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News/Blog & Recent Events - George Kourounis

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Dec. 30 2013 - Goodbye 2013... Hello 2014
 
What a year 2013 has been! It was a very busy, adventurous and productive one for me and I'm very grateful for all the places I've been able to visit and people I've met along the way.
 
Some of the location highlights have been: The Florida Everglades; filming avalanches in the Rockies; Greenland and the Northwest Passage; a busy tornado chase season; a trans-Atlantic voyage, and so much more.
 
What's to come in 2014? Well, first off, I'll be heading to Antarctica next week. Mark Robinson and I will be back aboard the Akademik Ioffe, but this time,instead of going to the Arctic, we're heading to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica to film more material for The Weather Network. Huge thanks go out to everyone at One Ocean Expeditions, who are allowing us to get back on the ship with them!!
 
Also, In a few months I'll be able to reveal the details about the mystery expedition I led back in November. Expect to be blown away!
 
Thanks to all my friends, family, colleagues, sponsors, helpers and anybody else I missed. Let's make 2014 even better, and I wish you all a safe, adventurous year!!

Antarctica


Dec. 22 2013 - Historic Ice Storm
 
A potent system crossing North America brought severe weather to the southern United States, and a tremendous amount of freezing rain tot he Great Lakes region. Some places in Southern Ontario received 30-40mm of ice which brought down countless tree limbs and caused widespread power outages. At the peak of the storm, about 500,00 people were without power and it wasn't until well after Christmas that many people had their electricity restored. I was not spared the wrath of the ice storm. We lost power for 2 days and it was determined that it was the worst ice storm to hit Toronto in recorded history.
 
 
During the storm I teamed up with The Weather Network to document the ice in Georgetown, which was quite heavily hit.

Ontario Ice Storm

Ontario Ice Storm

Dec. 09 2013 - Somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle, Atlantic Ocean
 
It's been a week at sea and we're now getting close to North America. Technically, we've entered the fabled "Bermuda Triangle" which is an area of the Atlantic Ocean that is represented by a triangle from Miami to Bermuda to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Some say that many planes and ships have disappeared there under unusual circumstances...
 
We however, have had no supernatural encounters at all. Just plenty of luxury, incredible food (and lots of it) and good weather. I've been giving several talks on exploration in the Equinox Theatre, which is a gorgeous 1300 seat theatre which is also used for the evening entertainment of musicians, singers, dancers and stand-up comics, all of whom have been incredibly talented.
 
Tomorrow, we reach dry land again in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
 
**Update** The full gallery of photos from the cruise is ow online here

Celebrity Equinox Sunset

Dec. 01 2013 - Tenerife, Canary Islands
 
Today we stopped at the city of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. I was surprised at how big the city was, considering how far it is from Spain. The Islands are of volcanic origin and boast some incredible vistas and mountainous terrain.
 
The day was spent wandering around town, checking out the city. By tomorrow, we'll be out to sea, well away from land, on our journey across the Atlantic towards Florida.

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Nov. 29 2013 - Lisbon, Portugal
 
With only one stop in Portugal, I had to make the most of it. We explored quite a bit of the city and saw some of the churches, walked along the main shopping areas and enjoyed the seaside views. Lisbon was a gorgeous city, and we were treated to lovely sunset as well.
 
Tomorrow will be a sea day as we travel on to the Canary Islands.

Lisbon, Portugal

Nov. 28 2013 - Cadiz, Spain
 
I must say that the cruise ship that I'm on, the Celebrity Equinox, is an amazing vessel! Wow! It is huge, and the amenities are out of this world. It's more like a floating palace than a boat. There are numerous bars, restaurants, a casino, pools, shops, spas, you name it. I'm still finding new corners of the ship to explore. In total, there are over 2800 passengers on board.
 
Spain has been great. We started in Barcelona and stopped in Cartagena, Malaga & Cadiz. The architecture of these cities is something to behold, and the narrow cobblestone streets certainly add to the European flair.

Cadiz, Spain

Nov. 23 2013 - Trans-Atlantic Cruise
 
Tomorrow I depart for Barcelona, Spain where I'll be hopping onto a cruise ship, giving a series of talks on board. The cruise will be making stops along the south of Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands, then will do a full crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, finally disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
 
This will be my first experience on a large cruise ship and I'm looking forward to a bit bit of more relaxing trip after the frenzy that the past few months have been.

Trans-Atlantic Cruise

Nov. 20 2013 - We Day Waterloo Region
 
Wow, what a cool event. I was invited to speak at We Day Waterloo Region. We Day is a huge event, organized through the Free The Children charity, and gets youth involved in making the world a better place.
 
Visit the We Day website to learn more.
 
Other people on stage included: Nelly Furtado, Martin Luther King III, and the Kenyan Boy Choir. Being in front of 6000 people was a real thrill for me and the bonus was that it was for such a great cause, empowering youth.

We Day Waterloo Region

Nov. 16 2013 - Winnipeg, Manitoba
 
The whirlwind continues... Hot off the heels of my trip to Ottawa, I hopped on a plane to Winnipeg, Manitoba to give a corporate keynote talk. My time in Winnipeg will be brief though, just one night, then I fly back to Ottawa, then back to Toronto. There's so much going on right now, with plenty more on the horizon. It's all very exciting.

Nov. 13 2013 - RCGS Dinner, Ottawa
 
What an evening! I was invited by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society to be the emcee for their annual fund raising dinner which was held at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, across the river from the Parliament Buildings.
 
The dinner and awards ceremony featured an appearance by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, who were given honorary fellowships into the society. It was a real pleasure to get to meet them.
 
There was also a silent auction, presentations, plus I returned one of their expedition flags from my most recent exploration.
 
The gold medal winner & speaker for the evening was renowned artist & conservationist Robert Bateman who was a delight to meet.

Prime Minister Harper

Robert Bateman

Nov. 11 2013 - Back in Canada Safe & Sound
 
I wish I could give you the details about my most recent expedition, but it's going to have to wait for a few months until the footage is ready for broadcast.
 
What I can say is that I took a great expedition team, plus a film crew to a very obscure part of the world where we were able to do something that has never been done before, gathering scientific data from a very dangerous place. The expedition was a total success and the footage is going to blow people away when they see it. I'm very proud of how it all worked out and I want to thank everyone who helped me on this ambitious project, probably the most ambitious I've ever done.
 
Details to come, but not for a while. I can't wait to share the imagery!!!

Oct. 29 2013 - Top Secret Expedition
 
Tomorrow, I depart on an expedition that I've been working on behind the scenes for about a year and a half. There is very little that I can say about it other than it involves a team of experts, a very remote location, and we'll be doing something that has never been done before.
 
