2004 Archive News/Blog & Recent Events - George Kourounis

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Improvised Rink - Dec. 25 2004 - Gatineau, Quebec - Colder than normal temperatures across most of eastern Canada combined with the ice storm from a few days ago have left many of the roads completely ice covered. Since the conditions are less than perfect for driving, the streets have been turned into an in-promptu ice skating rink. What better way to spend Christmas day than to glide down the road on ice skates! Also, because of the cold temperatures, the Ottawa River has now frozen over.



Ice Storm - Dec. 23 2004 - Toronto, Ontario. - A vicious winter storm began to hit the Toronto area overnight with heavy snow changing to rain, then to freezing rain and back into snow again. Traffic across the city came to a crawl and at the airport, flights were delayed and canceled. The buildup of ice on trees caused many of them to snap, some landing on cars.

Ice Storm

Steam Vortices - Dec. 19 2004 - A cold blast of Arctic air spreading over top of Lake Ontario created ideal conditions for steam to rise off the water. When the wind conditions are right, the steam can sometimes spin into a vortex known as a steam devil. Today the conditions were good for steam devils and many were spotted from the lake shore in Toronto. At the time, the air temperature was -18 degrees Celsius with a wind chill of -30.

Steam Devils

Steam Devils

Volcano Expedition Preparations - Dec. 09 2004 - Grimsby, Ontario. - In January, I'll be departing for Africa to take part in an expedition to the remote Erta Ale volcano in Ethiopia. Today was spent training for the steep terrain at the volcano. Helping me was Griptech high angle rescue equipment manufacturers, the Grimsby fire dept. and a crew from Discovery Channel. More details to come...


IMAX Forces Of Nature - Nov. 26 & 27, 2004 - I'll be appearing in Gatineau, Quebec at the Canadian Museum of Civilization to help promote the new IMAX film: Forces Of Nature. The movie features incredible scenes of tornadoes in the United States, earthquakes in Turkey and the Montserrat volcano eruption.

CBS Mini-Series - Nov. 14 & 17, 2004 - The upcoming mini-series "Category 6, Day of Destruction" natural disaster drama is about three enormous weather systems that ultimately collide over Chicago, creating the worst super-storm in the nation's history. Watch the show closely and you will see footage of me taken in the crashing waves of hurricane Frances.


Category 6

Solar Storm - Nov. 06, 2004 - Even during a low period of solar activity, sun spots do occur. Sun Spot #696 has been very active and has released nine M-class solar flares recently. The coronal mass ejections from the sun spots may arrive here on Earth and trigger geomagnetic storms, causing aurora borealis aka: Northern Lights.

Sun Spot #696

Discovery Channel - Oct. 19, 2004 - Watch for me as I appear on Daily Planet, the daily science news program on Discovery Channel Canada. Host Natasha Stillwell and I discuss chasing hurricanes and she even takes my chase truck out for a spin.

Discovery Channel Canada

Mount Washington - Oct. 11, 2004 - I have just returned from a 3 day trip to Mount Washington in New Hampshire. It's the highest peak in the northeastern U.S and it rises up to a summit of 6288 Feet. It's home to some of the worst weather in the world and the highest wind speed measurement ever taken. The fall colours were also at their peak for the season. The view from the mountain was spectacular.

Mount Washington

Ontario Science Centre - As part of Earth & Space Week, I'll be appearing at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto on October 18th. I will be giving an educational presentation on Stormchaser Science. For more information contact the OSC website at: www.ontariosciencecentre.ca Ontario Science Centre

Ontario Storm Chaser BB-Q - Sept. 21, 2004 - The annual Ontario Storm Chaser's BB-Q is being held this Saturday, Sept 25th. Hosting the event this year is Tom Stefanac. I will be there showcasing my tornado, hurricane and timelapse video from the 2004 storm season. For more information, go to the VaughanWeather BB-Q site.

Hurricane Frances Chase - Sept. 8, 2004 - Frances chase completed!! Many pictures are now posted on the Frances page. Video clips to be added soon. This was a tough chase that challenged my endurance and stamina under far less than ideal circumstances. Many thanks to my chase partners for this trip: Mark Robinson, Scott McPartland and Dave Lewison. Because of the slow forward speed of the storm, we were able to film it for hours and hours.

