Storm chasers are amped for the start of the season on the Canadian prairies, and Saskatchewan is a prime spot to witness wicked weather.
Braydon Morisseau, with the Prairie Storm Chasers, has been in the scene for 15 years. He spends a lot of his summers in the 306 area code.
"I'm from Alberta. I'm born and raised and I've been here for 32 years. And my favorite place to chase, even including the States, I'd have to pick Saskatchewan."
Morisseau said there were a couple of ways Saskatchewan stands out.
"The road network and the almost intimate time that you have with these storms," he said. "For example, we could forecast an event and be out there. Saskatchewan's the 'Land of the Living Skies,' and it lives up to that name every summer."
Morisseau, who signed on as a freelancer to provide The Weather Network content over the summer, said sometimes he's the only person pursuing a severe storm through Saskatchewan's grid roads.
His favourite weather event started out as a storm in southeast Saskatchewan before crossing into southwest Manitoba, where it turned into the July 27, 2015 EF-2 tornado that hit Pierson and Tilston, Man. You can find video of the twister from Morisseau below.
Storm chasers are currently gearing up for the season. Morisseau will be picking up his Jeep from Calgary and putting on an array of parts over the weekend.
They include a Campbell scientific anemometer, a Stevenson screen with the temperature, humidity, and dew point, a Garmin GPS for elevation, and a marine-style GPS that takes the vehicle's direction into account so it can give accurate readings during travel. There's also a data logger that measures pressure, and an iPad to display real-time data.
"We use a variation of forecast models available online," said Morisseau, explaining how they map out their trips. "So we're just looking for that environment conducive of the supercell thunderstorm. A great way to explain it is 'MIST' - so moisture instability, shear, and trigger."
It stands to reason that a storm chaser would enjoy witnessing the storms. But Morisseau said there's much more than that that he loves about the gig.
"The build up is really exciting - being able to chat and meet up with friends on the road. You're going out and you're meeting up with friends and you're sometimes waiting in the field all day and maybe you won't even see storms, but you get to meet up with everybody that shares this passion for weather and we play Frisbee or go for drinks at the restaurant."
He added that it's hard to beat a drive to a location where a storm is likely to brew, with the windows down and music rocking.
Morisseau said he wasn't excelling in school when he was younger, but really engaged through weather. He started learning how to forecast, went on a tornado tour in the United States with a company called Extreme Tornado Tours that was associated with Reed Timmer from the Discovery Channel storm chasers.
"When I graduated, I went down with my buddy's dad, who was also interested in weather, and we went and storm chased for a few days. We didn't see a whole lot, but it was just. taking a lot in and being able to see the energy that goes into storms down in Tornado Alley."
The next year the tour company was short a person, and asked Morisseau to join them as a guide.
"So I went down and ended up doing that for a couple of years and learned a plethora about how to storm chase and the forecasting side, especially working with Dave Holder. He was a meteorologist that was on as a tour guide as well."
Morisseau said there is a lot of material available online for people looking to get into storm chasing. He specifically referenced Tornado Titans on YouTube. Tours in the States are another way he said people can get immersed in the scene.
He added that it's easy for someone to hop in their vehicle and follow a storm, as long as it's from a safe distance.