2012 Archive News/Blog & Recent Events - George Kourounis

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Dec. 31 2012 - Goodbye 2012
It has been a very busy year for me with plenty of travel to places such as India, the Arctic, Yellowstone and of course, plenty of storms to chase including tornadoes in the spring plus Superstorm Sandy in New York.
I'm very grateful for all the opportunities I've been given this past year and all the interesting people I've met. It has been a wild ride and there's no end in sight. 2013 is going to be another epic year with plenty of new trips and expeditions, more TV appearances and lots of speaking engagements.
Today, I took a quick trip over to meet up with Mark Robinson at The Weather Network with visiting Regina storm chaser Greg Johnson and his son Cooper. We had some great fun checking out their green screen studio where the on-air personalities present the forecasts.
Happy New Year everyone. I hope yours is prosperous and filled with adventure.
Watch for the latest winter road trip to British Columbia starting in a few days!!

The Weather Network

Dec. 23 2012 - Worst Apocalypse Ever! & Upcoming Trip
Well, we survived the Mayan 2012 doomsday apocalypse predictions, just like every single prediction of the end of the world ever dreamed up.
Time to move on... The new year is fast approaching and that can only mean one thing - Another epic winter road trip!! Yep, that's right. Just like last year, Weather Network meteorologist, Mark Robinson and I will be hitting the road and heading west. This year, we're not going to go as far as the Arctic Ocean like we did last year. This time we'll be focusing more on the avalanche control team in Kootenay Pass, near Nelson, B.C.
Mountains, snow, explosives and helicopters... What's not to like? We'll be filming news segments and a feature program for The Weather Network, so watch for us in the new year with reports from across Canada. As always, we'll need the weather to cooperate... Fingers are crossed.
Over the holidays, I'll be in Quebec with family, then on January 2nd, we put the pedal to the metal.

B.C. Avalanche Road Trip

Dec. 20 2012 - Storm Assist Charity DVD
Some of my Rago, Kansas tornado video from May 19th is featured on the 2012 Storm Assist charity DVD. This video project was put together by storm chasers who want to give back. The proceeds from the DVD sales go to communities affected by tornado disasters.
To order the video or to learn more, go to the Storm Assist website.

Storm Assist Charity DVD

Dec. 17 2012 - CTV National News
I recently stopped by at CTV News headquarters to talk about my top 3 natural disaster threats for 2013. It was tough to trip the list down to 3, but here are the ones I chose and why:
1) Istanbul, Turkey. The Threat: Earthquake. The seismic activity along the North Anatolian Fault has been working its way towards the city of Istanbul with frightening predictability. The devastating earthquake in Izmit in 1999 was  a foreshadowing of what could be in store for the 12 million residents of Istanbul. A major quake, capable of destroying 50,000 buildings is likely within the next 30 years, which on a geological time scale is a blink of an eye. It could happen tomorrow with no warning at all.
2) New Orleans, Louisiana - The Threat: Hurricanes. Believe it or not, New Orleans was spared the brunt of Hurricane Katrina's wrath. The weaker, right side of the storm passed over the city as it weakened from a category 5 hurricane, down to a 3 just before landfall. Had the storm kept its strength and shifted as little as 50 miles west, the results would have been many times worse. Even this past year, category one storm Isaac, flooded out some areas worse than Katrina when it stalled over southern Louisiana. With increasing ocean water temperatures, these storms have more fuel to become monster hurricanes and once one of them enters the Gulf of Mexico, it will have to make landfall somewhere. Rebuilding a city that is mostly below sea level and positioned between the sea, a lake, and Mississippi River may have been a waste of effort. Only time will tell.
3) Naples, Italy - The Threat: Mount Vesuvius. The Italian government is paying families to move away from the red zone around Mount Vesuvius because they know that some day, the mountain will come back to life and have a similar eruption to what happened in 79 A.D. The grim reminders of what this volcano is capable of can be found only a few miles away at the once-buried city of Pompeii. The last time Vesuvius erupted was in 1944 and it tends to have large, explosive eruptions.  Naples is the most densely populated volcanic region in the world.
Watch the video of the interview here.

CTV News

Dec. 01 2012 - Angry Planet now on MAV TV
I would like to welcome MAV TV to the Angry Planet family. The U.S. television network is the newest broadcaster to carry my Angry Planet TV series.
It is great to have another outlet in the U.S. that carries the show. So many americans have told me that they wished that they could see the show, but were having difficulty finding it. This should help by getting the show into even more households.
Welcome aboard.


Angry Planet on MAV TV

Nov. 30 2012 - Mini Speaking Tour
It's been a busy week. I've been giving several talks at Ontario high schools. On Wednesday I was in Kingston at Frontenac Secondary School, then yesterday I was at Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute. I always have a great time when I do school visits and I have many more planned.
Tonight I'll be at The Ontario Science Centre in Toronto as part of a program called Science Cafe which they put on during their Sci-Fri events. Myself and Natalie Panek, a space engineer will be talking about innovation for extreme situations. This is going to be fun.

