2006 Archive News/Blog & Recent Events - George Kourounis

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Dec. 06 2006 - South Pacific - Well It's off to the South Pacific. This latest expedition will be huge for many reasons. The main one is that I'm getting married on the crater's edge of Yasur Volcano. It is extremely active and explodes numerous times per hour.
I addition to Yasur Volcano, I'll be:
-Scuba diving off Efate Island,
-Rappelling down a waterfall
Then it's off to Hawaii where I'll
-Learn to surf then visit the famous "Banzai Pipeline" on Oahu's North Shore,
-Visit the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center,
-Explore Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island with the scientists at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory.
Website updates will likely not be possible during the trip but will resume upon my return.

Yasur Volcano

Yasur Volcano - Photo By: Marco Fulle

Dec. 02 2006 - 10:00 AM - Devastation in the Philippines - Huge mudflows have been triggered by Typhoon Durian southeast of Manila along the slopes of Mayon volcano. Over the past year, the volcano has been very active, spewing out ash and rock. The typhoon loosened all this material and brought it down into the villages along the flanks of the volcano. The huge wall of mud has buried some of the villages up to the rooftops and the death toll is already at 300 and is expected to rise sharply.

Nov. 30 2006 - 1:00 PM - Today marks the last day of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season. The good news for everyone living along the coastline is that there were no landfalling storms this year despite initial predictions of a very busy year. The bad news for me is that as a storm chaser, I had no hurricanes to chase this year. At least we made an attempt at Tropical Storm Isaac in Newfoundland but there's nothing like being in the eyewall of a powerful hurricane as it comes ashore.
On the other side of the planet. The Philippines is getting pounded again. Typhoon Durian made landfall yesterday as a very strong typhoon and there will likely be reports of severe damage on Luzon Island. I would have loved to have been there but I leave for the South Pacific in a few days to get married and I don't think my fiancee would've appreciated a side trip into a typhoon.
Also, I want to sent sincere thanks to everyone at Andrew's Formals in Toronto who are providing my tuxedo for the volcano wedding episode. They didn't have one made from asbestos so I hope I don't burn any holes in their suit. That might be hard to explain when I bring it back.

Andrews Formals - Exceeding Formal Wear Needs

Nov. 29 2006 - 4:00 PM - Strange times indeed..So I was out of town for 2 days doing some weather presentations for the nice people at the Field Naturalists Clubs in Woodstock and Kincardine. I was expecting a nice, leisurely car trip...Wrong!!..I ended up photographing not one but TWO immense fires. Calamity seems to cross my path all too often.
The first fire started in an old warehouse in Woodstock and really got going just as I was finishing up my presentation. I only had to walk one block to get to the where the fire was burning.
The very next day I was on my way to Kincardine when I spotted another fire burning in a barn along the side of the highway. The owner was scrambling to release his cattle as the flames started to punch through the roof.
Two fires in two days. It's a good thing that I always bring my camera with me when I travel. I'd be kicking myself if I hadn't.
It's now only one week left before I'm off to Vanuatu for my wedding trip and there's a million preparations to make over the next few days.

Warehouse Fire

Barn Fire

Nov. 26 2006 - 8:00 AM - Here's what's going on around our Angry Planet today:
Possible typhoon threatening the Philippines - Right now tropical storm Durian is weak but is forecast to quickly strengthen and take aim at the Philippines over the next few days.
Heavy rains & flooding in Panama - Hundreds of homes have been destroyed and there are reports of at least 8 people killed. Landslides have also been triggered by the heavy rain.
Story weather approaching - The Pacific Northwest is about to get a strong winter blast which will work its way across North America over the next few days. Some winter storm watches are already in effect for parts of California, Oregon & Washington.

