Welcome to stormchasers.co.nz. A website dedicated to thunderstorms and associated phenomena in New Zealand. Below gives a bit of information about the core members of this website and what they are all about.
Hi there, my name is Aaron Wilkinson and I head up stormchasers.co.nz. Like most people I’ve always held a general interest in the weather, this grew into an appreciation of thunderstorms especially around the time I was 11 years old. Every time a thunderstorm would pop up or be mentioned in a forecast I’d have my eye’s peeled looking for any action that may eventuate that day. When I was 17 years old a nasty thunderstorm moved over Christchurch on the 27th October 2002 and my interest grew even more, golf ball sized hail fell that day particularly in the southern areas of Christchurch causing damage. And the major event of the day was a tornado that formed in the Tai Tapu area, I saw this thing on the news and thought it looked amazing! I had to find out more, so began my quest to find out about the weather in detail and storms of course! I managed to track down the person who filmed the tornado that evening on the news and it was none other then one half of the New Zealand Thunderstorm Society, John Gaul, probably one of the first people in New Zealand who would chase thunderstorms as it were. John is still a good friend to this day. My interest grew in that I became a weather forecaster for Blueskies Weather in 2005 for 4 years. Early on I managed to get my good mate Stephen Burrows interested in thunderstorms and now he loves them as much as me! These days I’m still as interested in storms as ever and I’ve also over the years been trying to hone my photography skills to capture unique images of thunderstorms in none other then the land of the long white cloud.
I hope you enjoy this website as much as I’ve chased all these various storms! Cheers, Aaron.
03stormchaser (Steve) has been chasing the plains (in this case the Canterbury Plains) since about 2004. It isn’t surprising if he racks up a few thousand Km every spring / summer just to view an even marginal set up. Although a tornado in Canterbury is rare, 03 has witnessed a number of funnel clouds. Chasing has taken Steve to the USA in 2007, Darwin and the Northern Territories in Dec 2010.
Steve and I are looking forward to the 2013 / 2014 chase season, meanwhile this winter could produce a few snowy events which are always a bit of fun. We’ll have to see what happens!
The New Zealand Thunderstorm Society
So what is this society that sometimes gets mentioned? Well it’s not a thing where we have formal meetings every 3 months or so presided over by a president with a gavel in hand. The New Zealand Thunderstorm Society was and still is an informal group of people who get together infrequently to have a chat about the weather and mainly thunderstorms of course. It was started by John Gaul a while back now who worked most of his earlier days as a train engineer and for a very long time there were just two members, himself and Bob Crowder (former Lincoln University senior lecturer in horticulture and founder of the university’s organic Biological Husbandry Unit). These days due to the advent of the internet other’s have started to come out of the woodwork. If you would ever like to come along to a meeting keep an eye on the New Zealand Weather Forum as if anything is to happen it’ll get mentioned there, they are very infrequent catch ups though so one has to keep an eye out. Here’s a video below of John and Bob when they were interviewed by Gary McCormick for the Heartland series. Apologies about the quality, it’s been dubbed off a VHS tape from years ago.
Others who have contributed to this website at times for various reports over the years are Steven Williams who chases / observes storms around the upper half of the North Island. Also Steven Graham, Jason Tippet, Mike Stewart and Ben Rodriguez who go out chasing storms around Canterbury.