Ontario Science Centre - Sci-Fri

Nov. 23 2012 - Maclean's Magazine
Maclean's Magazine just released a special edition all about extreme weather and I make a few appearances in it.
There is a 2-page photo of me at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, during Hurricane Noel, taken just as a huge rogue wave came crashing over the rocks and came slamming down on top of me and my truck. It's never a good thing when you have to look straight up to see the wave that's about to smack you!. The shot (you can see it here) was taken by my good friend, National Geographic photographer Mike Theiss.
I'm also interviewed in the magazine about my experience with a sand storm in the fabled city of Timbuktu, on the edge of the Sahara Desert.
The Extreme Weather issue is on news stands now.

Maclean's Magazine - Extreme Weather Special Edition

Nov. 18 2012 - Banff, Alberta
I'm so glad I decided to remain in Banff for a couple of days after the science conference. The weather here has been very good and I've had plenty of photographic opportunities. This morning after I left my hotel, I was greeted by a pair of elk, grazing along the side of the road. Around here, this is a common sight.
The light in the mountains has been very nice today as well. beams of sunlight shining through breaks in the clouds have been illuminating the sides of several of the mountains in the area, making for a spectacular scene.
Thank you so much to all the attendees and organizers of the Alberta Teachers Association Science Conference. It was a real blast. I had so much fun spending time with everybody. Speaking to the audience, meeting the teachers, going to some of the other presentations, going for a few rounds on the climbing wall, and the wonderful dinners. Wow, the food is good here. It has been an absolute pleasure.
Tomorrow, I drive back to Calgary, then fly back to Toronto. My stay here has been brief, but very memorable. i hope to be back soon, and as a matter of fact, it looks like I might be in the area again in the not too distant future...
I'll have a full Banff page set up soon with many more photos. For now, enjoy these.

Banff National Park

Banff National Park

Nov. 15 2012 - Banff National Park, Alberta
Yesterday I flew to Calgary and then drove to beautiful Banff National park , then I gave a keynote address this morning at the 2012 Conference for Alberta Teacher's Association Science Council.
What an amazing place. The natural beauty is stunning, with steep snow-capped mountains and rugged terrain.
The conference has been a great success. My talk this morning was very well received and the feedback from the delegates has been overwhelming. Tonight there is a banquet dinner and then tomorrow, the closing speaker will be none other than Bill Nye "The Science Guy". I'm really looking forward to that.
I've arranged to remain in Banff for a couple of days after the conference, so I'll be out and about, taking photos, so expect some more updates to come...

Cutting Edge Science

Banff National Park

Nov. 07 2012 - Gatineau, Quebec - RCGS Dinner
The dinner for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society was a great success. It was held in the grand hall of the Museum of Civization, across the river river from the parliament buildings and was a perfect venue for this event, which had over 300 attendees.
There was great food, an outstanding silent auction, awards presentations and a keynote talk by Phil Currie, a world leader in paleontology, who works in Alberta and Mongolia, digging for dinosaur fossils.
The event was attended by several ambassadors, the admiral in command of the Canadian Navy and other dignitaries. A real who's who.
I had the great pleasure of spending some time with actor/comedian Dan Aykroyd, who not only is interested in exploration, we have a unique commonality. We've both been the master of ceremonies at the Explorers Club annual dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
I also got to spend time with survival expert and fellow OLN TV show star, "Survivorman" Les Stroud.
What a great evening and in total, the Society was able to raise over $100,000.
I can't wait for next year's dinner.

Dan Aykroyd

Survivorman - Les Stroud

Nov. 06 2012 - Ottawa, Ontario
I'm on my way to Ottawa for a special occasion. I have been elected to the College of Fellows for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. It is a great honour to be included as a member of this fine group whose mandate is "To make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world"
I have always been a big supported of geographical education and through my explorations I hope to continue to show people the most amazing places on Earth.
There is a gala dinner tomorrow night which promises to be a lot of fun.

Royal Canadian Geographical Society

Nov. 02 2012 - Hurricane Sandy - Update
It's been a few days since Hurricane Sandy struck and the full extent of the damage is now getting clearer. Large portions of the shoreline in New Jersey and New York have been destroyed. Millions are still without power and lower Manhattan is still a mess. The New York subway system flooded out in what has become the worst disaster in New York transit history.
I hope for a speedy recovery to all of those affected by this historic storm. Progress is being made, albeit slowly. I have returned to Toronto now and am in the process of editing photos.

Hurricane Sandy

Oct. 29 2012 - Hurricane Sandy - Long Island, New York
We survived Hurricane Sandy and are safe & sound. Today was a wild ride on Long Island with some very dangerous conditions. I will give full updates when I can. For now here is a video clip from what we experienced.
Right now, I don't know the full extent of the damage caused by the storm, but I suspect that it will be as bad as I had feared it would be.

Hurricane Sandy

Oct. 27 2012 - Hurricane Sandy is Coming...
I've been so busy lately that I have not had time to comment on the storm that's been churning up the Atlantic. Hurricane Sandy plowed through Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas and is now on track to impact the eastern seaboard of the U.S. in the middle-Atlantic region.
It is expected to merge with a trough coming across North America and the two systems will combine, strengthening it into what the media has nicknamed "Frankenstorm". Partly because it is a hybrid of several weather systems and it will be hitting around Halloween.
I just did several interviews with CTV news and CP24 news network about the storm and tomorrow I depart, with land fall expected late Monday into Tuesday.
It is a huge storm system and its effects will be felt across a wide area with power outages, heavy rain, possibly snow at higher elevations and plenty of coastal flooding.
I will be live tweeting during the storm, so check out my feed (see link at top of page)

Hurricane Sandy

Oct. 23 2012 - Seneca College
Today was a lot of fun. I gave a keynote talk at the Seneca College Leadership Institute event in Toronto. The students were amazing and even after I got off stage, it still took over 90 minutes before I was finished answering all of their questions.
There were students from several different campuses from across the great Toronto area, so the turnout was really good. Many thanks go out to the organizers of todays event and also to Drew Dudley from Nuance Leadership for bringing it all together.

