Storm chaser Ricky Forbes of the Tornado Hunters team took time with students of Red Deer schools last week, exciting them with tales of adventure from the field.
Tornado Hunters is a Canadian television show broadcast on CMT that explores extreme weather seen across North America. The Saskatchewan-based team consists of driver Ricky Forbes, photographer Greg Johnson and videographer Chris Chittick.
The team travels through Tornado Alley, a region of Canada and the United States famous for extreme weather, searching for storms and tornadoes to capture and share. As well, they take time to present severe weather information sessions at schools.
Forbes was excited to be able to speak to the students of St. Teresa of Avila and Camille Lerouge last week.
“To get opportunities like these, coming into schools, was never expected. This was always a hobby for us, but to see it come to this is a dream come true,” Forbes said.
“It’s one of those times that a passion has turned into a job and I know that it’s cheesy to say if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life but it really feels like we’ve achieved that. This isn’t work to me. Storm chasing isn’t work to me. It’s just a lot of fun.
“I know how fortunate we are to do this and it’s really cool to be able to appreciate the opportunity this is.”
Forbes gave two Red Deer presentations that explore extreme weather situations and explained to kids what it means to be a storm chaser. Forbes showed photos, videos and information of the kinds of storms the group chases and was eager to share his passion with the kids.
“Coming to schools is one of the best parts of the job,” he said.
“When I get to come to schools, first and foremost I get to do some severe weather education. I get to teach the kids what to do in the rare scenarios when these storms do come their way. The storms are rare in the city because they usually happen in open spaces, but when the chance does come, the kids can use this knowledge. It’s nice to know that you’ve helped one or two people be able to know what to do.
“Most importantly to me, I get to share the passion I have for storm chasing with the kids. Out in the field, I work with two other guys and we only get to share this passion with each other. When I get to come to schools and share it with hundreds or thousands of kids, it’s awesome.”
Forbes explained the various duties of a storm chaser, from studying severe weather, to photos and videography, and alerting local authorities of severe weather patterns. Additionally, he got to share some safety tips and guidelines with the kids about how to safely approach severe weather.
The presentations are an engaging way for students to become aware of severe weather and the people who document these instances.
“They go from not knowing what a storm chaser or tornado hunter is, but at the end, they’re so amped up about storm chasing that they want to try it.”
Tornado Hunters is presented each Sunday on CMT. Currently, Tornado Hunters are the only professional Canadian storm chasing group, as well as the only storm chasers in the world with a television show.
Forbes said he is happy to share his experience with students and continuously looks forward to school presentations.