Nov. 24 2006 - 9:00 AM - Those of you who are regular readers here already know that I'm in the middle of filming a new TV series that features my weather chasing & other adventures. Well we now have an air date for the first batch of episodes. They'll be on Tuesday nights at 9:30 starting March 6th on the Outdoor Life Network in Canada. There will be 6 episodes aired then and then the rest will come out in the fall. There'll be 13 episodes in total with each one focusing on my experiences with different forces of Nature.
2006 has been a very busy year for me and it looks like 2007 is going to be just as crazy. Even with the first shows airing in March, we'll still be out in the field filming new episodes until sometime in June. The schedule is crazy.
As for the latest adventure? People keep asking me what's next and I'm very pleased to announce that the next expedition is a big one (For many reasons).
In early December, I'm off to the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu where my fiancee and I are getting married near a tribal village...on the crater's edge of an erupting volcano!!! The Yasur volcano is one of the most active in the world with numerous explosions every hour for the past 800 years. This wedding should be a blast.
You might remember Vanuatu from when the show "Survivor" filmed a season there a few years ago.
But wait, there's more...From there, it's off to Hawaii where I'll be at the famous Banzai Pipeline surfing area on the North Shore of Oahu where surfers take on some of the biggest and most dangerous waves in the world. I'll also be visiting with scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center as well as the Hawaii Volcano Observatory where I'm joining in on a research excursion the retrieve scientific data from an area where fresh lava is entering the ocean from Kilauea volcano.
Whew!!... Many, MANY thanks go out to everyone involved in this production and to the others who have lended a hand along the way. This effort would not be possible without you. Let the adventures continue...
Outdoor Life Network

Nov. 22 2006 - 9:00 AM - I'm very pleased to announce the latest "Angry Planet" sponsor - Canada Goose makes the BEST extreme cold weather clothing in the world, hands down. Their coats and accessories are commonly used by researchers in Antarctica and the North Pole. I'm really looking forward to keeping warm this winter since we have a few cold weather expeditions lined up.

Nov. 16 2006 - 1:00 PM - The tornado threat for the U.S. continues today with numerous tornado watches extending down the east coast from the Carolinas and even into Florida. Unfortunately, fatalities have been reported.
Hurricane Sergio has strengthened into a category 2 storm but now it's looking like the west coast of Mexico will be spared. The storm is forecast to sweep out to sea and will probably not make landfall.

Nov. 15 2006 - 10:00 AM - There are quite a few things going on in the world right now...
Tsunami Warning - A magnitude 8.1 earthquake in the Kuril Islands has prompted a tsunami warning for parts of Russia, northern Japan and numerous nearby islands. Coastal residents were told to flee to higher ground but luckily, only small waves were detected in Japan.
Tornado Alert - There is currently a moderate risk issue by the Storm Prediction Center for the Southern U.S. There are currently 4 tornado watches in effect and one of them, which covers all of Louisiana and part of Mississippi is considered a Particularly Dangerous Situation. Tornado reports have been coming in from the waves of thunderstorms pounding the area but no damage reports at this time.
Hurricane - Hurricane Sergio has formed in the Pacific off the west coast of Mexico. It is expected to strengthen slightly and may be a threat to land in the coming days. It is currently at category 1 intensity.

Nov. 08 2006 - 1:00 PM - I've added a couple more pictures to the Mexican Great White Shark page and there may be more to come so enjoy.
Also - The pacific northwest has been hammered by heavy rain and tremendous flooding by a "Pineapple Express" weather system that brings moisture in from the Pacific Ocean. They should get a day or two of relief but the rains will likely return on Friday.
Preparations are still ongoing for more filming for the "Angry Planet" TV series with a huge adventure coming up in early December...I'll be updating with more information soon.

Nov. 06 2006 - Great White Shark Diving - The Great White Shark expedition was an enormous success!! Isla de Guadalupe in Mexico is a marvelous place to see these incredible creatures and from the the safety of a cage, you can really observe them as they swim past, patrolling for food. We saw numerous individual Great Whites over several days of diving, including several at a time and one that was estimated at 16 feet!! I've posted a few pictures but more are coming...
Great White Sharks

Oct. 29 2006 - 9:00 PM - Great Whites - Well I'm off. First to San Diego, the first stop along the way. Then it'll be a 22 hour boat trip out to Guadalupe Island, Mexico where the Great White sharks prowl for seals. Pictures and detailed accounts from the expedition will be uploaded upon my return. Happy Halloween everyone!!
Shark !!