Hurricane Frances

Category 4 Hurricane Frances - Aug 29, 2004. Hurricane Frances has become the second Cat 4 hurricane of the Atlantic Hurricane season. It's currently packing sustained winds of 132 MPH with gusts up to 160 MPH!! Frances may pose a serious threat to the Bahamas and the East Coast U.S. next week. I will be intercepting this intense storm if it makes landfall. Stay tuned...
Introducing the CPOV - The Chaser Point Of View Camera. I'll be using this new, helmet mounted camera system to help document the most intense eyewall winds of Hurricane Frances. The rugged camera is fully waterproof and is designed to withstand winds up to 200 MPH. You'll be able to see exactly what I see and experience what it's like to be in the eye of the storm. This will be the first time that a storm chaser has ever used such a camera system.




Magazine Article - Aug 28, 2004. My chase vehicle and I are featured in the new issue of The Driver automotive magazine. On news stands now.

The Driver Magazine

Tropical Double Trouble - Aug 12, 2004. Tropical storm Bonnie made landfall today in Florida and Hurricane Charley is not far behind. Charley is forecast to sweep across the Florida Keys and then make landfall on the Gulf Coast as a Category 2 or 3 storm. Having 2 tropical storms hit the same state within hours of each other is an extremely rare event and there is likely to be severe flooding in the wake of these 2 storms. The entire State of Florida is currently under a state of emergency. Although early plans were made, I am unable to chase this event.

Bonnie & Charley

Hanging Out - Aug 01, 2004. Doing some climbing at the Macdonald mine near Bancroft, Ontario.

Macdonald Mine 01

Macdonald Mine 02

Highlights Trailer Now Online - July 22, 2004. The 45 second trailer promoting my 2004 highlights DVD is now on the web. It will feature all my U.S. tornado chases from 2004 as well as Canadian chases from all 4 seasons. It's currently being assembled and will be ready in the fall at the end of hurricane season. New chases will be added to it as they occur. View the trailer HERE (1.3MB)

Highlights Trailer

Flooding in Fergus - July 17, 2004. Roadways became flooded after a nearly stationary thunderstorm dumped heavy rains over Fergus, Ontario. One motorist was unsuccessful at making it through the floodwaters. Funnel clouds were also spotted with this storm system. Footage aired on The Weather Network

Fergus Flooding

Lightning Storm - July 14, 2004. A strong lightning storm lashed the Toronto skyline at 3:30 this morning. The C.N. Tower took several hits which was no surprise. It gets struck by lightning about 70 times a year. The same storm system produced a confirmed tornado near Exeter, Ontario and prompted a waterspout advisory for Lake Erie.




Website Updates - July 03, 2004. I've added numerous stories and pictures as well as re-organized the Photo Galleries section with more details from the 2004 tornado outbreaks.

Television Appearance - June 24, 2004. I will be making an appearance on the Daytime Live talk show on Rogers Television (Simcoe-Grey Region). I'll be showcasing new tornado footage from my latest chases this year. Joining me will be Marj Sawer who'll be sharing her experiences as a survivor of the 1985 Barrie F-4 tornado.

Rogers Television

Tornado Warning Issued For Toronto !! - June 14, 2004. Environment Canada issued a Tornado Warning for the city of Toronto:

Tornado Warning for:
City of Toronto
An intense thunderstorm has developed over northern section of Toronto and is tracking southeastward. Radar indicates a rotation within this storm. Therefore a funnel cloud or even a tornado is possible.

This is a warning that severe thunderstorms with tornadoes are imminent or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions. Take immediate safety precautions.
An intense thunderstorm has developed over northern section of Toronto and is tracking southeastward. Radar indicates a rotation within this storm. Therefore a funnel cloud or even a tornado is possible.

Many people tend to think that "Tornadoes don't happen here"...Well yes indeed they can. I was unable to chase today but I've been following the situation closely all day. I'm waiting to hear if there were any confirmed tornadoes in Ontario from these storms today....stay tuned.

Here's a radar loop of the tornado warned storm passing along the northern portions of Toronto.

Radar Loop

Guest Speaker - June 15, 2004. I made an appearance as a guest speaker for the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario. It was part of their public educational activities series. The topic was Severe Weather Forecasting & Chasing. Many thanks to Mark Robinson for allowing me to come in to show some of my newest footage and discuss the techniques involved in forecasting.