Seneca College Leadership Institute

Oct. 21 2012 - OAGEE Conference
I just got back to Toronto after spending the past 2 days at the fall 2012 OAGEE Conference (Ontario Association for Geographic and Environmental Education) in Kingston, Ontario.
It is mainly made up of geography teachers from around the province and I gave a presentation to them as well as sharing a display table with Mark Robinson from The Weather Network. We both often find ourselves in classrooms, talking about our adventures with students and this turned out to be a great event, with many opportunities to exchange ideas with the teachers.

OAGEE Conference

Oct. 09 2012 - New History Channel TV Special
This Thursday, Oct. 11th at 9:00 eastern is the broadcast premiere of the latest television project I'm involved in, a 2 hour special on The History Channel (U.S.) that looks into how forces of nature have sculpted human evolution.
Watch for me on: "How The Earth Made Man"
It is a mystery 4.5 billion years in the making: How has our planet transformed, and why? New clues are being discovered not in volcanoes or canyons, but inside each of us. From a case of hiccups to the sensation of deja vu, to how we throw a football. Quirks of the human body and mind all trace back to enormous transformations on Earth, millions and even billions of years in the past. Inside us are the keys to asteroid impacts, global mass extinctions, and shifting continents...Ultimately revealing the epic story of Earth's past--and our own.

History Channel

How The Earth Made Man

Sept. 22 2012 - TEDx Milton
I had a great time at TEDX Milton. It was their first TEDx event for the city, and it went extremely smoothly. The lineup of speakers was diverse, knowledgeable, and each one brought their own perspective to the overall theme of "Outlier".
It was an honor to headline the event and I want to extend my thanks and gratitude to the volunteers who made it all possible. It was good to see some old friends and make some new ones as well.

TEDx Milton

Sept. 21 2012 - TEDx Milton
Tomorrow, I will be speaking at TEDx Milton. It is a great honour to be invited to speak at another TEDX event, they are always so interesting, with a great lineup of speakers, all from different backgrounds. Each presenter is given no more than 18 minutes to talk about a central theme. The theme for this inaugural event for the city of Milton is "Outlier"
Outlier - Something or someone that lies outside the main body or group that it is a part of.
TEDx Milton
TEDx was created in the spirit of TED's mission, "ideas worth spreading." The program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.
At TEDx events, a screening of TEDTalks videos -- or a combination of live presenters and TEDTalks videos -- sparks deep conversation and connections. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.

TEDx Milton

TEDx Milton

Sept. 17 2012 - Weatherbrains Talk Show
Tonight I will be the guest on the Weatherbrains talk show. Of course, we'll be discussing everything weather, and I'll be chatting about many of my extreme adventures from around the world. Tune in if you can.
Monday, Sept. 17th at 8:30 PM Central (9:30 Eastern)


Sept. 03 2012 - Guwahati, India.
Thank you so much to everyone at the Indian Institute of Technology for giving me the rock star treatment during my time here in India. I've been having a great time and it is impressive to think that the Techniche 2012 event was completely organized by the students. They arranged to speakers, the events, the corporate sponsors... Everything!
The reaction to my lectures was nothing less than amazing. AT one point, after one of my talks, I literally had to be led out through the crowd as whisked away in an awaiting car. It was crazy, but also a great honour to be so well received like that.
Unfortunately, my time here is limited and I have to head back to Canada.
I don't know when I'll be back in India next, it seems like about every 2 years I manage to make it there, I look forward to returning and meeting old friends and making more, new ones.
You can click on any of the pictures to the right to see more photos from the trip.

Guwahati, India

Guwahati, India

Aug. 28 2012 - Off to India.
In the morning, I begin my journey to India to speak at the Techniche 2012 event in Guwahati. This will not be a long trip, just in and out rather quickly and as much as I'm looking forward to going back to India, I need to get back to North America. We are at the peak of hurricane season and I need to be here for any new landfalling storm.
As a matter of fact, as I'm writing this, hurricane Isaac is making landfall as a category 1 storm near New Orleans Louisiana. The storm has been struggling to get organized as it cross the Gulf of Mexico and even though it is only a weak hurricane, it is a large, slow moving storm, so a LOT of rain will fall and the entire region will be subjected to hurricane conditions for an extended period of time.
I hate missing any hurricane, but I can't be in two places at once.
On my way to the airport in the morning, I will be stopping in at CTV National News Network for a live in-studio interview at 9:00 regarding Isaac.


Aug. 25 2012 - Tropical Cyclones Across the Globe
There are currently 4 tropical cyclones prowling the Earth's oceans today.
Typhoon Tembin slammed Taiwan a few days ago and was a tough one to predict with fluctuations in intensity and path.
Typhoon Bolaven is currently a dangerous category 4 storm and is on track to hit Okinawa, Japan, then head towards North Korea. This could be disastrous, given how poor North Korea is and the quality of the infrastructure there.
Tropical Storm Joyce in the Atlantic has weakened to a depression and is no threat to land.
Tropical Storm Isaac has just struck Haiti, and is headed for Cuba. It will eventually affect the United States, probably as a hurricane, but there is much uncertainty as to how well the storm will recover in the Gulf of Mexico once it crossed the mountains of Cuba.
Because I have to fly off to India on Wednesday, I cannot intercept hurricane Isaac, but I will be following its progress very closely.


