Greg Johnson, Chris Chittick, and Ricky Forbes are the Tornado Hunters.
They have a plan, and it's simple. They're going to find the biggest, baddest tornadoes in North America, and head straight for them. If they can keep four wheels on the ground, they'll capture the world's best, most extreme storm imagery, and turn their passion for storm chasing into one hell of a way to make a living.
After an incredibly successful 2014 chasing season—and an encounter with twin tornadoes, the "holy grail" of storm footage—expectations are higher than ever for the guys in Canada's only full-time storm-chasing business. Their quest for one-of-a-kind footage of the world's most violent storms will take them up, down, and all across Tornado Alley, following on the heels of storms that at any moment could turn from photogenic to tragic.
Of course, not every day brings a tornado, so on their down time, they make pit-stops in Mississippi to handle snakes, learn some much-needed desert survival skills in Arizona, and take a side-trip to Florida to chase waterspouts. When the lifeblood of your business is extreme weather imagery, building and maintaining a reputation for edge-of-your-seat adventure is part of the game.
As some of the most successful storm chasers in the business, the Tornado Hunters are no strangers to extreme weather or extreme danger. But not all the perils of chasing come from Mother Nature—wedding bells, financial worries, and growing rivalries mean the team must continually deal with the pressures of real life while aiming themselves right at the 300 mile-per-hour winds of an EF5 tornado and saying "let's go."
Runtime: None minutes
Tornado Hunters - 2011 Hackleburg–Phil Campbell, Alabama tornado - Netflix
The 2011 Hackleburg–Phil Campbell, Alabama tornado was a violent, long-track EF5 wedge tornado that devastated several towns in northern Alabama, United States, before tearing through the northern suburbs of Huntsville and causing damage in rural portions of southern Tennessee on the afternoon and early evening of April 27, 2011. It was the deadliest tornado of the 2011 Super Outbreak, the largest tornado outbreak in United States history. The tornado reached a maximum width of 1.25 miles (2.01 km) and was estimated to have had peak winds of 210 mph (340 km/h). The tornado killed 72 people, making it the deadliest tornado in Alabama history, and injured at least 145 others. It was the deadliest tornado to strike the U.S. since the Udall, Kansas tornado of 1955 until the catastrophic tornado on May 22, 2011, which killed 158 people in Joplin, Missouri.
Tornado Hunters - Meteorological synopsis - Netflix
The environmental conditions leading up to the April 2011 Super Outbreak were among the “most conducive to violent tornadoes ever documented”. On April 25, a vigorous upper-level shortwave trough moved into the Southern Plains states. Ample instability, low-level moisture, and wind shear all fueled a significant tornado outbreak from Texas to Tennessee; at least 64 tornadoes touched down on this day. An area of low pressure consolidated over Texas on April 26 and traveled east while the aforementioned shortwave trough traversed the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys. Another 50 tornadoes touched down on this day. The multi-day outbreak culminated on April 27 with the most violent day of tornadic activity since the 1974 Super Outbreak. Multiple episodes of tornadic activity ensued with two waves of mesoscale convective systems in the morning hours followed by a widespread outbreak of supercells from Mississippi to North Carolina during the afternoon into the evening. Activity on April 27 was precipitated by a 995 mbar (hPa; 29.39 inHg) surface low situated over Kentucky and a deep, negatively tilted (aligned northwest to southeast) trough over Arkansas and Louisiana. A strong southwesterly surface jet intersected these systems at a 60° angle, an ageostrophic flow that led to storm-relative helicity values in excess of 500 m2s−2—indicative of extreme wind shear and a very high potential for rotating updrafts within supercells. Ample moisture from the Gulf of Mexico was brought north across the Deep South, leading to daytime high temperatures of 77 to 81 °F (25 to 27 °C) and dewpoints of 66 to 72 °F (19 to 22 °C). Furthermore, convective available potential energy (CAPE) values reached 2,500–3,000 J/kg−1.
Tornado Hunters - References - Netflix