Yes, there is a television network involved, but I can't give out any details about that either. The time will come when I can share the details, but for now I have to keep silent.
 
Wish us luck. I promise it will be spectacular!
I will be back in mid-November.

Top Secret Expedition

Oct. 26 2013 - Toronto
 
I have been doing quite a few talks over the past couple of days, including ones for the Niagara Escarpment Commission in Milton, St.Marguerite d’Youville Catholic Secondary School in Brampton and the Sci-Fri event at the Ontario Science Centre.
 
Sci-Fri is an event at the museum, specifically meant for teems. The topic of this one was: "Fear and risk taking".
 
Between all the talks, plus an upcoming big project, times have never been busier.

Sci-Fri at the Ontario Science Centre

Oct. 22 2013 - Vancouver
 
What a quick, whirlwind trip out to the wonderful city of Vancouver! I departed Toronto on Monday, and returned on Tuesday. That's a long way to go for just one night, but it was a great trip.
 
I was helping out the folks at Let's Talk Science, who work with high school students across the country by explaining the benefits of not dropping their science, technology, engineering & math courses once they become electives. The effort is generously supported by AMGEN, and we had great fun.
 
First off was an appearance on the Global TV morning news where we brought a home-made vortex cannon in, and were shooting smoke rings all over the TV studio. Then, in the afternoon, we visited the Prince of Wales Mini School and talked with the science class there and had several science project stations set up around the room with volunteers helping out.
 
I really do like Vancouver a lot, and I never seem to spend enough time there when I visit.

Global TV News British Columbia

Oct. 17 2013 - Explorers In Residence Launch - New York
 
I just got back to Toronto after 2 days in New York City, promoting the Kensington Tours "Explorers In Residence" program. A handful of explorers have teamed up with Kensington Tours to offer, custom guided small group tours to parts of the world that we each specialize in.
 
We did several media interviews and all came together for a press conference that was held at the headquarters of the Explorers Club in Manhattan. Travel bloggers, magazine writers, and other media joined us on the second floor of the historic building on 70th Ave. there were many exotic refreshments including scorpions, meal worms and other insect appetizers, as well as plenty of quality scotch to drink. It was a great event, and everyone seemed to have a great time.
 
Learn more about the Explorers In Residence program

Explorers_Club_Launch

Oct. 12 2013 - SKY News Interview - U.K.
 
Cyclone Phailin made landfall in India today. It was an incredibly strong category 5 storm right before hitting, but did weaken somewhat as it lashed the east coast, south of Puri. I have been to this are of India before, and I hope that there is not too much loss of life. The warnings were good, and the government seemed to be swift in evacuating the people along the coast, who are the most at risk.
 
I did a live Skype interview with SKY News in England, talking about the cyclone, and my experiences in these types of storms.

SKY News

Oct. 09 2013 - Discovery Channel - Daily Planet
 
Today, I made an appearance on the weekday science & technology show: Daily Planet. Discovery Channel Canada's flagship show. I've been on numerous times in the past, and it was great being interviewed by Ziya Tong again. This time, it was far their "Adrenaline Junkies" theme week. We chatted about chasing tornadoes, volcanoes and avalanches.
 
Ziya is somewhere under that heat suit...

Daily_Planet_Oct_2013

Oct. 07 2013 - Breakfast Television
 
This morning I made an appearance on CITY TV Toronto's morning show: Breakfast Television. I was helping out with the folks from Let's Talk Science, who promote the importance of science education and the idea that there are plenty of cool jobs in the science fields. On the show, we gave a couple of demonstrations including a tornado simulator in a box, and a home made smoke ring launcher that fires a vortex of smoke. I even got to shoot a cup off the head of host, Frank Ferragine. It was great fun.
 
You can watch the segment here

Breakfast Television - Let's Talk Science

Sept. 24 2013 - Surrey, British Columbia
 
A quick, whirlwind trip across the continent. I flew from Toronto to Vancouver yesterday to speak at a conference for the Pacific Northwest chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. Now, I'm on my way back to Toronto. It was great to be back in B.C. even if it was very, briefly. Many thanks to everyone I met out there, it was a great event. I had an awesome time.

Surrey, British Columbia

Sept. 19 2013 - National Science Foundation
 
Some of my Hurricane Sandy footage is being used by the National Science Foundation for an online video series entitled Science Nation.
 
The NSF's Science Nation is an online magazine examining the breakthroughs and the possibilities for new discoveries about our planet, our universe and ourselves. Each week, Science Nation takes a dynamic, entertaining look at the research -- and the researchers

National Science Foundation

Science Nation

Sept. 18 2013 - Weather Caught on Camera
 
Another new show for The Weather Channel. This one features an interview with me and some video clips. The new episode of Weather Caught On Camera has a segment where I talk about our tornado encounter in Kansas from May 22nd, 2008. It was my 38th birthday and we (Cloud 9 Tours) were chasing a tornado producing storm that got very, very close to our location.

Weather Caught On Camera

The Weather Channel

Sept. 11 2013 - Strangest Weather On Earth
 
The new TV series, Strangest Weather on Earth is now airing on the U.S. Weather Channel. I was interviewed on-camera for this program several months ago in Florida where I talked about several different topics, including volcanic lightning.

Strangest Weather on Earth

Aug. 25 2013 - Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island - Nunavut
 
We made it!!
 
Thank you so much to everyone on board. The Russian crew of the ship, everyone at One Ocean Expeditions, the other passengers, and of course, the crew of the CCGS Henry Larsen. Without the help of the Coast Guard icebreaker, who knows if we would've been able to make it all the way through the Northwest Passage.
 
This trip has been so amazing, there are so many details and images that I have not yet posted. It was so much better than we could've ever hoped for.
 
We're now in Cambridge Bay and will soon be flying south to Edmonton, Alberta and then eventually back home to Toronto.
 
I feel that everyone, especially Canadians, need to spend some time in the Arctic regions. There is so much to see up here, and few people ever the the chance to come here. There are still a lot of wild places in the world, and many of them are to be found in the north, even in my own country.

Arctic_2013_070

Arctic_2013_038

Aug. 23 2013 - Bellot Strait - Canadian Northwest Passage
 
Well, the best case scenario has materialized. We've been able to get an escort from the Canadian Coast Guard. The CCGS Henry Larsen Arrived and we've been right on their stern as we travel through the very narrow Bellot Strait.
 
