their thing.¬†

What do you like to do in the winter? Do you chase blizzards?

In the winter I curl a few nights per week, and watch a lot of hockey. I enjoy getting out a couple of times to show everyone what a good Saskatchewan blizzard looks like, and why people should be much more afraid of cold weather over and severe summer storm.

When you’re not out chasing in the summer, what do you do? Professionally, and for fun!

I have a job where I get to help people 365 days per year, which I love. I am currently finishing a graduate degree in science (psychology). I love playing tennis in the summer, spending time with my wife and daughter, and reading as much as possible.

Anyone that you’d like to give a shout out to that supports you in your chasing?

Just thanks to everyone who enjoys watching the live stream and conversing on twitter. I appreciate the conversations we have had.

Thanks so much, Nick!

You can find Nick on http://www.stormwatcher.ca, Stormwatcher on Facebook, stormwatcherca on Instagram, and @NickTheBody on Twitter.

~Sarah

Chaser Chat with Notanee Bourassa: Part Two

Welcome back to my Chaser Chat with Notanee Bourassa! If you missed part one, you can find it HERE! If you already checked that out, let’s dig into part two!

Notanee, if you could go back and experience one tornado again (or see one you missed), which one would it be? 

If I could turn back time. I would experience the EF-5 Moore Oklahoma Tornado of 2013. It would be in my fantasy, to go west instead of east, making the intercept well outside of Moore, getting the truth into the National Weather Service and contibuting to saving lives if possible. That very afternoon, I felt it in my guts, I saw the sky before I left Norman heading south. Greg J and myself happened to meet on the highway prior to going through Oklahoma City towards our separate targets. After only just leaving the Norman area, I stopped for gas at a Shell on the main highway and saw the stormcells forming. I decided to go east towards Norman instead of west towards the cell heading to Moore. I am slightly grateful I didn’t intercept that EF-5 as I would have personally seen it unleash unimaginable damage on Moore. After several days I went to Moore and documented the damage discretely on foot, as I needed to have that to show my family and children. As part of the respect nature value I want to program in them.

Chamberlain Tornado Notanee

That tornado would have been incredible to see. We’ve talked a lot about storms and the fascination of chasing. I ask all chasers this, what advice would you give to aspiring storm chasers? People who would love to get out and do what you do?¬†

My advice for aspiring storm chasers is to make safety the number one priority. Perform your chase safely. Don’t endanger others by anything you do. Report the weather immediately for the safety of others and THEN take your photos and videos. Also keep YOURSELVES safe. You and the occupants of your vehicle rely on the ability to move out of danger. Don’t risk getting stuck while in front of the storm. Don’t chase a storm without an escape plan. Have a plan B. Have a place to drive to get you out of danger. Personally, I think aspiring chasers should start out as “spotters” until groomed by experienced chasers by accompanying them on many chases. As far as CANWARN is concerned. CANWARN wants spotters not chasers. No one is encouraged to endanger themselves or others to report ground truth. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a spotter. But I do come to realize Environment Canada and the media will take whatever they can get. Particularly if it can buy time to warn others of impending danger heading their way.

You don’t only love storms, you also have another favourite thing to chase. Tell us about your passion for the Northern Lights!¬†

My favorite thing to chase is supercell thunderstorms. I particularly love their formation, shape and tilt. The amazing power. The unimaginable amount of physical weight in that storm. How you can see the ingredients coming together, wind shear, moisture, low level jet. Textbook stuff. You can read so much but when you see it, you are much more confident and a believe of the science you’ve studied. Speaking of science, my grandfather taught Physics and Astronomy at the Univeristy of Regina and taught me to appeciate the night skies as well. I learned of constellations, meteors and the aurora borealis on my sleep overs at his place in Silton when I was a kid. Throughout my childhood in Moccasin Flats in Regina, I was always looking to the nightsky in hopes of a glimpse of heaven to take me away from the reality of living there. I remember one particular day in the eighties when an awesome geomagnetic storm had joined the north and southern bands of aurora together! I stayed up late watching it dance overhead while I stood in the back alley in the cold for hours. Since then I watched it whenever possible. After my tornadic intercept of April 12th, 2012, my mother bought be a DSLR camera in May 2012. This allowed me for the first time to potentially capture the magical lights (aurora) in the sky. A dream come true. Since then I have taken every opportunity within my price range to learn about how to use my camera and be better at shooting severe weather and the northern lights. To this end I have grown successful. I have learned to timelapse these events and CTV has invited me to share with them my knowledge and experiences with the northern lights after I released a YouTube video timelapse aurora compilation of the year 2013. I had an interview on the weekend at my house and then later in the week, their producer invited me on their morning show for 10 minutes or so. The aurora is a reflection of the awesome power of our closest star and is unpredictably beautiful and humbling. It is yet another reminder of how humble the human race should be in the face of natural power. Be it tornadoes or the northern lights, as both have the power to send us back to the Stone Ages.

