July 29, 2011 — Storm Hunter Mark Robinson is back with dramatic footage from Tornado Alley this year. Learn more about Mark and his passion for severe weather.
Mark Robinson, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, has been chasing storms for 10 years.
After being in Tornado Alley this year he says the split between pure beauty and destruction from the powerful storms was unforgettable.
To give you a sneak peek at Mark's latest adventures, he answered these questions about his passion for severe weather.
What can we expect from you this time?
It was an amazing year for just sheer beauty of the storms. But the other half of it was absolute destruction. This was one of the most damaging years in the United States, probably for the last 50 years. There was the F4 and the F5 that cut through Oklahoma City and of course all of the damage in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. I also took a look at the destruction path of the Joplin F5 tornado and it was honestly one of the most devastating things I've ever seen.
On the other hand however, I saw the perfect tornado from a chaser's point of view. It was gorgeous, beautiful and I saw the whole life cycle of the tornado. It didn't do any damage so it was the absolute perfect tornado.
How did you get into storm hunting?
As a kid, I was terrified of thunderstorms. They would crop up, and I would go hide under my bed. Until one year, when I was much younger, we saw an incredible thunderstorm from the safety of the Toronto Zoo. We were actually in one of the pavilions underground, and we were able to watch this whole storm go by. It just absolutely fascinated me. Finally, in 2000, I found out that you can actually go storm chasing in southern Ontario.
Why do you run towards the storm when most people are running away from it?
That reminds me of every time I go into a hurricane. There are two million cars headed north and three cars headed south -- and one of those is me. It's something I live for. It's just an amazing feeling to be up close to these titanic storms -- be they thunderstorms or hurricanes -- and to be able to see Mother Nature at her most beautiful, and her most deadly.
What does your wife say when you say: I'm going to chase a tornado or a hurricane?
She's been out on a few tornado chases with me, actually. She loves it because, being an artist, she loves to see the incredible drama of the storms and how beautiful they are. And they've actually inspired her to do a few pieces. But she hasn't come on a hurricane chase yet.
What advice do you have for people who are interested in storm hunting?
Go on a tour group before you try to do it yourself. It took me years of learning to do this. It can be incredibly dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.