Oct. 27 2006 - 800 PM - Yesterday was interesting. I ended up filming a nasty car fire on my way to visit Dan Wexler. It sure is a good thing I had my camera with me. From there it was off to the Ontario Science Centre where I joined Mark Robinson in giving a severe weather presentation to about 350 students as part of Earth & Space Week at the museum. From there it was off to screen the first edit of the Yukon/Alaska episode of Angry Planet.
Preparations are continuing for the Great White shark dive expedition which begins on Monday.
Car Fire

Oct. 24 2006 - 2:00 PM - Tropical storm Paul is headed for the Pacific coast of Mexico but it's going to be too weak to bother going after it. This has been a tough hurricane season for me! Oh well, that's the way nature works...Besides I'm going to be in Mexico next week anyway, but this time it's not the waves and water I'm after. It's what's IN the water...I'm going to Isla de Guadalupe to dive with Great White Sharks!! Yep, it's true and yes, we will have a cage so that I don't become fish food. This Mexican Island is one of the best spots in the world to witness these sharks and it's something I've wanted to do for years...

Oct. 15 2006 - Creepy Crawly Cuisine - I attended a dinner party at Urban Primitive but this was no regular dinner. The menu consisted entirely of gourmet dishes made from insects!! We're not talking Fear Factor here, it was truly delicious, well prepared recipes from around the world. The chef, Jeff Stewart from Creepy Crawly Cooking.com pulled out all the stops and made a really tasty spread. There was a bee brew made from bees & giant Japanese hornet, a dish made from Mopani worms and even mealworm cookies. The full menu can be seen HERE. One highlight was eating an entire barbecued scorpion, pincers & all. And NO it doesn't taste like chicken.
Western cultures are the only place where insects are not considered a normal part of many people's diet. In the rest of the world, bugs are consumed on a regular basis. They are nutritious, plentiful and can be quite tasty.
Peter from Jungle Cat World was also on hand with a few live critters to show off. Of course I had to play with the Emperor Scorpion and the Tarantula. There was also a snake and some Madagascar hissing cockroaches on hand.

Oct. 14 2006 - 2:30 PM - In between trips out to Fort Erie to chase the huge winter storm, I did some underwater filming in a very odd location. The giant aquarium at the Mandarin Chinese restaurant in Brampton. The 7000 gallon tank is home to a variety of marine life as is big enough for several people to SCUBA dive in. I was filming Mark Robinson as he fed the fish and cleaned the tank. Looking out through the side into a dining room with people eating dinner was a strange experience.
Even more extreme underwater adventures are on the horizon in the weeks to come so stay tuned!
Mandarin Fish Tank

Oct. 14 2006 - 10:00 AM - Record Breaking Winter Storm - What a busy few days it's been. I'm now back from the craziest October snowstorm I've ever seen. I was out at the hardest hit area, Fort Erie twice. One at the beginning of the snowstorm and then again the next day to survey the aftermath...It was crazy! Incredible wind, rain, LOTS of snow, grauple, thunder & lightning, downed branches & power lines, closed roads...I could go on & on.
Power is still out to the area and a state of emergency was declared.
More details and pictures from the event can be found HERE.
Fort Erie Mayhem

Oct. 12 2006 - 8:00 AM - The temperature is really starting to drop here in Toronto.
I spent about half the day at Environment Canada headquarters yesterday, talking to the forecasters and discussing the weather situation with Wade Szilagy, Canada's waterspout guru. He's invented a computer model which can predict when & where waterspout conditions are good, and the next 3 days are looking very good indeed, in fact the conditions are the best he's seen in 3 years. The only fly in the ointment is that there might be too much wind...Too much wind? I didn't think that was possible.

Oct. 10 2006 - 6:00 PM - I've been busy doing TV show stuff lately, today I was recording a voice over for the African volcano episode of "Angry Planet" and it looks GREAT!! I can't wait for the show to go to air but It'll be a long while before that happens so I'll have to be patient, besides we're still only about halfway through filming the series and there's a LOT still left to shoot...
A potent weather pattern is setting up here over the next few days. A winter-like storm will likely bring strong wind, thunderstorms, and lake effect snow to parts of Ontario. It looks like I'm going to be a very busy guy this week if it all comes together. Stay tuned to see what happens. - George.

Oct. 05 2006 - 1:00 PM - Back From Isaac - Tropical Storm Isaac played a cruel trick on us, we went through hell getting to Newfoundland, never knowing if we were even going to be able to land and when we eventually did, the storm had sped up and turned out to sea. As frustrating as it was, Newfoundland is an incredibly beautiful and friendly place. Details from the trip are posted HERE.