Aug. 17 2012 - Ojibway Sweat Lodge experience
Last night I joined fellow adventurer, Peter Klose at an authentic Ojibway Sweat Lodge ceremony. It was an amazing, intense experience.
The lodge itself was built yesterday from tree branches and blankets and was a low dome, similar to a turtle shell shape and fit about 2 dozen of us in there. Rocks were heated in a fire until they were glowing orange and placed in a central pit, and represented our ancestors.
Inside, it was pitch black and cedar infused water was poured on the hot rocks to create intense sauna conditions. The elder from Manitoba, Clem Courchene, presided over the ceremony which included singing, drumming, stories and expressions of thanks. The ceremonial pipe and berries were passed around as the lodge got hotter and hotter.
The heat, combined with the music and cedar scents created an overwhelming sensory overload that allowed your mind to lose its everyday distractions and wander to new places.
The overall feeling was respectful, yet very light-hearted and fun with plenty of joking around which only enhanced the sense of community.
I won't go into too many details because I think its best that, if you want to know more, you should experience it for yourself, not knowing exactly what to expect.
I had a wonderful time, and can't remember when I sweated that much! My finger tips were shrivelled up like prunes from the sweat!
Many thanks to everyone there who participated. It was an outstanding personal experience and a glimpse into a deep heritage and culture that most don't get the privilege of experiencing.

Aug. 11 2012 - Updates
There's plenty going on right now, here's the re-cap.
Many thanks to the good folks at Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Clarington for having me come out and give a talk to the kids. They were great and we all had fun. These kids are without proper mentors, so it was an honour to visit with them.
VIDEOS!! - I'm in the middle of uploading many wild new videos to YouTube. I have recently secured permission to upload scenes from the Angry Planet TV series and many are already online now! Go to my channel and subscribe to get the latest updates when new videos are added. There are dozens more that I will be preparing in the coming weeks, so if you want to see some of the most extreme adventure travel videos, check it out.
Subscribe to the YouTube Channel
NEWS!! - I'm heading back to Incredible India! At the end of August, I'll be flying to the city of Guwahati to speak at Techniche 2012, a large festival of technology that is put on at the India Institute of Technology. It should be an amazing event, and the lineup of other speakers is also outstanding.
Learn more about Techniche 2012

Techniche 2012 - Guwahati, India

July 26 2012 - Lightning strikes the CN Tower
Proof that lightning can strike the same place twice! It is almost 4:30 AM and I just got back from shooting an intense lightning storm that passed over the city of Toronto and since the CN Tower is so tall compared to all the other buildings, it gets struck quite often. As a matter of fact, I saw it get hit at least 7 times tonight!
A large lightning bolt can be up to 100 million volts and 30,000 amps of power that last for only a fraction of a second, is about as wide as a finger and can burn 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun. The tower is designed and built to take this punishment and it has been struck hundreds of times over the years with no ill effects.


July 24 2012 - Toronto Lightning
Last night, several storms surrounded the greater Toronto area, with one passing just east and another passing just west of the downtown core. I brought my camera down to one of the parks along the banks of Lake Ontario and managed to capture a few cloud to ground lightning bolts that hit in the city, but managed to miss the CN Tower. Proof that lightning does not always strike the tallest object around. there were several reports of tornadoes from eastern Ontario that have yet to be verified by Environment Canada.

Toronto Lightning

July 06 2012 - Internet Meme
Imagine my surprise when I was surfing the internet the other day and came across a photo meme that looked oddly familiar. It was using one of my forest fire photos from Thunder Bay, Ontario that was taken a few years ago. We were flying in a helicopter with the Ministry of Natural Resources, filming a controlled burn operation for the Angry Planet TV series. It was a spectacular event and the original photos from that day can be found HERE.
I guess I should be flattered.

Internet Meme

June 24 2012 - Back Home
Well, I finally made it back to Toronto . This past road trip was an unbelievable 54 days and over 35,000 k (almost 22,000 miles!)
It brought me across 19 states to witness tornadoes, huge hail, lightning, some incredible storms and even a forest fire, the transit of Venus, an eclipse, and a volcano just for good measure. As much as I love to travel, it certainly is nice to be back home,, seeing my wife again and sleeping in my own bed.
Now, where should I go next?
The full, day by day storm chase log with plenty of pictures can be seen here.
Than you so much to everyone at Cloud 9 Tours. It has been another epic year, and extra thanks to all the tour guests who were brave enough to ride along with us.