This, most narrow part of the passage is only .4 miles wide at one point and is prone to thick ice and very strong currents. So far, so good. The icebreaker has a very thick hull and actually uses its own weight to crack the ice and split it apart, then it uses air bubblers that push the ice fragments out, away from the hull to clear a path for vessels that might be even larger than the icebreaker itself (like our ship, the Akademik Ioffe).
 
They also have a helicopter on deck that has been flying scouting missions for the ship by flying out ahead to assess the ice conditions and plot the best path through it.
 
Of course, where there's sea ice, there's also the possibility of seeing polar bears, who like to hunt for seals on the ice. We had an amazing encounter with a mother and 2 cubs who were very interested in our ship and came quite close to us. The cubs were less than a year old and had a hard time following mama through the patchy sea ice.
 
They look so cute until they try to eat your face...

Arctic_2013_083

Arctic_2013_068

Aug. 21 2013 - Beechey Island - Nunavut
 
So far, our voyage through the Northwest Passage has been going smoothly. Our concerns about the mass of sea ice in our path will need to be figured out tomorrow, but for the past couple of days, the ice has been navigable.
 
We made some stops at few amazing places including:
 
Devon Island - The largest unpopulated island in the world.
 
Prince Leopold Island - With amazing steep cliffs that come straight out of the sea, it is a nesting site for tens of thousands of sea birds. We were able to get quite close in the Zodiacs, but the island is protected so we couldn't land, plus the rock was so unstable, parts of it were falling off, into the ocean.
 
Beechey Island - The site where the ill-fated Franklin expedition over-wintered their ships. It is site of several graves of the crew members. The search is still ongoing to try and find what's left of Franklin's ships, the Erebus & Terror. There is a lot of polar exploration history related to these islands.
 
Similar to Franklin, we are facing uncertainty ahead. The sea ice coverage is thick, and there's a chance that we might not make it through the passage. We have some options though. We could abandon the passage and end our trip in Resolute, or we might be able to get a Coast Guard icebreaker to help escort us through the thickest ice... I know which result I'm hoping for.

Arctic_2013_076

Arctic_2013_079

Aug. 19 2013 - Pond Inlet, Baffin Island - Nunavut
 
Wow, have we been busy.
After departing Kangerlussuaq, the ship continued north, up the Greenland west coast where we visited some of the same communities we we at earlier in the week such as Sisimiut and Ilulissat. Weather conditions were not as good and big storm was moving in from the west, just as we were preparing to make our second crossing of the Davis Strait, back into Canadian waters.
 
There were times when the waves were crashing over the bow of the ship, and were hitting the windows of the bridge, which is about 40 feet above the main deck! Luckily, I was not too seasick, and managed to keep my breakfast down, but it was a struggle at times. The good news is that we were able to film one of the things we really wanted to capture: An arctic storm at sea.
 
When the storm finally calmed down, and the waters became more flat, we were finally able to take in more of the scenery which included a gigantic ice island. Much larger than any iceberg we had seen so far, this 2 mile long piece of floating ice was humongous!
 
Once at the small town of Pond Inlet, we were able to go ashore, meet quite a few of the local native Inuit people and we even got a cultural demonstration of athletics, dance and singing. This marks the real start of our Northwest Passage journey. From here on in, we'll be going through the interior channels and straits that will hopefully, allow us to make it to Cambridge Bay. The sea ice coverage may become an issue in a few days... We shall see.

Arctic_2013_016

Arctic_2013_015

Aug. 14 2013 - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
 
The first half of the journey is now complete. We have a passenger switch over now, with new friends departing and new people coming on board for the Northwest Passage leg of this grand journey.
 
Over the past couple of days, we've visited to town of Sisimiut, found an amazing glacial lake along the west coast of Greenland, and got a front row seat to one of the most amazing displays of nature's power - A calving glacier.
 
We approached the Eternity Glacier in the early morning via Zodiac, and were lucky enough to be right there as several huge chucks of ice came crashing down into the Fjord, with a thunderous boom and mighty splash! Wow.
 
Eventually, we travelled up the Sonde Stromfjord (one of the longest fjords in the world) to the town of Kangerlussuaq. This is the only town in Greenland that isn't directly on the coast, and it has access to the Greenland ice cap, not too far away. A bunch of us took a drive out to it and despite the thick fog on top, were were able to get directly on top of part of the ice sheet itself.

Arctic_2013_090

Arctic_2013_049

Aug. 11 2013 - Ilulissat & Jakobshavn Ice Fjord, Greenland
 
One of the most spectacular places I've ever seen.
 
The fjord, just outside Ilulissat is full of icebergs. I mean FULL of them!. They calve off the Jakobshavn glacier, which has now unfortunately receded about 40 km up the fjord, and they drift down, pulled out by the tides and eventually exit into Baffin Bay. Many of these icebergs survive the long journey south to the coast of Newfoundland. The size of the 'bergs and sheer amount of ice that was floating past was almost unfathomable. It's no surprise that this place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Arctic_2013_039

Aug. 10 2013 - Qeqertarssuaq, Greenland
 
The past few days have been very eventful. We crossed the Arctic Circle while sailing up Sunshine Fjord, Baffin Island. The weather wasn't sunny at all, but we did manage to get ashore and explore some of the rocky terrain there, AND Mark & I somehow ended up in a photo shoot for a book that one of the fellow passengers is publishing. It's a series of portraits of people in various countries, all taken on, or very close to the Arctic Circle. Our shoot took a bit of a turn for the weird. You can check out the book project and a video clip of our photo shoot here.
 
There was also a great opportunity to actually get out onto the sea ice to do some filming. It's a good thing we didn't stay out on the ice too long, because later on we spotted several polar bears out on the ice, including one with a fresh seal kill.
 
We then crossed the Davis Strait, on our way to Greenland. Luckily, the crossing was smooth, without any big waves or swell. our destination: Greenland.
 
Our first stop in Greenland was the town of Qeqertarssuaq, on Disko Island. What a spectacular place! There were multi-coloured houses throughout the town, with giant icebergs everywhere in the background, looking more like abstract blue sculptures of ice. It was breathtaking. It was a quiet morning in town, with few people on the dusty streets, but there were large groups of sled dogs, spread all over town. In the summer, they don't have much to do, so they were curious about our presence.

Arctic_2013_010

Arctic_2013_091

Aug. 06 2013 - Pangnirtung, Baffin Island - Nunavut
 
What a start to the voyage... Yesterday, we took the Zodiacs out at Monumental Island, not much more than a small outcropping or rocks, and within 5 minutes, we saw our first polar bear of the trip. The large female was curious about us and came right down to the waters edge to investigate. What a sight. This was my first ever polar bear in the wild. I hope we get to see more.
 
