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'It’s just you and Mother Nature': Sask. storm chasers share their experience

Saskatchewan is the ‘Land of Living Skies’ and while everyone loves to take a photo of some nice clouds, storm chasers take it to a whole different level.

Jenny Hagan, a severe weather chaser, said while the activity this season is not uncommon for the province, it is more than we have seen in recent years.

Fellow storm chaser Braydon Morisseau of Prairie Storm Chasers described it as “crazy” out in Saskatchewan so far, chasing storms in the province nine times already this season.

Morisseau chases across the prairie provinces as well as south of the border, but a supercell here is already a front runner for the season.

“The storm last week on July 17 was probably the most beautiful supercell that we’ve had in North America this year,” he said.

Hagan also chases all around the prairies, and her standout moment is in Paynton, Sask.

“We were watching a very large tornado come down in front of us, that one lifted up, I packed my gear into the truck and I closed the door and another tornado dropped right on the south end of the highway,” explained Hagan.

She then drove a little ways away to see two more tornados, although one of those two is still pending confirmation from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

Hagan’s favourite thing to capture while out chasing is the structure of clouds, while Morisseau said seeing a tornado contrast against an open canola field is something he can’t put into words.

He was in the outer circulation of the tornado near Edgeley, Sask. on July 15.

“It’s just like you’ve completely left this world behind and you’re somewhere completely else,” Morisseau explained. “Everything else just fades away and it’s just you and Mother Nature and that’s it.”

“You’re witnessing a moment that everything has to be perfect for that moment. Nobody will ever get to see it again; it will always be different in some way.”

However, there is more to storm chasing than just capturing a once in a lifetime moment on camera.

“Us severe weather spotters are reporting what’s actually happening, from hail size right up to if tornadoes are actually on the ground,” said Hagan.

This real-time reporting of information is used when it comes to ECCC issuing watches and warnings.

Hagan said the public should take the Environment Canada warnings seriously, adding mid-July is the “prime time” where the season starts to pick up.

Morisseau said the best place to take shelter is somewhere that puts as many walls as possible between you and weather.

He also said you should seek shelter inside a building if you are in a vehicle, if not, get in a low lying area.

Additionally, the worst place to be is under an overpass. Morisseau said not only does it restrict the traffic and impede other people’s safety, it also restricts wind speed, has lodged debris and when the wind shifts, that debris comes from the opposite direction creating a dangerous place for shelter. Top Stories

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