Storm Chase 2012

June 21 2012 - Yellowstone Volcano, Wyoming
I just spent 2 days exploring and photographing Yellowstone volcano in Wyoming. Yellowstone National Park is an amazing place filled with steam vents, hot springs, fumaroles and geysers like Old Faithful.
The ancient volcanic caldera is huge and is considered to be a "supervolcano" which has had catastrophic eruptions, the latest was about 650,000 years ago. Yes, it could erupt again in our lifetime, although it is not likely. If it did, life as we know it now would change dramatically.
Currently, the park is one of the photogenic spots imaginable. The colors are incredible, especially the Grand Prismatic Spring which is the third largest hot spring in the world and has such an amazing spectrum of colors! It is a must see.
The park is also home to a wide variety of wildlife. I spotted elk, coyote, herds of bison roaming about and several grizzly bears. Some parts of the park were off limits due to high levels of bear activity.
For years I've wanted to visit this place and I finally made the decision to just take a few extra days at the end of my storm chase trip and go.
It was totally worth it.



June 19 2012 - Colorado Forest Fires
Heat waves and drought have been plagueing parts of Colorado and the inevitable result is a series of forest fires. I encountered one of them, just west of Fort Collins where the smoke plume was blotting out the sun.
I tried to get closer, but the military had a roadblock in place and I couldn't get any closer. It has been a devastating fire season in the U.S. and the summer has not even started yet

Colorado Forest Fires

May 20 2012 - Annular Solar Eclipse
The timing worked out well that today was not a chase day. The fair weather allowed us to witness something I've never seen before. An annular eclipse of the sun. Annular eclipses are different from total ones because the moon is not quite close enough to Earth to appear big enough to completely cover the sun.
The best part was that it coincided with sunset, which made for some great photographic opportunities just outside of Melrose, New Mexico.
It's now got me thinking about chasing eclipses as well as storms.

Annular Eclipse

May 19 2012 - Amazing Tornado near Rago, Kansas!
What an amazing day. We witnessed 6 tornadoes in total, but the best one by far crossed the road directly in front of us near the small town of Rago, Kansas. It was pure white all the way to the ground with a very large, brown debris cloud.
It was the loudest tornado I've ever hear too. They don't really sound like a freight train (unless one is tearing your house apart and you are lucky enough to be in the basement), they sound more like a loud waterfall. This one was spectacular and you can see more photo and a video clip here.

Tornado - Rago, Kansas

May 16 2012 - New Mexico - Carlsbad Caverns & White Sands
The past couple of days, I've been in New Mexico, checking out some of the natural wonders there, and there are plenty of them.
Two of my favorites are Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands national Monument.
I love caves and this was my second time going to Carlsbad. It is awesome! The place is huge and houses some of the most breathtaking cave formations.
This was my first time visiting White Sands, but it won't be my last. Pristine white gypsum sand dunes as far as the eye can see make for a landscape that looks like it belongs in the Sahara. A group of us split up and we each went out into the dunes, looking for places to photograph the sunset

Carlsbad Caverns

White Sands

May - June - Storm Chase 2012 Daily Blog Page
A special, daily blog page can be found here which chronicles each storm chase day from the beginning of May, through mid-June. You will find photos, video links and stories from the road as I travel across the "Tornado Alley" region of the U.S. hunting down severe weather.
All the latest updates can be found there.
Tornado Chase 2012 - George Kourounis

April. 15 2012 - Tornado Outbreak Strikes the U.S.
Yesterday, a much anticipated and well-forecasted tornado outbreak struck the central United States. Parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa were raked by tornadoes throughout the day and well into the night. Preliminary reports of 122 tornadoes still need to be confirmed, but regardless, this was an extremely notable outbreak.
The Storm Prediction Center had issued a rare "High Risk" outlook, and several PDS tornado watches (Particularly Dangerous Situation) were in effect across the region. The mainstream media did a good job of warning people in advance of the tornadoes and it seems that most people were able to get to a safe, sheltered spot.
Even with so many tornado reports, the death toll currently stands at 5. Tragic: yes, but that is a very small number compared to the incredible number of tornadoes that could have potentially hit major cities. Wichita had a very close call when a large tornado grazed the southern suburbs after dark. That could have easily been a disaster had the tornado passed just a few miles to the north instead.
As for me, I'm preparing for my own tornado chase. This year, as usual, I will be guiding storm chasing adventure trips for Cloud 9 Tours. The chase begins the first weekend in May and will continue until mid-June. I will post a special tornado chase blog page with daily updates from the chase.

Storm Reports - April 14 2012

March. 26 2012 - Upcoming Appearances
This coming week, I have several public appearances scheduled.
Thursday, March 29th I will be appearing as past of Sustainability Week at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario.
Friday, March 30th I will be giving the keynote address at a fund raiser for Habitat for Humanity at the Elora Community Centre. If you live in the area and want to support a worthy cause, please come out. I'd love to see you there.
A special shout out today for fellow Canadian explorer, James Cameron who just completed the very first ever solo manned submarine dive to the very bottom of the Mariana Trench. The last time anybody was down there was back in 1960 and nobody has ever been there alone before.
The deepest spot, the Challenger Deep, is bout 36,000 feet down and the water pressure is about 16,000 pounds per square inch. He was planning on taking samples of soil and fauna as well as filming the entire journey on numerous 3D cameras, so I can't wait to see the result of this amazing, historical expedition.
It was not only a major feat of exploration, but also a marvel of engineering.
Learn more about the science behind it all here at the DEEPSEA CHALLENGE website.
Congratulations James.