Today we ended up in the small town of Pangnirtung. Like most of the communities in the Canadian Arctic, it is an isolated, dusty town with long, harsh winters and short summers (with vicious mosquitoes I might add). We took a hiking trail outside of town that was very beautiful, except for the over-abundance mosquito bites I got.
 
In town, most of the men were absent. As it turns out, 'Pang was lucky enough to get one of only 3 permits per year to hunt a Bowhead whale and today was the day that the fleet of boats were out on the water, hunting. These Inuit communities really rely on hunting so this was great news for the community. We found out later that day that they had a successful hunt.
 
Tomorrow we'll be spending some time in and around the sea ice before making the dash across the Davis Strait to Greenland. I was in Greenland a few winters ago, and I've always wanted to see the place in the summer, so I'm very excited to get there. I've actually also been in Pangnirtung before. It was the starting point for our dog sledding journey through Auyuittuq National Park back when we were filming the arctic polar training episode of "Angry Planet".

 Arctic_2013_009

Arctic_2013_005

Aug. 04 2013 - Iqaluit, Baffin Island - Nunavut
 
After a couple of days of filming in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut Territory, Mark and I have finally made it on board the Akademik Ioffe, the ship that will be our home for the next 3 weeks.
 
It was a bit choppy in the Zodiac getting out to where the ship was anchored, but we made it and our gear survived the trip. More about the ship later.
 
In Iqaluit, we filmed around town, tried some Musk Ox (delicious), and went to the world's most northern Tim Horton's (which we figure is about the most Canadian thing one could possibly do).

Arctic_2013_021

Aug 2013 - One Ocean/Weather Network Arctic Expedition 2013 is Underway.
 
For the entire month of August, Weather Network meteorologist, Mark Robinson and I will be on a ship travelling across the waters of the Arctic. Starting from Iqaluit, Nunavut, we'll be crossing over to Greenland, then up and down the coast there and back to Canada and through the Northwest Passage. We'll be filming the journey for a variety of stories, programs, and news items that will be broadcast on The Weather Network.
 
The trip is being graciously provided by One Ocean Expeditions who specialize in expedition cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica. We'll be living aboard the Akademik Ioffe, a Russian, ice-strengthened vessel that has been specially modified for passengers that boasts luxury amenities.
 
While we are away, we will be able to do some updates, but I don't know if I'll be able to update this site so keep an eye on my Facebook and Twitter feeds (our hashtag is #TWNarctic). Our location can also be tracked via a GPS-satellite link, and can be found here:
 
TRACK OUR LOCATION
 
The satellite tracking and communications equipment are being supplied by Roadpost.
 
 
Roadpost Satcom

Arctic Route 2013

The Weather Network

July 19 2013 - Severe Storms Race Across Southern Ontario
 
A strong cold front was forecast to sweep over southern Ontario on July 19th and it brought with it countless severe thunderstorm watches and warnings and also quite a few tornado warnings. Numerous very fast moving storms fired up ahead of the front and raced east. The storms were moving so fast that it was impossible to keep up with them, so we had no choice but to just get out in front of them as they would approach, then reposition for the next round of storms.
 
We did most of our storm chasing in the Mount Forest - Minto - Palmerston area, then re-positioned to Oakville where the lightning over Lake Ontario was spectacular.
 
There were many reports of wind damage, trees downed and power outages, plus several funnel clouds reported. Many thanks to today's chase partners Mark Robinson and Cindy Burgess. We also teamed up with Dave Patrick & Ian Archibald.

2013_07_19_Ontario

2013_07_19_Ontario

July 18 2013 - Metro Newspaper Article
 
An article on my storm chasing was featured in the cross-Canada daily Metro Newspaper, July 18th, 2013.

Metro Newspaper July 18 2013

July 12 2013 - Record Breaking Rain and Flooding in Toronto
 
Tonight I was a guest on the Lang & O'Leary Exchange, chatting about my adventures and climate change. The show airs on CBC television and CBC News Channel.

Land And O'Leary Exchange - CBC

July 08 2013 - Record Breaking Rain and Flooding in Toronto
 
A line of very potent, slow moving thunderstorms that were training over the same area, dropped a whopping 126mm of rain in Toronto in just a few hours. This was the biggest single day day rainfall ever recorded at Pearson international Airport, smashing the previous record of 121mm set in 1954 during Hurricane Hazel.
 
Widespread flooding, power outages and closed roads were commonplace all over the greater Toronto area.
 
- Most of the main highways around the city were closed.
- The subway system was shut down.
- The Go Train system was shut down due to flooding and over 1000 people had to be rescued by police in inflatable boats.
- 300,000 people were without power, mainly in Mississauga.

Toronto Flooding

July 04 2013 - Far Afield Cover Photo
 
One of my photos has been chosen to grace the cover of the latest issue of Far Afield, the news bulletin for the Canadian chapter of the Explorers Club.
 
The photo is of a Texas lightning storm I photographed during my recent storm chasing trip to the central U.S.

Far_Afield_Summer_2013

June 28 2013 - New Expedition Announcement
 
I’ve been waiting to make the announcement for this one for a while, and now I can. In August, Mark Robinson and I will be heading back up to the Arctic, but this time, we’re doing things a little differently. We’ve teamed up with One Ocean Expeditions and The Weather Network to travel from Iqaluit, on Baffin Island, across to the west coast of Greenland, where we'll be exploring the fjords & incredible coastline, then back over to Canada, north of Baffin and all the way through the historic Northwest Passage! This trip will take almost the entire month and we’ll be sending updates and dispatches from the remote north.
 
We’ll be shooting plenty of video for broadcast on The Weather Network… AND, if this once in a lifetime experience sounds like something that you’d like to be a part of: There’s still a few open spots on the trip!! Actually, it will be 2 separate trips for us, Baffin Island & Greenland explorer + Northwest Passage East to West. You could join us on either leg of the voyage.
 
We’re extremely excited about this and I can’t wait to get back up to the land of icebergs, polar bears and everything else that the Arctic has to offer. I'll be posting more details as we get closer to the departute date.
Learn more about this incredible trip here

One Ocean Expeditions - Arctic

June 26 2013 - More TV Projects
 
Hi everyone. It has been yet another busy week in TV land. Earlier today, a crew from The U.S. Weather Channel came to my home to shoot an interview for their TV series "Weather Caught On Camera". The show's 4th season should be airing in the fall, but I don't have an exact date. The incident they were interviewing me about was from one of our storm chases in Kansas with Cloud 9 Tours. You'll have to tune in to the episode to find out which one!
 
