Storm season has come to and end this year.  Tomorrow I leave for ChaserCon Canada, a storm chasing Convention being held a the Telus World of Science in Edmonton. I am on the photography panel and have put together some of my favorite shots of Canadian prairie storms. I am really looking forward to it. This years speakers include Reed Timmer– tornado whisperer and Kelsey Mckewan – host of “Your Morning” on CTV.

Here are a handfull of my favorite shots with the stories that go with them.

July 19, 2016 – I had chased storms in Alberta the day before getting home very late, or very early the next morning.  When I woke up the next day, I checked the models and saw potential from Maple Creek to Swift Current.  I did not waste much time and arrived to see high based supercells with vigorous updrafts forming in a few areas.  They produced a lot of hail.  Big hail.  Saskatchewan hail storm, Canadian storm chaser


We found hail the size of tennis balls, a lot of it.  tomkins saskatchewan tennis ball hail


I spent a lot of time in Alberta in 2016 chasing storms.  This was one of my favorite storms of the year, a rotating supercell that looked like a mothership.  Alberta supercell thunderstorm, Canadian storm chaser


Another Alberta storm, North of Lethbridge.  Storms look great over canola fields, the contrast really makes them stand out. Canola crops provide a lot of the moisture needed to fuel a thunderstorm through a process called evapotranspiration. Alberta supercell thunderstorm, Canadian storm chaser


The last storm of 2016.  4 minutes from home, near Leader Saskatchewan.  I have travelled over 18,000 kms this year, to Texas and back chasing storms all through Tornado Alley, but this one near home was one of the prettiest. Saskatchewan thunderstorm, Canadian storm chaser

I sometimes wonder how many big storms these old abandoned homesteads have seen over the years.  I sometimes wonder how many more they will stand to see.  Saskatchewan shelf cloud, Canadian storm chaser


This shot from July 17 2014 is still one of my favorites.. I had flown home from work early and was on route from Saskatoon to Leader. I knew there was a storm in Alberta, I checked the radar but thought I’d miss it. That changed about an hour later, the storms had formed a squall line. I could see it approaching near Kindersley and drove off the highway to find something in the foreground. When the winds hit I thought I had locked myself out of the truck, I could not open the door. I finally managed to get into the truck and blasted north to the highway, my truck being pelted with crop the whole way. The next day I read reports of 137 km/h winds and quite a bit of damage.

Saskatchewan thunderstorm, Canadian storm chaser


In July of 2014 I followed a storm from it’s birth in Alberta, across much of Saskatchewan, taking this photo as it overtakes an abandoned house near Plato.  This photo went on to be chosen as 2nd place in Canadian Geographic Photographer of the Year, Wild Weather Category

Saskatchewan shelf cloud, Canadian storm chaser


A few more miles down the road I came across this church I had first seen just a few weeks earlier without my camera.  I like the good vs evil apocalyptic look as the “whales mouth” of the storm overtakes this church, in a town aptly named “Wartime”

Saskatchewan abandoned church storm, Canadian storm chaser


This shot is from my favorite storm of 2013.  There were storm chasers from all across North America chasing this one.  The Craven Jamboree was letting out, RCMP were chasing storms in their cruisers.  The set up for storms this day was intense, prompting a very strongly worded tweet by The Weather Network’s chief meteorologist Chris Scott – “‘Oklahoma-style’ t-storms for Saskatchewan today, Likely will be the most violent storms in N. America, possibly the world.”   At one point while still tornadic (3 tornadoes were reported) the storm was on a path heading directly towards Regina.  Luckily things changed… that could have been a very bad day.

Saskatchewan supercell, Canadian storm chaser

Click here to see the full gallery of storm photos




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