President Ed Herold called the meeting to order at 9:55 AM.
There were 37 members + 1 guest Fred Nelson + 1 speaker Mark Robinson
Warren Gregg was given the floor to announce that the VON were in desperate need of volunteer drivers
For driving patients to appointments and delivering food
You manage your own time by saying when you are available
He has found it very rewarding
VON organized 23,000 rides in the last year
It is volunteer although you do get a mileage allowance to cover car expenses
Andy Curtis announced Coffee mornings on alternate Thurs at Symposium Café and the Airport Café Ray Biffis announced the Annual Luncheon on Apr 5 at $15 – Lasagna + salad Julian Sale introduced the Speaker Mark Robinson – a meteorologist from The Weather Network who specializes in chasing extreme weather. Mark also has his own website www.stormhunter.ca Julian indicated that Mark had had about 6 hours sleep in the last 3 days since he has been busy documenting the ice jams and flooding along the Grand River. Mark has been studying and chasing storms for 17 years. He recounted how he go into it. It was a Tornado which passed quite close to Guelph while he was studying at U of Guelph that got him started. His talk was Titled – Things That Could Kill Me Mark went on to recount his experiences with hurricanes, fires, tornados, volcanoes, floods, Artic/Antarctica iceberg flipping, polar bears, hail, and lightning – all of which could have potentially killed him. He shared with us some amazing photos of extreme weather. Unfortunately our computer could not run his videos although there was hardly time for those and his talk was no less interesting without them. Super Cell Thunderstorms
Can be a mile wide and they can spawn tornados
Tops can be 60,000 ft which is higher than commercial planes can fly so they have to navigate around them
Air can move up at 120 mph so they can be very dangerous for aircraft
They can cover an area the size of Ottawa and dump a lot of rain
Are You Safe in a Car?
Yes it is not because of the rubber tires as most people believe
It is because the metal shell of the car channels the lightning around the passenger compartment to the ground.
Tornado Strength Rating System - EF0 to EF5
EF5, the strongest rating, has been recorded once in Canada just outside Winnipeg – picked up an entire house and moved a minivan over 1 km
He used Trinity Church auditorium as reference to the scale
EF0 we would hardly notice it inside the church and there would be virtually no damage
EF1 – window would start to blow out
EF2 – the roof would start to rip off
EF3 – most of the roof would be gone
EF4 – it can pick up trains and cars with winds peaking at 475 km – serious external and internal damage to the church
EF5 – the auditorium would be destroyed – some might survive in the washroom
Mark recounted a heart wrenching story of a strip mall which was hit by a tornado. Two young day care attendants (age about 24) got the kids under mattresses and then put themselves on top of the mattresses. The mall was flattened and the roof fell on them. All kids survived and one of the day care attendant had 22 stiches in her back but both survived. Unbelievable when you saw the damage.
Tornados kill 40 people worldwide per year but get a lot of press because of the severity of the damage albeit in a relatively small area.
Worldwide there are about 1400 tornados per year
Up to 1300 in the USA
And believe it or not, Canada is second in the world with about 60 per year.
The cause about $5 billion per year in damage
Hurricanes on the other hand have killed hundreds and in 2017 they caused $292 billion in damage
Hurricanes has a similar 0 to 5 scale although they are called Category
Hurricane Hazel in 1954 caused huge flood damage mostly because flood controls were not in place. Flood controls build since then have prevented serious flooding even with events with more rain than Hurricane Hazel
Mark has personally covered 17 Hurricanes
He has entered into 3 volcanoes in Africa – the biggest danger are the lethal gases
In the future, the costs of extreme weather are going to increase rapidly.
40% of the US population is near the coast and the population growth in coastal areas is growing at 8% per year. With more severe hurricanes and rising water levels, storm damage is going to be astronomical
Climate change and improper land use is going to increase the frequency and intensity of Wildfires
In 2017 there were 17 major wildfires in the US with over $1 billion in damages.
As for Guelph, it has seen EF4 tornados in the area in the past but not for a long time – we might be due.
Q. Who owns The Weather Network? A It is privately owned but big networks keep making offers to buy it.
Q. Does a river have an effect in creating storms? A. No, unless it is VERY big
Q. What are the chances of major flooding in Guelph? A. Guelph only has tributaries of the Grand River and most buildings are fairly high up from the river banks. Plus Guelph and upstream areas have very good flood control
Q. Why did you choose to become as Storm Chaser? A Mark was terrified of thunderstorms as a kid so was always interested in them. First from fear, then from an academic interest. When young his father took him to see the damage of a tornado path and that always stuck with him
Q What are you going to do in your upcoming trip to Nepal? A Documenting earthquake damages
Q. Are Typhoons bigger than hurricanes? A. They are not stronger (they have the same rating system) but they can cover a much larger area.
Ed Herold thanked the speaker for such a fascinating talk. Our questions could have continued but Mark had a conference call he had to take.
Ed then announced the next speaker as Ray Biffis, and then closed the meeting at 11:12am