Conestoga College

Habitat For Humanity

March. 24 2012 - Some Science Fun
The other day, I decided to perform a little extreme cooking experiment. Cooking bacon with thermite!
Thermite is powdered mixture of ferrous oxide and aluminum and when it is ignited, burns at well over 4000 degrees F. Bacon + thermite + awesome! Why?... Why not?
Watch the video

Cooking Bacon with Thermite

March. 20 2012 - Stormhunters to air on The Weather Network
The epic Canadian winter road trip is about to air on The Weather Network. The east coast episode was broadcast last month and the west coast episode is set to air on March 23rd. The Arctic leg of the journey will be aired shortly after that. Tune in to The Weather Network, they will be promoting these shows heavily.
It was great fun making these Stormhunters shows and I'm glad that they are being broadcast so quickly. It looks like there will be several more episodes made later this year. I don't know how many of them I'll be involved in, but we shall see!

Stormhunters on The Weather Network

March. 19 2012 - Cracked.com
Photos from my traverse of the Boiling Lake on the island of Dominica have made their way onto the very funny website Cracked.com. The article is entitled The 5 Most Spectacular Landscapes on Earth (That Murder You). There is a certain amount of truth to this title. It is a spectacular place, but it is also very dangerous and a lot of caution needs to be exercised there.

The 5 Most Spectacular Landscapes on Earth (That Murder You)

March. 12 2012 - Explorers Club Membership Cards
One of my photographs has been chosen to grace the new membership cards for the Explorers Club. Now, every top explorer in the world will have one of my photos in their wallet. Very cool.
The photo itself was taken a few years ago while on a dog sledding expedition on Baffin Island in northern Canada. It features our campsite on a frozen fjord with the northern lights illuminating the mountains, snow and sleeping dogs with an eerie green glow.

Explorers Club Membership Card

March. 08 2012 - TEDx Nipissing University
Today I had the great privilege to be one of the speakers at yet another TEDx event. TEDx Nipissing U was an all day event in Bracebridge, Ontario with the theme of "What's Possible". The lineup of speakers was extraordinary and the entire event was steamed live on the web. This was my third time speaking at a TEDx event and without exception, they have all been inspiring and informative.
One of my highlights from the day was meeting Keanan White. His 9th birthday was coming up and he is a super-fan of Angry Planet and a general weather nut, so his mom brought him down to meet me in person. What makes this so special is that Keanan had a heart transplant at only 8 days old. He's been through operations, complications and so much more than any kid really deserves to endure. We spent the whole afternoon together, chatting, exchanging gifts taking pictures together and I even gave him a personalized tour of my storm chasing vehicle.
Perhaps I need to take him on a tornado chase with me...

TEDx Nipissing University1

Hanging out with Keanan White

Feb. 26 2012 - Edmonton, Alberta - On my way home
Wow, so much has happened in the past month, I don't know where to begin. We made it to Tuktoyaktuk along the menacing Dempster Highway and the world's longest ice road... Mission accomplished. Along the way, we saw some amazing places and sights, such as some incredible displays of northern lights! I will be updating this site with plenty of photos when I get back home, but for now I have posted many pictures on my Facebook page:
Here is the photo album

Arctic RoadTrip Facebook Photo Album

Feb. 24 2012 - Liard Hot Springs, British Columbia
Well, as luck would have it, the Dempster highway was closed again, but we did manage to get through without too much of a delay. We drove until we hit total whiteout conditions then turned back, only to discover that we had just missed the re-opening by a few minutes. So we pulled a U-turn and dashed back to Eagle Plains for the night, then the skies cleared once again for the second half of the Dempster.
It took a couple of more days of driving to finally get south enough to actually set foot in British Columbia again so we decided to celebrate by taking a dip in the amazing Liard Hot Springs. This place sits somewhat hidden along the Alaska Highway but is a real treasure. The water temperature goes from nice and warm at one end of the pool to scalding hot at the other. It was a brief, but welcome moment of relaxation for a couple of very weary travelers.

6Liard Hot Springs

Feb. 20 2012 - Inuvik, Northwest Territories
After backtracking down the ice road, we stayed in Inuvik for a few days were I filmed a sequence with Mark enjoying the winter weather by taking a dog sled team out into the woods. It was great day with plenty of sunshine and these dogs were eager and ready to run.
We're hoping that we don't run into the same issue with the Dempster Highway being closed as we continue south, but around here, the weather can change dramatically in an instant.

Dog Sledding, Inuvik6

Feb. 18 2012 - Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories
We made it!!
Our grand, final destination of Tuktoyaktuk. This little, mainly Inuit village is the farthest north in Canada that you can drive to. About 900 or so people live here and thanks to the long winters and the ice road, it is accessible for many months of the year without need for a plane or boat.
We were treated to a fantastic sunset which seemed to go on and on forever, then after dark there were several rounds of amazing northern lights. We were so far north (69° 26' N) that we often had to look south the see them.
After months of planning and a few weeks of driving, it was so amazing to finally set foot here. What an adventure this has been. I've lived in Canada my whole life but there is just so much to see and do in this diverse, vast country.
Now comes the somewhat anti-climactic part... Driving back home to Toronto.