Oct. 01 2006 - 6:00 PM - Well, the decision has been made and I'm going to be attempting an intercept of Tropical Storm Isaac on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula. The storm is accelerating so I'm hoping I can land in St. John's tomorrow before the airport shuts down...It's uncertain right now if I'll be able to post updates here on the web until after the storm.

Sept 30 2006 - 11:00 PM - A good part of the day was spent at Park Lawn Junior Middle School where I was talking to students & parents about weather & storm chasing. The kids really got a kick out of my storm chasing truck...Kids always love that kind of thing, especially when they can get inside and play with all the switches.
After my visit to the school, it was off to the Lake Ontario shore where there was a waterspout risk today, Unfortunately there were none to be seen while I was there but they are illusive by nature and very difficult to find on the Great Lakes.
The big dilemma is whether or not to make the trek to Newfoundland for hurricane Isaac. The storm is going to weaken before it hits (If it hits) but it still might be worth the effort. The decision will be made on Sunday morning...Stay tuned.

Sept 29 2006 - 8:30 AM - Wishing I was on the other side of the planet right now...
Typhoon Xangsane has already ripped across the Philippines and is now on a direct course for Vietnam. It's currently strengthening in the South China Sea and is expected to become a strong Category 4 storm before making landfall.
In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Isaac has formed but it is expected to re-curve and head back out into open ocean without threatening land...Just like every other hurricane this season.
5:00 P.M. - Tropical Storm Issac is now expected to briefly attain hurricane status sometime over the next day or so. If it gets close enough to Newfoundland, I may consider going but I'm not going to hold my breath...

Sept 27 2006 - 9:30 AM - O.K. yesterday was cool. I got to ride along with the Durham Police Marine Unit in their boats as they did training exercises with a Coast Guard helicopter. It was amazing to see the chopper lower guys onto the deck of the boat by winch. The precision required is immense. They also did sinking ship training and deployed a life raft into Lake Ontario.
I was even able to get in on the action by putting on a cold water survival suit, firing off a few flares into the air and jumping in. The suits really do keep you quite warm but they are really bulky and made climbing up into the life raft really tough. I felt like a huge marshmallow bobbing up & down.
Many thanks to the Police and Coast Guard for a great day out on the water!
More pictures HERE.
MArine Exercises

Sept 25 2006 - 5:30 PM - I've been busy making show plans & preparations for the past couple of days. Yesterday I spent some time in a friend's pool getting back into the swing of things with scuba gear. It's been a while since I did any diving and I need to get back up to speed FAST. It's a bit of a secret why, but you'll see by the end of October...We've got some very cool stuff planned.
Tomorrow, I'll be joining the Lake Ontario Coast Guard as they perform a lifeboat drill. It looks like I'm going to get wet...Again.

Sept 23 2006 - 10:30 PM - Got a pretty early start this morning and headed down from Toronto to Niagara Falls. Once there we did some filming at the Class 6 Whirlpool Rapids & at the actual Falls themselves. In the afternoon, it was time to hop onto a 1500 horsepower jet boat and ride these giant rapids firsthand. We linked up with the guys who operate the jet boats on the lower Niagara River rapids (Class 5) and went for the ride of my life.
Of course, the guys at the boat company put me right at the front where the craziest waves crash over the bow of the boat. For about an hour we went back and forth over some of the wildest rapids in the world and each time we'd hit a rapid, a HUGE wall of water would hit me in the face followed by another and another. Awesome! We were sitting waist deep in water after each run, I've never been so wet. The whole event was captured with 2 high definition cameras, one on the boat I was riding in and another on a second jet boat that was in place for filming.
If you're ever in the Niagara On The Lake region and want a wild ride, check these guys out.
Whirlpool Jet Boat

Sept 22 2006 - 9:30 PM - The past 2 days were spent in Eganville in Eastern Ontario. Most of our time there was spent at Bonnechere Caves where we did a bunch of filming for "Angry Planet". On this trip, I re-created the conditions that were present in the cave when it was first discovered by Tom Woodward in 1952. We put an inflatable kayak into the nearby rapids and I pulled it upstream against the current with a rope. This was no simple task considering how swiftly the water was flowing. I'll be returning to the cave in the winter to shoot the second part of the segment once the cave floods as it does each year.
I'm back in Toronto now but in the morning, I'm off to Niagara Falls to do some more filming. I'll be at the falls and also at the whirlpool rapids, one of the most treacherous sets of rapids in the world where I'll be taking a wild ride on a jet boat.
Bonnechere Rapids

Sept 20 2006 - 9:30 PM - I'll be spending the next couple of days at the Bonnechere caves in Eganville, Ontario. These caves are kept dry in the summer, allowing easy access and then the pumps are turned off in the fall, flooding the caves with water during the winter months. I'll be doing some filming for the show and testing out my brand new wet suit. Pics will be posted when I return to Toronto.

