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I am a professional storm chaser.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Yes, my mother does have a few choice words about this career path.
And yes, it is exactly like the movie ‘Twister,’ except the tornadoes are bigger and there’s no love story. I have been chasing the wilds of weather for six years all over Canada and the United States. I star on the reality TV show ‘Tornado Hunters’ and our mission is to get beside the biggest and baddest storms on the planet. These storms have some of the fastest wind speeds - I’m talking winds capable of over 500 kilometers per hour! People hear tornadoes and they often think of ‘Tornado Alley’ down in the United States, but Canada is a force of epic weather all on its own.
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Canada gets an average of 60-70 tornadoes a year, a distant second only to the United States who gets around 1000 tornadoes a year. This wild weather can be found in many parts of Canada, as shown in the maps below. The Alberta prairies from the south border all the way up past Edmonton are a hot-spot for this wild weather, with an average of 15 tornadoes a year. As storm chasers, we have had many wild chases in Alberta. I love Alberta storm chasing - beautiful landscape, skies as far as the eye can see and great people to meet along the way.
If you're interested in storm chasing within Alberta, the high season is June through August. Storm chasing tours are hard to come by in Canada, so I recommend doing some research on how to safely storm chase and team up with others before heading into a storms path.
British Columbia is also an amazing place for experiencing Mother Nature at her wildest. Tornadoes are rare given the variable, often mountainous, terrain - you need the flat lands of the Alberta prairies to create the supercell thunderstorms that create tornadoes. That said, nothing compares to the monster storms that roll in on the west coast.
Make your way out around Ucuelet or Tofino on Vancouver Island between November though March for the world-famous winter storms – or Storm Watching Season. A great spot to witness these storms would be Amphitrite Lighthouse out along the Wild Pacific Trail. The waves crashing against rocks have sent ocean sprays over the light house!
Last but not least, your safety is a priority. Storms can be very unpredictable, changing in a moment without notice and becoming very dangerous. Whether you are chasing on the prairies of Alberta, or on the coast of British Columbia do your research on how to properly view these storms. Ask questions, get the right safety gear, research storm chasing apps you may need, and most of all, try to team up with others - the more heads the better - when it comes to safety and strategizing.
To get the most out of your storm watching season, contact Tourism Tofino at 1.250.725.3414
Happy storm chasing! Tag me in your photos so I can share!