Sunset - Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories

Northern Lights - Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories

Feb. 18 2012 - On the Ice Road Between Inuvik & Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories
If you've ever seen the show "Ice Road Truckers" you already know that these winter only roads can be a difficult and sometimes dangerous obstacle. We took on one of the longest in the world and it was a blast.
It's about 189 km from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk and the ice "highway" begins at a boat launch in Inuvik on the Mackenzie River. From there we drove north on the ice, passing frozen-in boats and riders on snowmobiles. The road itself was quite good and well maintained and a lot wider than I had anticipated.
As we got closer and closer to Tuk, we could see on the GPS map that we were getting closer to the river delta and the Arctic Ocean itself.
Eventually, we passed a tiny sign stuck in the snowbank that demarked our arrival on the Beaufort Sea. From here on in, we were an ocean going vessel!

Ice Road - NWT

Driving on the Arctic Ocean

Feb. 17 2012 - At the Arctic Circle
The road was finally cleared and after about 36 hours of waiting at Eagle Plains, we were finally able to continue north on The Dempster Highway. This road is one of only a couple of places where you can drive across the Arctic Circle, so of course we just had to stop for a photo opportunity.
The epic scenery continued all day and with the sun staying low in the sky at this time of year, we were treated to some great light conditions that were a photographers delight. I would love to come back here in the summer to see what this place looks like without all the snow cover. I'm sure it would be just as beautiful.
Eventually, we crossed into the Northwest Territories and made it to Inuvik for the night.
Tomorrow we take on the final leg of the northward journey. The ice road.

Arctic Circle

The Dempster Highway

Feb. 16 2012 - Eagle Plains, Yukon on the Dempster Highway
Now, things have started to get really interesting. We made it halfway down the Dempster Highway to an outpost called Eagle Plains. The scenery has been stunning with plenty of snow covered mountains, but we've run into a problem.
The highway is closed and impassable due to low visibility and blowing, drifting snow. We thought we could make it through before they shut it down, but we got turned back at the Arctic Circle. It could be days before it re-opens again. Now we play the waiting game.
The good news is that we were treated to another brilliant night of northern lights. What a treat. It's worth braving the cold to be out there photographing such an amazing display.
Hopefully, we'll be able to get back on the road in the morning and continue on the second half of the Dempster. The skies are clear now, all we're waiting for is for the road crews to resume work clearing the road of the giant snow drifts.

The Dempster Highway... Closed.

Northern Lights at Eagle Plains

Feb. 14 2012 - Dawson City, Yukon
What a night in Dawson City! The best northern lights display I've ever seen.
We pulled into town and grabbed dinner. Mark wasn't feeling so good, so he was about to turn in for the night when we noticed the aurora borealis starting up. Suddenly, he felt a lot better as we grabbed our cameras and drove just outside of town onto the frozen river. The sky was lit up like crazy with rapidly dancing greens and purples. Even the locals said that it was the best they've seen this year.
Tomorrow, we start to tackle the notorious Dempster Highway. It's a 2 day drive on a snow covered dirt road that crosses the Arctic Circle to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. Bad weather is the norm and it is often closed because of it.

6Northern Lights - Dawson City, Yukon

Feb. 11 2012 - Hyder, Alaska
It took a couple of days of driving, but we made it up to Stewart, B.C. where we've been filming with another avalanche control team. Stewart is not very big, but the road into town goes through Bear Pass, which is very prone to big avalanches in the winter. We were slated to go up with the team to use explosives to bring down an overhanging cornice of snow that was threatening to come down on its own, but the weather did not cooperate.
The mountain top became shrouded in clouds and we couldn't get the helicopter up there.
Stewart is right along the border with Alaska, so we couldn't resist briefly driving over to visit the U.S. side.

6Hyder, Alaska

Feb. 07 2012 - Vancouver, British Columbia
Well we made it all the way across Canada!. I'm currently in Vancouver and so much has happened over the past week that it's tough to remember it all.
We did a lot of filming with avalanche control teams. First in Rogers Pass, B.C. where Parks Canada team up with the military to protect the Trans-Canada highway from avalanches by intentionally triggering them with a 105 mm howitzer! They target the mountainsides when the snowpack becomes unstable to bring down the snow in a series of small, manmade slides.
After that, we went to Kootenay pass where the Dept. of Transportation avalanche crews use a combination of techniques including helicopter bombing and several Gas-X units which are permanent devices on the mountainside that create shockwaves by igniting propane and oxygen.
Right now we're re-grouping in Vancouver, getting the car serviced and organizing all the footage we shot. Soon, we start the epic drive up to the Arctic! This grand adventure will be airing on The Weather Network starting at the end of February.

105 mm Howitzer for Avalanche Control - Rogers Pass

Kootenay Pass Taxi

Feb. 03 2012 - Vernon, British Columbia
Today was interesting. We were filming at the "cold sauna" at Sparkling Hill Resort, a very posh, high end retreat overlooking Lake Okanagan.
The chamber is set at -110 degrees Celsius! (-166F) That's colder that the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth! We spent 3 minutes in there wearing bathing suits.
It was... refreshing.
It is said to have therapeutic uses but we were more interested in the extreme cold aspect of being in there. By contrast, the coldest temperature ever recorded on the planet was at Vostok, Antarctica at -89.4C (-129F)
Later that evening, we went into one of the regular, hot saunas that was set to 90 degrees Celsius (194 degrees F), giving us a total temperature swing for the day of 200 degrees (392 F) !