Sept 19 2006 - 8:00 AM - Yesterday, the "Helicopter flying past a wall of flames" photo was featured as a spotlight on CNN's website. It was also supposed to have been shown on CNN Headline News Network but I didn't get the chance to see if it made it to air or not.
5:30 P.M. - NOAA announces that the summer of 2006 was the second hottest in the U.S. since record keeping began. The average June-Aug temperature was 2.4 degrees above average. The only year that was hotter was in 1936 during the dust bowl days. Am I the only one shocked by this? The report can be found HERE.


Sept 18 2006 - Tropical Storms - 7:00 AM - The oceans of the world are busy today. Here's an overview of the tropical storms on the planet right now.
Typhoon Shanshan - Has already struck the southern islands of Japan and is dissipating. It peaked at Cat-4 near Taiwan.
Hurricane Gordon - Is weakening in the mid Atlantic, far away from land. It was a Cat-3 at one point.
Hurricane Helene - Currently a Cat-3 storm and forecast to strengthen. I'm watching this one approach Bermuda or the Canadian Maritimes.
Tropical Depression Lane - Dissipating but it hit Mexico as a Cat-3 major hurricane. If I hadn't been flying around in helicopters over forest fires, I would have attempted an intercept. Too bad I can't be 2 places at once.
Tropical Depression Miriam - A weak system that will likely hit the Baja Peninsula. Not worth chasing.
Tropical Storm Yagi - Strengthening in the Pacific. Forecast to become a typhoon soon and possibly threaten Iwo Jima.

Sept 17 2006 - Northern Ontario Fires - 2:30 PM - HOLY COW !!! - Well the last minute flight to Thunder Bay was totally worth it. I was able to witness one of the most spectacular sights I've ever seen. The Ministry of Natural Resources was conducting a prescribed burn using a helicopter with a drip torch. I was able to film the operation from a second helicopter with huge flames in the background. It doesn't get much better than this!! During the few days that I was there, we logged just over 10 hours of helicopter time and got to film from the ground as well. It was truly insane to see. I'm back in Toronto now, getting ready for more shooting next week.
The video footage was fed to all the Canadian networks for their news broadcasts.
I did miss hurricane Lane hitting Mexico's Pacific coast but the footage I got was way more spectacular than ANY hurricane footage I've ever seen. It'll make a great addition to my "Angry Planet" TV series.
Many thanks go out to Mitch Miller of the MNR for all his assistance.
Thunder Bay Firestorm

Sept 13 2006 - Northern Ontario Fires - 3:00 PM - Numerous large forest fires are currently burning in Northern Ontario and right now I'm scrambling to get my gear packed to get out there. My plane for Thunder Bay leaves in a few hours, so the mad dash is on. If everything goes according to plan, by this time tomorrow, I should be on board a helicopter, circling the flames. I return on Sunday and I'll post pictures & updates then...Now I've really got to go pack...

Sept 11 2006 - 10:00 PM - Florence has passed Bermuda and there has not been a lot of damage reported. This storm ended up being more of an annoyance than a threat to the island and I'm glad I didn't go after all. Florence will still bring a lot of wind & rain to the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland but I won't be going there to chase it.
In the Pacific, Typhoon ShanShan is strengthening and on its current path it'll be close the island of Okinawa (Japan) in a few days as a category 3 storm.