Also, many thanks to Scott McPartland from New York, who came down to Rockaway Beach to meet me while I was in New York last week on another shoot. This photo was taken by him at the spot where we were during hurricane Sandy.

Nat_Geo_Jun

June 19 2013 - New York City
 
It has been a busy week with several speaking engagements In Toronto and Blue Mountain, plus a quick trip to New York City.
 
I was in The Big Apple to appear on camera in a new 2-hour TV special for National Geographic television. We filmed in several locations around the city including overlooking Manhattan, driving through Brooklyn and at Rockaway Beach, the spot where I was during the landfall of Hurricane Sandy.
 
The neighborhood around Rockaway Beach was heavily damaged by Sandy and it was really interesting to go back there and see how the rebuilding efforts have been going. A lot of progress has been made, but the reconstruction of the boardwalk is still incomplete. The old, concrete support pillars are still there, but all the wooden pieces were washed away in the storm surge and it will be quite some time before the place is back to normal.
 
Fellow storm chaser, Scott McPartland, who was with me during the Sandy chase, came down to the beach to visit while we were filming. He lives nearby and his house was our base of operations during both hurricane Sandy in 2012, and hurricane Irene in 2011. I would have liked to had more time to spend in New York, but one night was all the time I had and so I blasted back to Toronto as soon as we'd shot the last take of the day.
 
I'll post more info about the new show as we get closer to an air date.

Manhattan

Rockaway

June 15 2013 - A Quick Update
 
Ever since I got back from my Tornado Alley trip, I've been playing catch-up, trying to get things wrapped up, like photo and video editing, plus preparing for several new, upcoming projects. Time has been something that I have not had in abundance, but there are all kinds of interesting adventures coming up.
 
I've been doing a few speaking engagements since I got back, plus I will be heading to New York later this week for a very brief visit. I'll be doing an on-camera appearance for a new TV show for National Geographic television. More details to come...
 
As I get new updates to the website completed, I'll be adding them to the Galleries page, just look for anything labeled as NEW.

May 31 2013 - The World's Largest Tornado!!
 
Wow, it's hard to believe what we just witnessed today. As expected, storms went up and we targeted the best area, near El Reno. instead of individual storms, they formed an east west line of embedded supercells, which didn't look encouraging at first, but then really got organized. We saw a tornado touch down in a field near the El Reno airport, then get obscured from our location by rain. As we crept east along Interstate 40, we spotted something remarkable. A huge tornado, so big that it barely fit in the viewfinder of my camera!! We were behind it, so our position was good, I could just keep pace with it. I've never seen anything so big before.
 
It eventually turned right and crossed the highway ahead of us. This was a very complicated storm with many areas of rotation and odd behavior. The large number of storm chasers, regular traffic, downed trees & power lines and other debris made this a challenging chase, to say the least!
 
**Update** Many storm chasers had close calls with this tornado due to its extreme size and odd motion. Many got caught up in it and Unfortunately, 3 well respected chasers/storm researchers were killed by it. Tim Samaras, his son Paul and Carl Young.
 
**Update 2** The National Weather service has upgraded the strength of the tornado and has given it and EF-5 rating, the highest there is. Not only that, but the width of the tornado was calculated to have been 2.6 miles wide (4.2 km)!! That makes it the world record holder for the largest tornado ever documented!! The wind speed was measured by mobile doppler radar at 296 mph (476 km/h)

2013_05_31_A

World's largest tornado

May 28 2013 - EF-4 Tornado near Bennington, Kansas
 
What a day! The target area for today was huge, with the Storm Prediction Center coving a large porting on the central U.S. in a 5% tornado risk. In fact, that 5% covered more than 450,000 square miles and our mission was to narrow that down to a single spot producing a tornado.
 
And we were able to do exactly that!
 
North of Salina, Kansas, near the town of Bennington, an isolated supercell storm went up, right in our target area. We were quick to get on it and were treated to a nearly stationary storm that went on to produce a huge tornado, that we observed from quite close from its first funnel to when it became a giant wedge, to eventually becoming rain-wrapped.
 
This tornado was a real monster. Luckily, it looks like it missed the town, and that's a good thing because it was likely very violent and would have done considerable damage.
 
The tornado was on the ground for a long time, so we were able to reposition ourselves close enough to be able to hear the roar of the tornado as it was grinding away in the countryside. It was dark, menacing and I briefly entertained the idea of getting even closer, but with the rain wrapping around it, I figured that was not the best idea since we already had a fantastic view of this thing.
 
Once the storm went completely HP (high precipitation) we just let it go and drove down to Salina for a well deserved steak dinner.
 
It just so happened that I was scheduled to do a live Twitter interview with Canadian Geographic Magazine at the exact same as the tornado was on the ground. It was a bit frantic and crazy, but worked out perfectly. We couldn't have timed it any better if we had tried.
 
There is still a threat for a lot more severe weather for the rest of the week so we expect to be very busy.

2013_05_28_C

2013_05_28 YouTube

May 17 2013 - Slow Moving, Photogenic Tornado
 
Today's risk for tornadoes was low, only a 2% zone forecast by the storm Prediction Centre, but it sure did pan out! We experienced pretty much everything, from crazy storm structure to lightning to hail that was 3 and 4 inches in diameter, and a long-lived, slow moving tornado.
 
The tornado touched down near the town of Eliasville and it put on quite a show for us. It barely moved and kept changing size and shape.
 
I just love it when there is a so-so setup and we end up hitting the storm jackpot, it is very rewarding.
 
I'll add more details when I get time. Right now, It's the middle of the night and we have yet another few big chase days ahead of us!

2013_05_17_B

May 17 Tornado YouTube

May 19 2013 - Tornado Outbreak in Kansas & Oklahoma
 
What a day. We targeted southcentral Kansas for tornadoes today and managed to see two. The first one had a short funnel with a debris swirl on the ground and the other had a photogenic slender cone like shape that touched down extremely close to our vehicles. It was in the field right beside the road and the circulation passed directly overhead.
 
Unfortunately, several other supercell storms formed in central Oklahoma and ended up doing a lot of damage in places like Edward and Shawnee. Some of the tornadoes were long-track, violent ones. As of right now, I don't know the full extent of the damage or fatalities.
 
Charles Edwards, the owner of Cloud 9 Tours lives in Shawnee and at one point, we thought that a tornado was headed right for his house, but luckily, it passed about 3 miles to the west.
 
Today was one of those days when strong tornadoes hit some populated areas.