Tornado Chase 2004 A Huge Success!! - My annual month long journey through "Tornado Alley" is now complete and it was the most successful trip to date. We were able to intercept a total of about 17 tornadoes including the outbreak in Attica, Kansas on May 12th and the incredible family of tornadoes that were spawned by 1 incredible storm in south central Kansas on May 29th. That day we were able to witness 10 tornadoes in 3 hours, including 2 on the ground at the same time on 3 different occasions. I will be re-organizing this site and posting more pictures soon.

The 2004 Tornado Chase daily log page page is located HERE.

Canwarn Training Session - Dufferin - April 25, 2004. Orangeville, Ontario - Annual storm spotter training was held for the Dufferin County region at the Galaxy theater in Orangeville. The turnout was greater than expected and the presentation was very informative. CANWARN (Canadian Weather Amateur Radio Network) is a volunteer organization of ham radio operators who report severe weather when they see it to Environment Canada. What they do is called ground-truthing. They confirm on the ground what satellites and radars see in the atmosphere. Some of my video footage and many of my still photos were used to help train the storm spotters.


Many thanks to:
Scott Keddie VE3IPE - CANWARN Central Region Manager
Paul Chantree VE3PWZ - Dufferin County CANWARN
Phil "The Forecaster" Chadwick - Senior Severe Weather Meteorologist

Phil The Forecaster

Phil & Sgt. Cam Woolley


C.N. Tower Climb - April 24, 2004. Toronto - Today I climbed the stairs of the C.N. Tower. It's the world's tallest building and free standing structure. The tip of the tower is 553.33m (1,815 ft., 5 inches) high. The climb was up the stairwell's 1776 stairs & 144 landings to the observation deck at 342 m (1,122 ft). I was able to complete this climb in 18 mins, 31 sec. The climb was to help support the World Wildlife Fund. C.N. Tower Climb

First Storms of the Season and Documentary Film Shoot - April 18, 2004. Southern Ontario - Today and yesterday morning the first rumbles of thunder ushered in the beginning of the 2004 thunderstorm season. Several severe thunderstorm warnings were issued by Environment Canada. I also spent the day with a film crew from CTV. We were shooting footage for an upcoming television documentary on weather and how it affects people's health.
Documentary Shoot


Discovery Channel T.V. Shows - April 14, 2004. I will be featured on the Discovery Channel series Disaster Detectives. The episode is entitled: "Tornado Chasers". The show airs in Canada on Wednesday, May. 26th at 10:00 Eastern. Some of my tornado footage will also be featured on the episode: "Science Of Tornadoes". More schedule information can be found HERE. Information on U.S. broadcast dates will be added as it becomes available.


Lightning Protection Sponsor- April 07, 2004. Wilcan, the makers of High Performance Electrical Surge Protection have constructed for me a series of custom built, application specific, lightning protectors. These protectors will help to safeguard the sensitive equipment in my chase vehicle from potentially devastating lightning strikes when I'm out filming thunderstorms. Lightning is one of the most dangerous elements that I face while chasing.

Wilcan Lightning Protection

Solar Halo - April 04, 2004. Always on the lookout for atmospheric phenomenon, I was able to capture a 22 degree solar halo display in the thin cirrostratus clouds - Toronto.

Solar Halo

School Presentation - April 1st, 2004. I joined up with fellow storm chaser Dan Wexler to do an educational presentation for students here in Ontario.

April 1st - York Hill Public School - Thornhill Ont. with Dan Wexler

Radio Interview - March 29, 2004. I was interviewed on the Jim Richards Show - CFRB 1010 in Toronto - 10:30 local time. CFRB

CANWARN Storm Spotter Training Dates - March 22, 2004. The dates for the Southern Ontario CANWARN training sessions have now been set. CANWARN (Canadian Weather Amateur Radio Network) is a volunteer organization of ham radio operators who report severe weather when they see it to Environment Canada. What they do is called ground-truthing. They confirm on the ground what satellites and radars see in the atmosphere. Typically, I attend the Toronto session but this year by May 1st, I'll be chasing tornadoes in Oklahoma. Here is the entire training schedule:

City Date Time Location
SARNIA March 30th 7:00 P.M. Clearwater Arena
LINDSAY April 3rd 8:00 A.M. Lindsay Police Station
WINDSOR April 5th 7:00 P.M. Caboto Club
LONDON April 15th 7:00 P.M. St. Judes Anglican Church, 1537 Adelaide Street North
ORILLIA April 17th 8:00 A.M. OPP headquarters
PARRY SOUND April 18th 8:00 A.M. Children's Aid Building
KITCHENER April 21st 7:00 P.M. University of Waterloo William Davis Computer Research Center
KINCARDINE April 22nd 7:00 P.M. Bruce Power Plant
ST. CATHERINES April 24th 9:00 A.M. Optimist Hall - 8 Napier Street
DUFFERIN April 25th 8:00 A.M. Orangeville Theater
TORONTO May 1st 8:00 A.M. Environment Canada 4905 Dufferin