Sept 11 2006 - To the right is a radar loop showing hurricane Florence bearing down on Bermuda. The storm lost some steam and it looks likely that it'll remain a category 1 storm and I expect that Bermuda will see very little damage. The buildings there are built to high standards and they are a well prepared nation when it comes to hurricanes. A lesson not learned by some other wealthy nations...
Another tropical depression has formed behind it and will likely be headed in the general direction of...Wait for it...Bermuda. Here we go again. However, whether it strengthens into anything formidable or not remains to be seen.
Today also marks the 5th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. A defining moment in all our lives. Let there be peace.
Florence Radar Loop

Sept 10 2006 - Hurricane Florence has been having some more difficulties staying organized but it is still expected to continue strengthening for the next day or two. I'm relieved now that the latest track takes the storm a bit further west and away from Bermuda. The island will be affected but the worst of the winds will likely remail offshore. The next thing to look at is the possibility of Newfoundland getting hit as the storm makes a transition to extra-tropical status over the cooler waters of the North Atlantic.
It'll probably not make a direct hit but I'll be watching it in case I have to make a mad dash for St. Johns.
In other news, A magnitude 6.0 earthquake shook large areas of the Gulf of Mexico today. No major damage or injuries were reported from the earthquake which had an epicenter 260 miles southwest of Tampa. It was the strongest quake to hit the area in 30 years.

Sept 09 2006 - Florence - Well, after giving up on the idea of chasing Tropical Storm Florence in Bermuda, I woke up to see the forecast track shifted to the west, now bringing the strongest part of the storm directly over Bermuda on Monday morning. After a few phone calls, the decision to go for it was made and last minute preparations started to furiously come together. Unfortunately, it was too late. As I feared, the airport in Bermuda was slated to shut down completely starting tonight.
Chase canceled.
It's disappointing but going after Florence would have been a bit of a gamble to begin with. On a tiny island like Bermuda, if the storm veers off course at all then you're out of luck.

Sept 08 2006 - This morning I was out filming a garbage truck that had dropped into a sinkhole. The tow crews were waiting around because they couldn't move it until the city engineers inspected the site.
Today is a tough decision day. Tropical Storm Florence is heading towards Bermuda but it's fairly disorganized right now and it's struggling to strengthen. The question is - Do I take a risk and fly to Bermuda or pass this one up? This decision would be a lot easier if I already had one hurricane under my belt this season but so far, the Atlantic has been slower than expected.

Sept 07 2006 - Thank you to those who pointed out to me that I had the wrong dates listed here on the blog...Whoops
I've been busy with planning for the T.V. series. Meetings etc... All the while keeping one eye on Tropical Storm Florence. It's looking more and more like this storm is going to stay out at sea and not make landfall at all. There is now a chance that it might impact Bermuda early next week.
Florence Sept 7

Sept 05 2006 - Tropical Depression #6 has now officially been upgraded to Tropical Storm Florence. It'll still be many days before I know were it will end up going but it should continue to strengthen.
- An Air Force team has finally been able to fly out to Wake Island in the Pacific to view the damage from Supertyphoon Ioke. It looks like the tiny island took less damage than expected. Read more HERE

Sept 04 2006 - I woke up this morning to find out that Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter" is dead. He was killed by a stingray while filming off the east coast of Australia. He apparently swam over top of the stingray which then thrust up its tail and pierced his heart with its venomous barbed tip. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. He leaves behind his wife Terri and their 2 children.
I'm deeply saddened by this. I admire his dedication and enthusiasm for his passion and I always considered him an influence of mine.
He died doing what he loved and has left behind a legacy of conservation and awareness that will endure for generations...We'll miss you Steve... Crikey

Sept 03 2006 - The hurricane season is starting to get interesting again...Tropical depression 6 has formed out in the mid Atlantic and it looks like it'll be strengthening over the next few days at least and eventually grow into hurricane Florence. My big concern is that it'll get close to the U.S. then curve out to sea but it'll be several days before I have a better idea of its trajectory.

Sept 02 2006 - Remnants of Tropical Depression Ernesto - After drenching much of the Atlantic coast of the U.S. the remaining storm system that was once Ernesto made it to the Great Lakes. Of course I was going to chase this system but doing it from land in a car seemed a bit too mundane, I wanted to get out there and really feel this thing so what's a guy to do?...Head out into Lake Ontario in a sailboat!. I'm glad I went out in the boat the other day for a practice run because today's trip was crazy. We ended up going out about 4 miles from shore where the winds, waves and rain were fierce.
Of course, we were the only boat out there. It's a good thing that I was with a group of experienced sailors because it got a bit hairy when the boat was leaned over so far that the guardrails along the sides of the deck were in the water. (Thanks Peter, Ron & Blake). There was a gale warning in effect and 2-4 meter waves were commonplace out there, at one point the 35 foot boat got up to 9 knots of forward speed. It doesn't sound like much but the experienced guys were impressed.
Overall a great chase and of course we filmed the entire thing for use in the Angry Planet T.V. series.
And...as a bonus, I didn't get sick.