2013_05_19_A

May 15 2013 - Tornado
 
Today was an exhausting, epic, crazy day filled with a range of emotions from highs to lows. It's late right now so I'll just give a quick synopsis... Witnessed at least 2 tornadoes, the best one in the town of Millsap, Texas. It was close enough to hear it clearly! More photos to come.
 
An hour or so later, we were just south of Cleburne when the rotation passed in front of us from north to south with HUGE power flashes, then the tornado crossed in front of us AGAIN from south to north as it approached Cleburne in the dark!
 
Unfortunately, there have been many reports of damage injuries and fatalities. We never really expected today to be so potent, but the right balance of ingredients came together. More info later as I learn more. We did drive through the town of Granbury at one point, just after a very damaging tornado had gone through, but we didn't see that one or the damage it caused.

2013_05_15B

Tornado Video

May/June 2013 - Tornado Chase 2013
 
Yes, it's that time of year again. Winter is slowly and reluctantly releasing its grip across North America and that can only mean one thing... Spring storm season is upon us. This marks my 15th year of tornado chasing and my 10th anniversary guiding with Cloud 9 Tours. For the entire month of May, we'll be taking people from all over the world to chase storms across the wide open spaces of the Great Plains. We have a good time, all the time.
 
I'll be keeping a special daily blog with photos and updates so that you can check out what we've been up to.
 
Next stop... Tornado Alley!
 
Tornado Chase 2013

Tornado Chase 2013

May 06 2013 - Kensington Tours, Explorer In Residence
 
I am very excited to announce that I have recently become the newest Explorer In Residence for Kensington Tours.
 
Kensington Tours specializes in custom tours and cruises to the most extraordinary destinations. Every tailor-made journey is carefully crafted by their destination specialists to deliver a personalized adventure like no other. I'm really looking forward to working with them on many exciting adventures to come. Many thanks to them for their support and partnership.
 
Learn more here.

Kensington Tours

May 01 2013 - Canadian Geographic Magazine "Wicked Weather 2013"
 
Thank you Canadian Geographic Magazine for inviting me to write the intro for their 2013 "Wicked Weather" special collector's edition issue. The photos inside are stunning and all of them have been submitted by readers across the country. We certainly have all types of weather in this vastly diverse nation of ours. Find it on news stands now.

Canadian Geographic Wicked Weather 2013

April 30 2013 - World's Weirdest Weather
 
The new weather television series "The Weirdest Weather on Earth" began airing on Channel 4 in the UK ltonight. I appear on camera in the first episode, talking about some of the world's strangest lightning phenomena, including the Catatumbo everlasting lightning storm in Venezuela.
 
This is the program that we filmed back in February when I travelled to the Florida Keys. I believe there will also be a version released in the U.S. eventually as well.

World's Weirdest Weather

April 28 2013 - Outpost Magazine Article
 
Ever wonder what it would be like to set foot on a brand new volcanic island, where each step was where nobody had ever set foot before?
 
The new issue of Outpost Magazine features an article that I wrote that talks about doing exactly that! I go into detail about my expedition to a brand new island off the coast of Tonga that we visited while filming an episode of Angry Planet a few years ago. We almost didn't make it due to rough seas, mechanical problems and, well, the list goes on and on. We eventually had to swim to shore.
 
As they say, it's on newsstands now.

Outpost Magazine

April 27 2013 - Helping The Weather Network Prep for Storm Chasing
 
With only a few days left before I depart for this year's storm chase trip, I took advantage of the first sunny, warm Saturday of the year to help out Mark Robinson, a meteorologist with The Weather Network & storm chaser. He's also getting ready to head out on the chase and we spent the day wiring up and preparing the official Weather Network SUV for the chase. All went well, I just hope that he'll be able to keep it out of the big hail. We'll see what happens! I'll be meeting up with Mark from time to time while storm chasing, doing some reports for TWN.

TWN_SUV

April 24 2013 - Royal Canadian Geographical Society - Speakers Series
 
It has been a busy few days here during "Earth Week". I had a speaking engagement in Belleville, then headed over to Ottawa where I was on stage at the beautiful Centrepoint Theatre for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society's Speakers Series. It was an amazing evening and the crowd had as much of a good time as I did.
 
The entire day was rather hectic with running around town to do radio and TV interviews, then off to the theatre for the big event. The organizers and volunteers did such a great job, I cannot thank them enough. It was an honour.
 
There is now only about a week to go before the 2013 tornado chase trip begins and there is so much to do between now and then. On the weekend, I'll be over at The Weather Network again, getting their SUV wired up and ready for the chase.

April 18 2013 - Daily Planet on Discovery Channel "Forces Of Nature"
 
Discovery Channel Canada's flagship science news program, Daily Planet, is having a "Forces of Nature" theme week and tonight will feature an interview I did yesterday with host Ziya Tong. I brought my chase vehicle down to their headquarters and I showed her the tools I use for chasing storms and shared some of the stories of what I. and the car have been through over the years.
 
They are featuring stories about all sorts of natural forces all week long. The show airs weekdays at 7:00 on Discovery Channel Canada.
 
In other news, it is storm season and I'm getting ready for my 2013 tornado chase trip, but first I have a small speaking tour of Ontario next week with stops in Lucknow, Belleville and Ottawa.

Discvery Channel - Daily Planet

April 16 2013 - Angry Planet Comes To The Weather Network
 
I've been sitting on this announcement for a while, but now I can finally let the cat out of the bag.
 
The Weather Network has picked up season 1 of Angry Planet. The episodes will begin airing on May 12th. with even more episodes slated to air next year.
 
Work is being done right now to edit them to fit the network's grid schedule and I was there yesterday, filming some promos for on-air & the web, I was also recording some voice-overs. Thank you so much to everyone over at TWN.

Angry Planet on The Weather Network

April 07 2013 - Upcoming Event
 
If you live in the Ottawa area or plan on being there on April 24th, I invite you to come out to the Speakers Series event at Centrepoint Theater where I will be giving a talk. The event is put on by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
 
I'll be talking about some of my most jaw dropping, harrowing adventures from from my attempts to document the most extreme forces of nature from around the globe.
 
Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12.
 
For more information, and to purchase tickets
 
I look forward to seeing you there.

RCGS Speakers Series

March 28 2013 - Rope Rigging Test
 
Today was spent rigging an aerial rope system across the Elora Gorge, over the Grand River. The span was about 250 feet or so and we were able to successfully set it up so that I could go out on the vertical ropes, lock the system off, then descend down and back up again.
 
Helping me out was Peter Klose, Joe Legate and rigging guru Frederick Schuett from One Axe Pursuits.
 