Cold Sauna -110 degrees Celsius! (-166F)

Cold Sauna -110 degrees Celsius! (-166F)

Jan. 30 2012 - Regina, Saskatchewan
It was a long drive across northern Ontario and Manitoba, but the first leg of the trip is behind us. Today we teamed up with Greg Johnson, a local storm chaser to do a couple of presentations in the IMAX theatre at the Saskatchewan Science Centre. One in the afternoon that was for local schools (and was also simulcast via the web to hundreds of other schools across the province) and one in the evening for the general public.
Greg spoke about his tornado chases, Mark talked about hurricane intercepts and I spoke about climbing erupting volcanoes.The turnout was great and we had a great time.
Click the photo to view the school presentation video stream.

6Blown Away - An Evening With Storm Chasers

Jan. 25 2012 - Last Minute Preparations for the Epic Road Trip
Tomorrow is the day I depart for western leg of the month long, "Canada: Coast to Coast to Coast Road Trip". It's not really sinking in how much distance there is to cover across this insanely huge country.
The purpose of this trip is to film material for a brand new series of shows for The Weather Network entitled "Stormhunters". Meteorologist Mark Robinson and myself will be seeking out the harshest of winter weather during this trip which will be taking us along a route that will roughly go from Toronto - Thunder Bay - Winnipeg - Regina - Calgary - Banff - Revelstoke - Vancouver - Whitehorse - Dawson - Inuvik - Tuktoyaktuk.
The last portion heading north will be driven on one of the well known ice roads as seen on "Ice Road Truckers" along the Mackenzie River and the actual Arctic Ocean.
My vehicle has been prepared with new snow tires, a block heater, a battery warmer, new radiator and few other modifications that should help us deal with the cold weather in remote locations.
Read more about the journey here.
I'll be posting updates here when I can, but for more current updates, be sure to follow my Twitter feed & Facebook page.
Also, on Monday the 30th, we'll be appearing with Regina storm chaser Greg Johnson at the IMAX theatre at the Saskatchewan Science Centre for a special live presentation - "Blown Away, an evening with storm chasers". This is a FREE event so if you are near Regina, come check it out.

Canada Coast to Coast to Coast

Jan. 22 2012 - Niagara Falls
Today I was in the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, giving a talk to a corporate group. Afterwards, I headed down to the falls and was treated to an amazing display of ice that coated just about everything. The mist & spray from the waterfall had frozen to the surfaces of trees, signs, statues... You name it, making for a very picturesque winter scene. The sun even popped out for a while, allowing a nice rainbow to appear.
The only drawback was that all that spray got me soaking wet and I thought I was going to freeze! It's been a while since I was that cold. The toughest part was trying to keep my camera lens dry, which seemed to be an near impossible task.

Niagara Falls6

Jan. 15 2012 - Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
The East Coast winter storm trip has been going well. We flew into Halifax and headed straight for the Halifax office of Environment Canada to talk with the good folks there.We decided to set up at Peggy's Cove, a popular tourist destination in the summertime. It's very rocky & exposed, so there is a lot of wind and wave action. We filmed one snow storm there, complete with blowing snow, and frigid wind chills. We then returned to Halifax for the night.
The next part of the journey took us to the highlands of Cape Breton Island where cold air streaming in from the Atlantic was causing ocean-effect snow squalls. These are very similar to the lake effect snow squalls that I am used to at home in the Great Lakes. The highlands are gorgeous and it made for some very picturesque filming. Mark and I even made it as far as the isolated community of Meat Cove (yes you read that right).


Jan. 10 2012 - East Coast Storm Brewing
A Nor'Easter is headed for the Canadian maritime provinces and is expected to bring a sloppy mix of rain, wind, freezing rain and snow to much of the region. Tomorrow morning I fly out to Halifax to meet up with this storm system as it impacts Nova Scotia at the end of the week.
We will probably set up along the coastline at first, to document the wind & waves, then head up to the highlands of Cape Breton to catch the more wintery side of the storm system.


Jan. 03 2012 - Heavy Lake Effect Snow Squalls
The snow squall event materialized and we were out in the middle of it, documenting the freezing temperatures and heavy snow that walloped parts of the Ontario snow belt. Wind chills bottomed out at -25C at times and the driving conditions were tricky due to heavy snow and near zero visibility at times, especially at night.
The footage we shot will become part of a winter weather episode of "Stormhunters" on The Weather Network.
It looks like next week will be active too, with an Atlantic storm headed for the Maritime provinces. Another chase might be in order. I'm watching the forecast closely...


Jan. 01 2012 - Happy New Year Everyone
I'm in the process of getting this website ready for 2012 and all the new adventures that will be upcoming in the new year.
First off will be the Canada - Coast To Coast To Coast Expedition, filming winter weather for new episodes of "Stormhunters" on The Weather Network.
Details on the trip can be found HERE
It just so happens that one of the things we are going to be filming is lake effect snow squalls which will be in full force at the beginning of the week. A dome of cold air will be dropping south, passing over the Great Lakes and will pick up moisture from the relatively warm open water. The resulting snow bands could be very intense, with local whiteout conditions.
Mark and I will be out in the middle of this event as the first major shoot for the new Stormhunters shows. Some areas could receive up to several FEET of snow. I think it's time for me to gather up my winter weather gear, it is going to get a workout!
Also. Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me out in 2011. It was a great year and it looks like 2012 is going to be another wild one, filled with epic adventures, plenty of new places to go with new things to do and of course, excellent people to share awesome times with.
See you "out there"


Canada Coast to Coast to Coast

Lake Effect Snow Map

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




















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