Space Weather Prediction Center issued a G1 Magnetic storm WARNING

They sure are amazing to see! What do you do when you’re not out chasing in the summer?¬†

When summer is over and chase season is done, I shift my focus to capturing the colorful turn of nature when fall heralds the end of life (winter). I continue my obession with the northern lights and capture foggy mornings in the valley. In September, on the 19th, I fully participate in International Talk Like a Pirate Day! I dress completely as a pirate and bring a prop replica of “Dead Man’s Chest” from Pirates of the Carribean to work full of gold coin. I participate also in Regina Costume League, as the character Darth Maul from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. This allowed me to be a part of the Regina ExPo parade for the past few years and help fundraisers for various charities. I DJ for 91.3fm CJTR – Regina’s Community Radio since January 2002. I host a radio show named Hardwired featuring a futuristic industrial atmopshere for my listeners from 10-12pm on Friday nights. I also DJ at clubs in Saskatoon when opportunities arrive. One such opportunity lead to me making a tornado intercept near Craik in 2008. I have volunteers as a member of the Board of Directors for Radius Communications, the membership commmittee, fundraising committee and also volunteers countless hours to help 91.3fm keep the computer systems running and sometimes completely rebuilding after catostrophic hardware failures. I professionally work as a Trunking and Switching Techician for SaskTel. I sheppard IP traffic from cellular towers, optical cabinets and analogue cabinets throughout the province which supply internet and IPTV. All the way from the user end points to the IPcore to the IP transcanada backbone.

Notanee Darth Maul

Chasing takes a fair bit of time and money, anyone that you’d like to give a shout out to that supports you in your chasing?¬†

My family unit, the most important shout out has to be to my family. My wife is an incredibly understanding woman. Over time, we have witnessed the disintegration of other family units engaged in similar activities. It can put an unfair workload on your partner at little notice. I must give respect to every social networking contact who has come to trust my words. I try tremendously to give brief accurate information and secure trust in others. I have reached out to contacts in the Environment Canada, The Weather Network and local media to establish trust. I shout my thanks to them. I also thank everyone who has placed their faith in me and perhaps grown to like me over the years. I try to be a good person. Finally I shout out to the TVNweather.com family whose patience and generousity makes the live video streaming coupled with live positioning and reporting possible in the internet world. I thank Severe Studios (Kory Hartman) for allowing the public to follow Andy Gabrielson. I’d like to thank Sean Schoffer for allowing me to setup Dominator 3 video streaming.

Thanks again, Notanee for chatting with me! Where can people find you online and follow your chasing? 

I can be followed at www.tvnweather.com as RAIDEN, SpotterNetwork.org and also http://www.hardwiredradio.ca/raiden/ I have two sites under development. www.skstorm.ca and www.theflyingcow.ca.

You can also find Notanee on Twitter!

Thanks for checking out this Chaser Chat, you can see the rest of them HERE! Also, check back regularly as I have some more very exciting Chaser Chats coming up!

~Sarah

Chaser Chat with Notanee Bourassa: Part One

Notanee

I ‘met’ Notanee first on Twitter. Then at a few of events locally I was able to chat with him more. Notanee has a definite passion for weather and it’s contagious when you talk to him. You’ll see that in his interview below!

Hey Notanee, thanks so much for being willing to chat with me about your chasing! It’s awesome to be able to chat with Canadian chasers!

So, tell me what drew you to storm chasing?

Since my enchantment with the sky since the tornado of 1979 I was drawn to chase the storms because they frequently would miss Regina or a part of it that was extremely interesting would pass through and I would want to pursue it to see what happens. I grew up in Mocassin Flats of Regina and didn’t have a vehicle while growing up. So I biked to the nearest field to get an open view of the storm front. Then I joined the Navy and terribly missed the raging violence of a good prairie storm for a good decade. My only reprieve was to watch Twister in the theatre on the west coast at least thirteen times.