Luckily, the weather cooperated with us and we were able to fine tune the rig to the point that even if the person out on the rope was unconscious, we could still bring them up and out.
 
The view from over the river was great!
 
This is a similar system to the one I used in Dominica to traverse the Boiling Lake, but with a few extra features that allow for quicker movement and vertical motion as well.

GK_Elora_2

GK_Elora_1

March 22 2013 - Explorers Club Film Festival, Toronto
 
This weekend is the 5th annual Explorers Club Film Festival.
 
The Canadian chapter of The Explorers Club boasts some of the world’s best documentary filmmakers. Don’t miss this opportunity to share in their adventures, exchange ideas and immerse yourself in an exploration of documentary films.
 
The Arts & Letters Club in partnership with the Canadian chapter of The Explorers Club will present 12 films on March 22 and 23. The weekend includes two premiere episodes of Simon Donato’s Boundless and two award-winning documentaries. Our keynote speaker on Saturday evening will be Bill Lishman, world renown artist and a pioneer in ultralight aviation.
 
On Saturday morning, I'll be presenting the History Channel program that I was featured on: "How The Earth Made Man"
 
Learn more here.

Explorers Club Film Festival

March 21 2013 - Earth Action Week
 
The special "Virtual Town Hall" program that was filmed for The Weather Network is airing tonight. It is one of several shows that were created for "Earth Action Week"
 
The panel discussion, hosted by The Weather Network's Chris St. Clair consists of myself and:
 
Peter Orman - A member of the Green Party and an energy efficiency consultant.
&
Tom Rand - Managing Partner of MaRS Cleantech Fund.
 
Some of the topics we discuss include energy efficiency, the environment, resource management and climate change.
 
To learn more, you can go to the TWN website

Earth Action Week on The Weather Network

Earth Action Week.

March 18 2013 - Explorers Club Dinner, New York City
 
This past weekend I was in New York City for the annual Explorers Club Dinner. The black tie gala fund raiser is the main event of the year for explorers from all over the world to come together.
 
James Cameron was there, returning the club flag he brought with him in his submersible to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, almost 35,000 feet below the surface. He was also the recipient of the Explorers Club Medal, the association's highest honour.
 
Astronaut John Glenn was there as well as Joe Kittinger, the first man to jump from the edge of space wearing a parachute. Joe was Felix Baumgartner's mentor for the Red Bull Stratos Jump.
 
There were also plenty of exotic appetizers including scorpion lollipops, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, beaver, muskrat, rattlesnake and goat penis. Yep, you read that right.
 
Pictured from left to right: D.J. Spooky, Myself & Jessica Phillips.

Explorers Club Dinner

March 10 2013 - Updates
 
It has been a while since my last update, but things are busy. Very busy actually.
 
I've been giving quite a few talks at schools around Southern Ontario lately. I love doing them and the students really love asking questions about my adventures. If you are a teacher and would be interested in having me come to speak with your students, let me know.
 
Planning is in the works for several major trips later this year, in addition to my regular tornado chasing that is quickly approaching in May. It's too early to mention the details about some of these trips, but they will be epic. Look for several big announcements in the weeks and months to come.
 
Also, I just filmed a new TV special with the good folks over at The Weather Network. In preparation for Earth Week coming up. Myself and 2 other experts (an environmental entrepreneur and a member of the Green Party) did a panel discussion on climate and environmental issues which was moderated by The Weather Network's Chris St. Clair.
 
Earth Action Week begins March 17th and the virtual town hall special airs Thursday, the 22nd at 7:00 and 10:00 PM.

Weather Network

Feb. 21 2013 - Back From Florida
 
My trip to Florida is complete and I have returned home to Toronto.
 
The shoot for the new Weather Channel show went great. I met up with the British crew at Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park on Key Largo where we filmed the interview and some b-roll material. Watch for "Strangest Weather on Earth" to be broadcast in a few months.
 
As soon as I landed back in Toronto I didn't even head home. I drove down to London where I gave a talk at University of Western Ontario the following morning. The talk was part of their Staff & Leaders' Conference and was a full house. What a great audience.

On Locationa in Key Largo

Feb. 18 2013 - Florida Everglades Alligators
 
Greetings from the Sunshine State.
 
I've been in Florida for a couple of days now and it has been some of the coldest weather of the winter season. Below freezing overnight lows were even reported in the northern part of the state. Today was warmer, and I was able to go into the Florida Everglades and shoot some great wildlife photos, especially the alligators.
 
With the cooler temperatures, the cold-blooded alligators have been coming up out of the water to sun themselves in an effort to regulate their body temperature.
 
I took so many pictures, that it will take me a few days to get them all organized, but I did get a couple of them uploaded for now.
 
Many thanks to Tim Millar and Lisa for helping me out so much while I've been down here. Tim and I have have chased many hurricanes together over the years.

Gators_01

Gators_02

Feb. 14 2013 - Upcoming Trip to Florida
 
Tonight I was a guest on the live streaming news site for the Huffington Post. The topic was weather forecasting, computer models and a little bit of chaos theory thrown into the mix. It was a lot of fun.
 
Also:
 
I will be heading to Florida this Saturday to shoot an interview for a new show on the U.S. Weather Channel entitled "Strangest Weather on Earth".
 
I get a few days on my own to enjoy the sunshine state, then I will head down to Key Largo for the interview where I'll be talking about my experience in Venezuela at the Catatumbo everlasting lightning storm. Part of Venezuela, over Lake Maracaibo sees thunderstorms most nights of the year. You can almost set your watch to it.
 
To see photos of the Catatumbo storms, click here.
 
I'll be doing updates from Florida over the next week and I plan on fully enjoying a little slice of summer in the middle of my Canadian winter.

Huffpost Live
Florida

Feb. 11 2013 - Elora, Ontario
 
The morning started off at Upper Canada College where I gave a series of talks to the students there. It was a lot of fun and the students were very enthusiastic.
 
In the afternoon, I headed out to the town of Elora where I met up with the good folks over at One Axe Pursuits. They do rock climbing, zip lines, training and are basically masters of anything involving ropes. Before we left, Peter Klose and I just had to do a forward facing rappel down the side of the bell tower of the former church that is now the Headquarters for One Axe.
 
Fun? Oh yeah.
 
Tomorrow, I head off to Lakefield College School to give some more talks.

Elora_Church_01

Elora_Church_02

Feb. 08 2013 - Winter Storm
 
A widespread and very potent winter storm is spreading across much of North America. Actually, it is 2 storms. An Alberta Clipper is currently moving across the Great Lakes Region, where I am right now and it is expected to merge and phase with a coastal nor'easter and that will bring the worst conditions to places like Boston.
 