Aug 31 2006 - O.K. here's the latest weather roundup.
- Tropical Storm Ernesto has regained some strength and is getting ready to make its second landfall in the Carolinas as a strong T.S. or a minimal hurricane.
- Hurricane John is going to clip Cabo San Lucas on Mexico's Baja Peninsula. It has weakened down to Cat 2 from Cat 4. I'm glad it weakened because I was seriously contemplating going after it.
- Supertyphoon Ioke has pummeled Wake Island and it's only a matter of time before we find out how much of the island is left. The storm is still at Cat 4 intensity and is headed in the general direction of Japan.
Yesterday I ended up going out on Lake Ontario in a sailboat to work on my sea legs for filming upcoming episodes of the TV show. Well I'm not much of a mariner and fell victim to seasickness in the choppy water...I'm sure I was a lovely shade of green.
I've also just added some picture of a wildfire that I filmed in Utah a few weeks ago HERE.
Utah Fire

Aug 30 2006 - Well tropical storm Ernesto is currently little more than an annoyance to Florida right now. It made landfall yesterday as a very weak system and I sure am glad I didn't bother going to chase it.
However, there are a few other areas of the world with significant tropical storms right now:
- Hurricane John is off the west coast of Mexico. It's a category 3 storm that is forecast to strengthen up to Cat 4 and skirt the Mexican coastline. I'm watching this one closely just in case it curves into land.
- SuperTyphoon Ioke is a monster Cat 5 storm right now and is currently on a direct course for Wake Island in the central Pacific. The workers there (about 200 U.S. government contractors) have been evacuated and the island has been abandoned. The highest point on Wake Island is only about 20 feet above sea level and the waves & surge from Ioke are expected to be over 40 feet, completely submerging the island!! I suspect that there will be little left once they return after the storm.
Supertyphoon Ioke

Aug 29 2006 - It was one year ago today that I lived through one of the largest natural disasters in U.S. history and one of the most intense experiences of my life. Hurricane Katrina roared ashore as I waited in a parking garage in Gulfport Mississippi with several other chasers from all over the continent. When it was all over, the city was in ruins and we didn't even know the full extent of the damage in New Orleans until part way through the drive home. Click Here for my Katrina page.

Ernesto - Aug 28 2006 - Ernesto's forecast track and strength have been changing so often and mostly towards weakening that I likely won't be chasing it. I will be keeping a close eye on the storm, just in case....

Ottawa Wind Tunnel - Aug 27 2006 - I'm fortunate enough to be going to the National Research Council in Ottawa to shoot some scenes for my new TV show in their wind tunnel. It should be a real blast, especially since they're going to add water to it. I think it'll be the next best thing to actually being in a hurricane (minus the flying debris). Actually, It looks like I'll be in the real thing later in the week if Ernesto keeps on its current forecast path.

Arizona Monsoon - Aug 21 2006 - I have returned from the Desert Southwest after a very busy trip. We were able to intercept many monsoon thunderstorms and saw some of the most incredible scenery on Earth. This will become an episode of my TV series "Angry Planet". Antelope Canyon

Breakfast Television - Aug 08 2006 - Watch for me on Toronto's #1 morning show on Tuesday morning between 7-9 A.M. I'll be showing video clips and talking about my latest adventures. Breakfast Television

Back from Rwanda & Congo - July 31 2006 - The African volcano expedition was a tremendous success. More pictures will be posted soon. This week I'll be doing several radio interviews across Canada, talking about the trip. Updates on online HERE

Central Africa Expedition - July 17 2006 - My next adventure takes me to the "dark continent" of Africa where I'll be visiting Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Formerly Zaire). On this trip I'll be filming the violent lake of lava at the Nyiragongo volcano as well as the rare mountain Gorillas in Rwanda. This whole region has been politically unstable for years with many civil wars and rebel attacks. I'll be there during the lead up to the Congo's first elections since 1960. This expedition will make up one episode of my upcoming TV series "Angry Planet" which will air on the Outdoor Life Network next year. Website updates will resume upon my return.