Love that you’ve seen Twister so many times! Do you remember your first tornado?

The first tornado I witnessed was when I was 7 years old living on 12 block McTavish Street in Regina and remembered that I was playing in the front yard in a very warm clear afternoon. When the storm hit in later afternoon, I remember the incredible horizontal rain. Trees bending to unnatural angles, branches ripping, VHF/UHF TV antenneas torn from roof tops, debris flying. We had a windowed front porch and watched the show from it but retreated into the bedrooms after a while, especially when the windows were bowing inwards.

Wow! That would be one heck of an experience! What is your goal when you go out storm chasing?

While chasing in the United States, my goal is to gain experience to be better at spotting, recognizing and learning from models, my forecasts vs others vs NOAA. I also participate in forwarding ground truth through SpotterNetwork and also transmitting video through TVNWeather.com. Photos I take are for my personal reference and also to teach my family and children the respect nature deserves. The United States provides a longer season in which to chase. So It’s a great warm up to chasing here in the Canadian prairies. While chasing in the Canadian Prairies, my goals are more focused as I have personal attachment to my country and province. I push myself alot harder and am challenged and frustrated by the lack of information from Environment Canada. I truly desire to get that ground truth in as expeditiously as possible. Brief, clear and accurate. Leaving out speculation.

What do you feel is the best thing about chasing storms?

There are many things that are close to “the best thing” about chasing storms, but from a personal view, it is scoring a tornado and calling it in successfully to Environment Canada. There are other romantic things about chasing storms, such as the personal escape from the city life so many of us are familiar with. The open road. The open skies. The landscapes. Mood appropriate music (which is a big deal for me as music is close to my heart). Time to think. Then as you approach your target area, you awaken. Data and radar can only get you so far. Then the eyes have to do the rest. Especially when chasing alone. Heavy rain, insane howling winds, escaping hail, dodging congestive traffic and finally getting to the mesocyclone. A particularly satisfying feeling having travelled hundreds of miles to be in the right place at the right time. A winning feeling. After that it’s gravy, the photos, the videos, the memories of soaking in the moments of what mother nature shows you from that point onwards is up to yourself to absorb and learn from.

Thunderstorm in Regina

Where do you like to chase? How far into the US have you chased storms?

I primarily prefer to chase in the open plains if possible. For example, treed and large hills as seen in Missouri can be very difficult to perform proper any spotting. The terrain itself dictates where the roads are and therefore dictates where traffic is funneled. Very difficult to scan the horizon from such a vantage point. The furthest south I believe I’ve travelled for storm chasing was Marshall, Texas. The furthest west I’ve gone is Artesia, New Mexico. The furthest east I’ve gone is Texarkana and ALL points north to the Canadian border. States experienced chases in: ND, SD, MT, MN, NE, IO, KS, MS, NM, AK, OK, TX.

What was the best storm chase you’ve ever been on and what made it so special?

For the moment the best storm chase was the experienc of April 14th, 2012. Greg Johnson and myself had chased on several occasions since May of 2011 and we had been looking forward to 2012. Greg just picked up “Flash” before the orange makeover and we met at his house where Ricky Forbes met us. Both Flash and Ricky were chase virgins, which Greg and I took pleasure in introducing them to the experiences we both knew were forthcoming in the south. We departed and met with Chris Streaks who is from Great Falls, MT in a hotel in North Dakota. What made the April 14th, 2012 chase so special was the fact that the team was on fire. Clear, concise communications between all of us. ESPECIALLY on our first visual contact. Both Greg and I spoke aloud, “WEDGE on the ground” as it was on our right about 6-7 miles distant. For me since I was doing navigation, radar and giving driving recommendations it felt good to keep the team on the EF4 tornado for the next 2 hours. The storm occluded this tornado multiple times. Our team work kept us nipping on the heels of this tornado. Tim Samaras was there, it looked like Vortex was there too, many chasers were onsite, but we dared a few road options which allowed us best access to the twister where there was NO ONE. It felt so good to have such an exclusive experience of that tornado that no one else had. In fact we had beat the traffic because of the road options we took, otherwise we were going to be stuck behind twenty chasers. All of us did the best we could. I even tried to stabilize Chris Streaks DSLR camera on multiple occasions while still focusing on radar and roads. There were only few occasions where I could take my point and shoot camera (which I borrowed from my wife) to take a few shots and a FlipVideo UltraHD camera (which I borrowed from my co-worker Lori-Jo ) to take video. I felt this was the best chase as we all contributed to a very successful tornado interceptive chase and worked as a team. Words really don’t describe it with justice. It is experienced.

