The Nature of Things·Video

This armoured vehicle and its crew chase high winds to predict tornadoes on Canada's prairies

The Prairie Storm Chasers have turned a passion into a life-saving mission.

The Prairie Storm Chasers have turned a passion into a life-saving mission.

These storm chasers track tornadoes in the Dominator: Wild Canadian Weather

2 years ago
Duration 4:29
A passion for the weather fuels the Prairie Storm Chasers who drive around in an aerodynamic vehicle that looks as if it belongs to Darth Vader, and issue warnings to the public.

Every year, about 80 tornadoes touch down in Canada. These devastating winds are spawned from supercells, massive spinning storms that form when hot summer air breaks into the cold atmosphere. 

While satellites are often used to forecast the weather it can be impossible to see tornadoes this way — the clouds are too thick. So, the only way to get reliable tornado warnings is to get close. 

The Prairie Storm Chasers are here to help. In Wild Canadian Weather, we meet the team of weather enthusiasts who spend their summers chasing tornadoes and reporting them to Environment Canada. But they need to be careful — tornadoes can produce winds up to 500 km/h. So, they've created the perfect vehicle to assist: the "Dominator."

This vehicle has an aerodynamic shape to hold it to the ground, ballistic grade glass and reinforced armour plating to deflect flying debris, making it the perfect ride into the centre of the storm.

These storm chasers are out in the worst winds to protect others. They are responsible for about 70 per cent of all tornado warnings on the prairies, saving many lives. 

Watch the video above for the full story.

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