featuring Connor Mockett
Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another week of The Weather with Connor. This week, I thought I’d take 3 random photos from 3 different chase days, and explain the story of each chase day. Let’s have some fun and get started.
July 3rd, 2021
This was one of the more fun days of my 2021 Chasecation in Alberta. This photo was taken near Water Valley, Alberta, in what was day 2 of a 6-day severe weather period along the Foothills in Alberta. July 3rd was just storm after storm coming off the Hills; my chase partner and I chased three separate storms that day. The third storm was the most beautiful, which is crazy because after the other two storms, the environment had become a bit watered down (no pun intended). It was only 15 degrees outside when this storm started to roll off the foothills.
This storm didn’t pose much of a threat in terms of a tornado being possible or anything, it was mostly just a photogenic storm that all of the chasers in the area were taking photos of. A couple friends and I were actually picking up some ping pong ball sized hail stones on the side of the road after the second storm just for fun while this third storm came along.
July 2nd, 2022
This day was one of the biggest chase wins of the season for me and my chase partners that day. Just a little bit of a back story leading up to this day: my former chase vehicle, my red 2010 Ford Focus, had a transmission problem two days before, and I lost top gear. That means that I couldn’t chase, as it’d be too risky, mostly because I didn’t want to get stranded before attempting to drive home for three days with a broken car (I made it home with the car).
So anyways, a few of my chasing friends that live in Alberta offered to take me with them for their chase, which I obviously had to accept because why would I ever turn that down? They picked me up at my hotel in Airdrie, Alberta, and away we all went (there were six of us in two vehicles).
This day was supposed to be spectacular. Supercell thunderstorms were expected to come off the Foothills south and west of Calgary, and tornadoes were definitely possible in the environment that day. However, pretty much zero things went according to plan. There were literally no storms for the longest time, and then it was just plain ‘ol Alberta rain. We all thought the day was toast, and ended up driving up into the mountains to explore the back roads. That’s when we looked at radar.
There was a small, but really evident storm right out in front of the rain, just east of the small town of Claresholm, Alberta. We turned the vehicles around and started racing towards the storm, which was thankfully moving quite slow. We punched through the centre of it, and came out front to see this beautiful supercell. This was the only storm of the day (it was almost night actually, the photo was taken at 9:30pm), and we were the only chasers around to see it because every other chaser group gave up!
August 31st, 2022
This day ended up being one of the most active and crazier days of the Eastern Ontario storm season last year. Storms initiated early in the day, around 1:00pm, first along the Seaway near Brockville. Naturally, I was in position for these storms, as I did expect to have a good day after I did my severe weather forecast the day before and the morning of.
The first round of storms were all very close together and difficult to navigate through, as I kept getting caught in rain without visibility of the storm. I did eventually get between two storms though, and followed one from the town of Lyn, Ontario to Mallorytown, Ontario. Difficult chase area there too, with the St. Lawrence River, trees, and the road network. Nonetheless, after watching one storm rotate and then come straight over me, I drove towards another storm just down the road. What I rolled up on is still to this day one of my favourite storm scenes ever. The backside of this storm was just so beautifully ridiculous.
All that puffiness to the clouds is the updraft of the storm going up into the atmosphere. I was just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, with railroad tracks in the foreground, to take that photo.