Filmore Tornado Notanee

Thanks to Notanee for chatting with me! Part Two of this chat will come out on Friday and I hope you’ll come back for it! Meanwhile, check out my other CHASER CHATS¬†with other storm chasers like Ricky Forbes, Chris Chittick, Craig Hilts and Sean Schofer!

~Sarah

Tornado Hunters Webisodes Review

Another amazing shot while I was away. Photo by Greg Johnson (Tornado Hunter)

Photo by Greg Johnson (Tornado Hunter)

Hey Readers!

I am so sorry it’s been FOREVER since I’ve posted. Life in the summer. You know how that goes. We actually left home this year and escaped for a blissful two weeks! Mountains, ocean views, family, friends, food (so much food), and peaceful locations that almost made me willing to forget home. However, I admit, there was a quiet nagging at the back on my mind. The weather on the trip was beautiful, hot and sunny. The mountains stretched high into the sky and were majestic and beautiful.

Something was missing though.

I realized quickly that I couldn’t see the horizon and I missed it big time. If there were storm clouds brewing, I couldn’t see them. Nothing developed while we were away and, to add insult to injury, more than once I woke to check FB and saw that home had some amazing storms. I was torn. I loved the vacation but I was missing all the good storm action at home.

One of the storms I missed. Photo by Greg Johnson (Tornado Hunter)

One of the storms I missed. Photo by Greg Johnson (Tornado Hunter)

“The best lightning I’ve ever seen in my life.” Said a chaser who’s seen some incredible storms.

Sigh. Thankfully, since I’ve been home, we’ve had some pretty good storms. One of the things that got me through my storm-free vacation was the much anticipated (by me at least) release of the CMT Tornado Hunters webisodes! The day¬†they released, I stayed up late and watched them all.

I’ve reviewed other storm-chaser shows on my blog before. I am, as a friend called me, a storm-enthusiast and love watching the chasers do their thing. I hope one day to be counted among their ranks, but will take it slow and learn what I need to in order to not only keep myself safe but not to be a hazard to anyone else.

CMT Tornado Hunters

These webisodes were unlike anything I’ve seen yet on storm-chasing. I think it might be the most honest and eye-opening storm-chase series yet. Not only do we get to see some of the storms that these guys chase, we also see the realities of the lives that they live. I don’t know if they HAD to go that direction – if the producers forced the issue – but I was surprised to see the difficulties laid bare. I think it’s awesome to see the storms and I know that’s why most people tune into a show like this, but I think that a lot of us are interested in the¬†truth in¬†this passion. Since storm-chasing is growing in popularity, it’s good to see the hazards and potential pit-falls of a life chasing storms.

The webisodes follow Ricky Forbes, Greg Johnson¬†and Chris Chittick as they follow their passion for chasing all over North America. There’s some storms, some fun, some serious moments and a kiss that I never saw coming. (Sorry, Ricky!)

I appreciate Ricky’s narrating, and his honesty in the ‘First Responders‘ webisode. I think ‘The Homefront‘ episode actually hit the hardest. I would consider a few of the guys on this team friends (though they might think, or wish, otherwise) but I found it hard to see the pain in that webisode. It was a real eye-opener for me that you never can tell what’s going on inside someone. We’re all really good at playing the role, when reality can be so different.

Anyhow, there’s my thoughts on the Tornado Hunter webisodes. I’m lucky that these guys are local and I’m able to chat with them on occasion. It sure adds a different dimension to watching this and watching them live when they are chasing. I love ‘arm-chair chasing’ with them.

Check out the trailer for the upcoming Tornado Chasers show on CMT! It gives me chills! I can’t wait for the premier in October!

You can watch the webisodes HERE.

Arm-chair chase with them HERE when they are live streaming.

Find them

On FB: RICKY, GREG, CHRIS

On Twitter: RICKY, GREG, CHRIS

Also, check out my Chaser Chats with Ricky and Chris as well as many others. More to come soon!

I’d love to hear what you thought of the webisodes! Please leave me your comments!

~Sarah