The Weather with Connor

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featuring Connor Mockett

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another week of The Weather with Connor. This week I’d like to talk about one of the more fun chases I’ve been on in my chasing career. This column will be the story of that day, from start to finish, and how it went down.

The day is June 30th, 2023. We’re in Alberta along the Foothills for a pretty hyped up Prairies severe weather day. I started the day by going over the weather models that are available out there, and picking my target. My target ended up being one of my favourite gas stations in Alberta, the Shell station just north of Cochrane on HWY 22. That gas station has seen many “sit and wait” games. Incredible snack selection inside the store. Lots of nice property around to play frisbee in while waiting for storms.

Anyways, we waited and waited there, and finally a storm started to come off the Foothills near Sundre after it had been percolating overtop of the Foothills for awhile. We hopped back on HWY 22 to go north for about 40 minutes to get a closer look at the developing supercell.

We got right up next to it. At this point it was in its early stages, still developing and not all that organized. It was moving slowly as well, so we were able to sit right next to it and watch it slowly try and get its act together. A couple of lightning strikes and a spike in rain activity later on would tell us that it’s trying to get itself going.

We followed that storm as it moved incredibly slowly for probably 2 hours. It was really struggling in the area that it was, which was near Shantz and Didsbury, Alberta, because the wind shear in that area was not strong enough to support it. It always had the shape of wanting to get its act together, but it just couldn’t do it, so we actually left that storm and went to a different storm further south near Crossfield on Trans Canada HWY 2.

This is the storm that made this day really fun.

We started driving towards it and noticed it really getting itself together as it came into Crossfield and went through town. I knew I would have to do a “core punch” on this storm, meaning driving through all of the precipitation to get to the other side of the storm to have a better view unshrouded by rain and hail. Of course, with storms in that part of the country, hail is oftentimes the main story, which is why I found this so fun.

Listen, alright? I’ve always wanted hail dents in my chasing vehicle. It’s an unexplainable chaser thing. It’s like a token of success, but instead of a token, it’s dents. So with that in mind, I core punched. Golf ball sized hail was raining down on us. It was loud. I was smiling so hard my cheeks were sore after. It was so much fun, that I actually decided to go back north through the core again, and then back south through it for a 3rd time. It was incredible, I really wanted those dents, guys. Unfortunately, the dents didn’t happen. The hail was big, but also a bit softer, so no dents for me. I’m still searching for those.

After going back south through the core the 3rd time, we stayed south of the storm to actually properly chase it, like a regular storm chaser who isn’t insane would do (oh who am I kidding, I’m insane). This is where this storm got super beautiful.

At this point, there are a ton of other chasers on this storm. We’re seeing a bunch of them parked on the side of the road, watching and loving what they’re seeing, as was I. It was turning into something you’d never see in Ontario, one of those flying saucer supercells, rotating away over beautiful green Alberta fields to the east of Crossfield, Alberta.

This photo of the “flying saucer” supercell made it into my 2024 calendars, which are filled with storm and sunset photos from the 2023 summer chasing season. Speaking of calendars, if you’d like one of my calendars, please email me at [email protected], or message me on my Facebook page.

Thanks for reading!

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