Blizzard conditions are likely along much of the U.S. eastern seaboard and the Canadian Maritimes. Here in Toronto, it is still going to be strong, possibly the most snow we've had in one day for 5 years. It has already been snowing all morning, with 17cm already on the ground with no sign of letting up.
 
Many schools are closed, people are staying home and most school busses are not running.
 
I did manage to grab a photo of one intrepid commuter as he cautiously drove his electric bike down the street. Probably not the safest move, but he seemed to be doing OK.
 
 
I may go out later to get some more photos and video, but first I have to do a Skype lecture with a group of science students in Alberta, plus tonight I am giving a presentation to the Toronto Explorers Club members, although I don't know how many people wil actually make it out tonight due to the bad weather and sketchy roads.

Feb 02 2013 Snow Storm

EBike

Jan. 30 2013 - U.S. tornado Outbreak
 
Widespread severe weather sweeping across the deep south has spawned an unusual outbreak of tornadoes over the past 2 days, from eastern Oklahoma to Georgia, where the town of Adairsville, GA was hit particularly hard.
 
One fatality was reported, which ends a continuous 220 day stretch of no tornado fatalities, the longest in U.S. history.
 
I appeared live on CNN, news network with Brooke Baldwin this afternoon to discuss the situation.

CNN

Jan. 29 2013 - A Daredevil's Guide to Storm Chasing
 
Several of my photos are featured in a new kid's book that showcases all different aspects of what storm chasing is like.
 
Photos of my storm chases shown in the book include: Hurricane Igor in Bermuda, and tornado chases in Texas and South Dakota.

A Daredevil's Guide to Storm Chasing

Jan. 23 2013 - Sunrise Steam Devils
 
With a very cold air mass descending on much of North America and overnight low temperatures in Toronto dipping down to -20C, it was almost a guarantee that there would be plenty of steam devils on Lake Ontario this morning. There were certainly lots of them out there, but they were farther from shore that I would've liked, so I pulled out my longest lens and enjoyed the amazing morning light.
 
Steam devils are similar to dust devils that form on hot, summer days, except they are caused by very cold air above relatively warm lake water. With enough wind shear at the surface, the rising steam can spin and form vortices that seem to dance across the water.

Sunrise Steam Devils

Jan. 21 2013 - Pecha Kucha Event
 
Tomorrow night I will be one of the presenters at a PechaKucha event in Toronto.
 
What is PechaKucha? Each speaker submits 20 photos and you get 20 seconds to talk about each photo. Short, sweet and to the point. To find out more about the event, check it out here. I'd love to see you at the Gladstone!
 
PechaKucha Toronto
 
BTW, PechaKucha means "chit-chat" in Japanese.

PechaKucha

Jan. 16 2013 - Avalanche News Story
 
The Weather Network did a news piece that featured my recent efforts to place a camera into the path of an avalanche. The "Crash-Cam" is a modified Pelican case with dual plexiglass windows and adjustable camera rails that allows me to place 2 cameras inside the box and then put the box in harms way. I've used it in hurricane storm surge, waves, and now avalanches. Basically it goes anywhere that's too dangerous for me to go personally.
 
In order to retrieve the cameras after being hit by the avalanche, I placed an avalanche beacon inside the box and tied a rope to the handle. This made it easy to find under all the snow.
 
It worked like a charm and you can watch the entire news story (including the Crash-Cam footage) here.
 
The full 2013 avalanche trip page with more photos and video links can be found here.

Avalanche "Crash-Cam"

Jan. 14 2013 - Amazing Avalanche Video
 
I've uploaded one of the amazing avalanche videos from the other day. We were positioned on the closed road when the avalanche team used a GazEx cannon to trigger the slide. It came down and hit 2 "benches", which are utility roads higher up on the slope designed to absorb most of the energy from the avalanches. When the benches got hit, the snow exploded up dramatically and looked like it was headed straight for us!
 
The reality is that the benches did their job perfectly and the high winds that day carried the lifted snow in our direction. We got dusted by the avalanche, but the actual slide never even made it to the road. Regardless, it made for a very intense few seconds as the snow looked like it was coming for us!

AMAZING VIDEO - Outrunning an Avalanche!!

Jan. 09 2013 - Summit of Kootenay Pass, B.C. - Avalanches!!
 
Wow, what a day it has been. We (The Weather Network crew) spent the night at the summit office of the Kootenay Pass avalanche control team. Through the night, we were expecting a lot of snow to come down, but the forecast was wrong and barely any snow fell, mostly just some freezing rain. However, because of the warming temperatures and quality of the snow pack, the avalanche risk was raised, and the order to begin explosive control was given.
 
Once the highway was closed down, they started firing off the 23 GazEx cannons along the highway and we were treated to some impressive avalanches, some at VERY close range. We were even able to broadcast an avalanche LIVE on TWN. A first for the network.
 
I was also able to get my video "crash-cam" housing placed directly in the path of an avalanche for a direct hit! Video to come soon...

Avalanche_Still

Jan. 08 2013 - Nelson, B.C.
 
It has been a long week of driving to get from Toronto to Nelson, British Columbia. (Toronto-Minneapolis-Regina-Calgary-Nelson) but I finally made it here and it looks like our timing is good.
 
I'm out here as part of a filming team for The Weather Network. Myself, Mark, Kelsey and Shawn have gathered here to film controlled avalanche operations along the mountain pass. Our goals are to:
 
- Broadcast an avalanche LIVE on The Weather Network
- I'm hoping to deploy a protected video camera housing directly in the path of an oncoming avalanche. This will require me to get into the danger zone, set up the cameras in the crash box, then get out of the way, just before the control team detonates an explosion to trigger a man-made avalanche.
 
The forecast is for more snow tonight and into the morning, so we are expecting that the control team will be firing of their Gazex Cannons. These devices are installed in strategic points on the mountain and use a mixture of propane and oxygen to create the explosion that brings down the snow.

B.C. Avalanche trip 2013

Jan. 01 2013 - Happy New Year
 
We made it through the Mayan apocalypse, now it's time to move on to another year filled withplenty of new adventures.
 
First off for 2013 is the latest cross-Canada winter road trip. Last year, Mark Robinson and I (he's a meteorologist at The Weather Network) took an epic road trip from Toronto to the Arctic Ocean. This year, we're going to be driving to Kootenay Pass in British Columbia where we will be filming with the avalanche control team there.
 
More details to come, but it looks like an explosive start to 2013!

B.C. Avalanche Road Trip


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

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

 

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