Northern Expedition - June 26 2006 - I'll be spending the next two weeks in the 24 hours of daylight in the Yukon Territory and Alaska. While there, I'll be traveling through some very remote areas by plane, car, train, mountain bike, and raft. I'll also be spending quite a bit of time with the forest fire fighters of the Yukon at the height of fire season. This expedition will make up one episode of my upcoming TV series "Angry Planet" which will air on the Outdoor Life Network next year. Website updates will resume upon my return. HERE

Public Appearance - June 24 2006, Burlington, Ontario - I'll be making several public presentations on my past and upcoming adventures this Saturday at the Burlington Waterfront Centre between 2 - 4 P.M.

Ragged Falls - June 15 2006, Near Algonquin Park, Ontario - On the way back from a trip to Quebec, I stopped in to take some photos at Ragged Falls. Ragged Falls

Explosive Demolition Of Lake view Power Station Smokestacks - June 12 2006, Mississauga, Ontario - The stacks, known locally as the "4 Sisters" were brought down by explosives one at a time at intervals of about 8 seconds. Each stack was 493 feet tall and made of reinforced concrete lined with brick. When the plant was first opened in 1962 it was considered the largest coal fired power station in the world. It took less than a minute to reduce the stacks to a pile of rubble. Smokestack Implosion

Tropical Storm Alberto/Merapi Volcano - June 11 2006 - There's a lot going on in the world right now. Merapi volcano in Indonesia is continuing to erupt with frequent pyroclastic flows and the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season is poised to strike Florida in a couple of days. I am currently unable to go after either one of these events right now as I'm recovering from recent surgery. I should be as good as new soon.

Hurricane Season - June 01 2006 - Today marks the official start of the 2006 hurricane season. Forecasters are calling for yet another above average year of activity in the Atlantic, let's hope it's not as active as last year.

Tornado Chase - April - May, 2006 - I've recently returned from chasing tornadoes across the central United States. Daily updates have been posted on the main 2006 chase page

One Step Beyond Professional Adventure Speakers Bureau - March. 19 2006 - From OSB Website: One Step Beyond is proud to announce that we are now representing professional speaker George Kourounis. George is a world-renowned Storm Chaser and Global Adventurer. he has the unique distinction of having filmed from the inside of three of worlds most fearsome forces – the heart of a tornado, the eye of a hurricane, and the inside an active volcano. One Step Beyond

CANWARN Training 2006 - March. 18 2006 - The CANWARN training dates are now set. The CANadian Weather Amateur Radio Network is a group of amateur radio operators that are trained by Environment Canada to recognize severe weather features and report them back to the weather desk. These reports are then used to assist in generating severe thunderstorm & tornado warnings to the general public. If you are interested in participating, the schedule is HERE.


Tornado Outbreak - March. 12 2006 - A large outbreak of tornadoes swept across 5 states with preliminary reports of possibly over 100 tornadoes touching down. One storm tracked from Kansas all the way to Indiana, spawning tornadoes along the way. More info and RADAR images HERE.

Springfield Supercell

Missouri Supercells

Storms Of 2005 DVD - March. 08 2006 - Footage of the May 12th, 2005 tornadoes have been donated to the "Storms of 2005" DVD project. It is a compilation DVD created by various storm chasers and all profits are being donated to charity to help storm victims across the U.S. To order the DVD click HERE. Storms Of 2005 DVD

Bus Crashes Into Building - Jan. 27 2006 - Toronto - Icy roads may have contributed to an accident that caused two passenger busses to collide, sending one of them crashing into Cherry Beach Sound, a music recording studio. A hazmat team was on the scene containing the diesel fuel spill and there was some concern that the building might collapse once the bus was towed out.

The strange thing is that I actually used to work at this studio!!

Bus Crash

York University - Jan. 26 2006 - I will be speaking at the next meeting of the York University Atmospheric Sciences Club. I'll be speaking about this past year's hyperactive storm season, sharing stories and showing video highlights.

Charity Event - Jan. 25 2006 - Longo's Supermarket 808 York Mills Road, Toronto - "Longo's Adventures In Giving" - Myself and other local celebrities including actors, chefs, athletes, media and entertainers will be helping to raise money for the Longo’s Family Charitable Foundation and celebrate 50 years of business in the GTA. Longo's

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




















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