Storm chaser David Chapman provides first-hand look of all things storms
This area behind a shelf cloud is where cold air from the storm is sinking and meeting the warm air in front of the storm leading to turbulent skies. (David Chapman/Special to the Sentinel-Review)
Head into the eye of the storm – from a safe distance.
Wednesday night at 7 p.m., local residents can join professional storm chaser and photographer David Chapman at the Woodstock Public Library and experience the life cycle of thunderstorms through a presentation explaining the affects storms have in Ontario.
Chapman, of Beamsville, said that the presentation will provide a look at every aspect of a thunderstorm, from the garden variety cumulonimbus cloud to a tornadic supercell.
“It's a really unique aspect to see how a storm evolves. They'll get to see the lightning aspect as well as dust fronts and shelf clouds.”
The presentation will conclude with a viewing of a tornado from start to finish, which Chapman captured in August 2013 in the Arthur area.
While he normally chases storms in the Niagara and Great Lake regions, he says that southwestern Ontario, Norwich in particular, has grabbed his attention in the recent months.
He said that Norwich produces funnel clouds when you would think it doesn't have any business doing so.
Southwestern Ontario has a history of tornadoes with six touching down between 1848 and 1914. In Norwich, an F4 tornado ripped through the village in 1979 and an F2 caused destruction in 1998.
“There does seem to be something about that area to spin out more (tornadoes),” he said.
Chapman explained that the region has the best clash between cool lake breezes and warm moist air.
“You would think the lakes would help increase the moisture in the air. But because it's a cooler body, you don’t get as much evaporation, or lift, off a big body of water compared to land. It heats in up in Norwich and the cooler breeze from Lake Erie causes instability.”
The presentation Wednesday night will be Chapman's last for a while as he heads into storm chasing season.
For more information, visit naturebirdsandweather.com.