GoYorkton is dedicated to providing interesting lifestyle information that showcases our great city and area. We are pleased to present our first local profile showcasing Yorkton's very own Storm Hunter, Ryan Crouse.
Read on to get all of the exciting details about what Ryan does as a Storm Hunter.
GY: When did you start Storm Hunting? Was it something that you were always fascinated by?
Ryan: I began going out and taking photos of storms at a very local level about 2009 where I would just drive out to a thunderstorm within pretty much a 30-45 mins drive and just snap a few photos. 2011-2012 I took it to the next step and began to start researching, studying weather models and meteorology and by 2013 I was pretty much going anywhere in Western Canada in hunt for the storm!
Now, I’ve traveled to Tornado Alley USA a numerous times (2015, in 2 weeks drove 15,000 km and hit 9 states) and have a vehicle that I call the “Storm-Finder” that, thanks to my Driver/Mechanic Brandon Crane , has hail armor to protect all the windows from hail and even debris.Have I always been fascinated, absolutely! I remember as a kid listening to GX94 am radio and writing down the weather reports. From there it just grew and grew!
GY: How do you know when and where to find a storm?
Ryan: Through a variety of weather models, some via a paid subscription and some available to the public but tough to find!
I don’t really like looking at anything past 3 days as I find more often than not that they fluctuate too much to take too seriously. I look at NAM Models (North American Mesoscale Forecast System) and view and compare models of CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy), Dew Points, Lifted Index, HRRR + more, and from them all I try to find “the sweet spot” aka the target.
When out chasing, in the vehicle, I have internet access, CB Radio, Range Boosters for cell data and also use weather software called GRLevel3, which is a paid program with very high resolution radar that runs off of American Doppler Radar Towers. With special GPS software I can also add myself to the map to know exactly where I am.
I also have a live stream camera running, that streams audio and video to my website so anyone can “Join in on the action.” Environment Canada has also used my stream as “on the ground truth” for them to issue watches and warnings.
GY: Do you ever take people with you when you are storm hunting?
Ryan: Yes I sure so, and all the info for that is found on the website. One thing with it is that they are contacted on very short notice, sometimes the night before or morning of the event.
GY: It sounds dangerous, would they have to sign a waiver?
GY: Do you have any stories about some scary situations you have found yourself in?
Ryan: Scary no, intense yes! Safety is ultimately my #1 concern so I haven’t had any “close calls” but at the same time, I have had a couple moments where I was rather very close to a couple different tornadoes. Sometimes with weather, that can just happen! One instance was July 6, 2013 just a few miles South of Kamsack , we had literally 2 tornadoes drop right around us with a 3rd coming down! We were in the rotation as when I got out of the vehicle and looked you can see the rainbands rotating in a big circle and we were dead in the center of it. I can’t lie, it was actually really cool to see!!!
Another moment would be July 31, 2016. The day that produced multiple tornadoes. I caught 3 myself, but some say there may of been 6-7+ (of course, not confirmed) Anyways, when I was just a few miles South of Yorkton and my Velocity Scan (shows wind speeds and rotation on radar) was in a “dead zone” wasn’t giving me a reading and I just felt like something wasn’t right. At the same time, seen branches debris hitting the side of the truck, pulled over at an approach and the large tornado was behind us!!!
GY: Do you have any funny/interesting stories about some of the predicaments you have been in that you can share?
Ryan: Man oh man, I have so many funny stories! But i’ll just share one.
May 31, 2015 somewhere around Stoneham Colorado. I was in the states with a guy who has been a weather mentor to me, Notanee Bourassa (we call him the Weather Jedi). We were pulled over for a little while watching a couple different cells form and trying to figure out which would be the one to go after. A little while later one of the cells that wasn’t doing too much came over us with a good blast of rain. I was on the side of the grid road with the vehicle and he, with his sandles was standing on the other side. he called out to me to pick him up. Immediately I said what do you mean, you are right there? He laughed and said No, pick me up! In my mind (and keep in mind that I think at this point I have been up for well over 20 hours) I didn’t know what he meant so I called out to him.
No i’m not going to pick you up, just come over here!
Notanee then yelled back, Dude! get in the car and come get me i’m standing in a puddle and don’t want to bring all the mud into the vehicle!
I just started laughing, and said Ohhh! I thought you wanted me to CARRY you to the car, I was thinking to myself, what the hell is wrong with you?
It was a really funny moment!
GY: Where are some of the locations you have been besides the Yorkton area?
Ryan: I have chased all throughout Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Surprisingly enough, have yet to chase in Alberta.
In the states have chased storms in South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas & Montana.
GY: What are your future plans for this site - do you have anything exciting planned for the near future?
Ryan: I’ve got some really cool and exciting things going on with my Live Stream! I now have a map on my website with a car icon that tells you my exact location when I am out chasing. When it is pulsing, that means I am streaming live video.
With that said, my stream is now also available on a very popular and well respected American Storm Chasing Live streaming website called Severe Studios ( http://www.severestudios.com/livechase/ ) as well as the ZoomRadar.com website!
The good folks at Zoom Radar have actually just a couple weeks ago released a free app for mobile devices called “ZoomRadar Storm Chasers” as well as another one called “MyRadar Weather Radar” and Severe Studios has one that is currently “in the works” so now you can watch my stream from anywhere!
Mid May I am also heading back down to Tornado Alley, but this time with a team from Alberta called Shear WX.
GoYorkton would like to thank Ryan for his time, and wish him well this storm season. Keep up with Ryan and his exciting Storm Hunting,