Update - Nuclear Weapons Security Encounter - Updated March 21, 2004. New pics have been added of the "visit" by Dept. of Energy security forces while shooting scenes for the "Tornado Chasers" T.V. show back in May 2003. Near Amarillo, Texas. Security Forces

Thick Clouds Enshroud the C.N. Tower - March 20, 2004. An angelic statue bears witness to the rain and fog that veils the world's tallest free standing structure - Toronto.

C.N. Tower & Statue

Anti War Protest - March 20, 2004. On the one year anniversary of the coalition forces invasion of Iraq, protests were held all over the world. In Toronto the demonstration was held at Nathan Phillips Square in front of city hall. Thousands attended the event and the police were ready but luckily, the protest remained peaceful. I was there with my camera.


Anti-War Protestors

Foul Weather Climbing Tests - March 14, 2004. I tested some of my climbing equipment by scaling the smokestack of a downtown industrial building. The air temperature was -8C with a windchill of -13C.


Straight up

At the top

Stormchaser.ca Wins Web Award - Feb 28, 2004. The Canadian Web Awards has issued this site its highest honor - A rating of Excellent.

Canadian Web Awards!

Discovery Channel T.V. Shows - Feb 24, 2004. I will be featured on the Discovery Channel series Disaster Detectives. The episode is entitled: "Tornado Chasers". The show airs in Canada on Wednesday, Feb. 25th at 10:00 Eastern. Some of my tornado footage will also be featured on the episode: "Science Of Tornadoes". More schedule information can be found HERE. Information on U.S. broadcast dates will be added as it becomes available.


Rev Magazine Article - Feb 15, 2004. On news stands now. The spring 2004 issue of Rev Magazine features a 4 page article on my storm chasing adventures with an interview and photos.

Rev Magazine Cover

Rev Magazine Article

pdf 850kb

Chase Preparations - Feb 14, 2004. Despite it being only February and there's still lots of winter remaining, preparations are already underway for the 2004 storm season. Right now electrical upgrades are being done to the chase vehicle. Many more upgrades are in the works and I'll keep updating as they progress.

Vehicle Upgrades

A Variety of Winter Wonders - Jan 24, 2004. The below average cold temperatures are continuing across the northeast. The bitter cold has made for some beautiful scenery if one is hearty enough to brave the cold and get outside to see it. Keep checking back for more wild winter weather.







The frozen Ottawa river, Aylmer, Quebec

Steam Devil vortex at sunrise

Bright sundog caused by ice crystals in the atmosphere

Lake Ontario ice columns

Mark Robinson at the waters edge. The air temp was about -20C

Waterfront sunset

Steam Devils on Lake Ontario - Jan 10, 2004. The extreme cold snap that hit the Northeast triggered a large quantity of steam devils on Lake Ontario. (Pictures & Video)


Snow Squalls & Freezing Spray Warning - Jan 08, 2004. There was a variety of interesting weather events today. First off was an extreme wind chill in Toronto that made it feel like -25C. Waves from Lake Ontario splashed up and coated everything that they touched with a thick layer of ice. While I was taking the photos, it was so cold that ice formed almost instantly on my gloves and camera. Later in the evening, the snow squalls off of Lake Huron became very strong. I ended up helping pull a Mini Cooper out of a ditch just south of Georgian Bay. They had lost control and spun across the highway. Luckily, there were no injuries.


Road Flare

Happy New Year - Jan 01, 2004. What better way to usher in the new year than making a big splash!!! Fellow chaser, Mark Robinson and I joined the Polar Bear club and jumped into frigid Lake Ontario today. All proceeds went to help World Vision bring clean drinking water to third world countries. I've chased a lot of strange weather before but this is the first time I've ever chased cold water!!

Lake Ontario

George towelling off

Mark has been warmer

2 of my storm images have been featured in the new WeatherMatrix 2004 calendars One image is lightning over Toronto, the other is of myself wading into the storm surge during Hurricane Isabel.

WeatherMatrix Calendar

WeatherMatrix Calendar

An Archive of Previous Year's News Items Can Be Found Here





















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