Tuesday, August 25, 2009

StarFest? Or was that StormFest (TornadoFest)

We were fortunate...

As of this writing, Environment Canada has confirmed or listed as probable, 11 tornadoes on Thursday August 20th 2009. August 20th was also the first official day of StarFest where a tornado tore a destructive path approximately 5-10 kms from the site. One person, a child struck by debris had died and our thoughts are with the family. The town of Durham, Ontario was seriously damaged by this tornado, not to mention other tornadoes that struck just north of Toronto, destroying over 40 homes, although thankfully no one was injured or killed.

StarFest endured a powerful gust front from a second storm that roared through just after the tornadic storm struck the town of Durham. The gust front with heavy rains toppled a few scopes and also blew out some tents. Other were mildly flooded out. Our canopy was destroyed but our good quality sleeping tent stayed together without any damage. Still, the experience was a tad mind numbing and slightly traumatic when one thought how bad it could have been. The awful sound of the gust front made one very aware of how vulnerable we really were. Pushed into a corner with nowhere to go except to just ride this thing out was disconcerting at best. With wonky internet and a failure in the Weatheradio Canada Mount Forest Repeater, we were essentially blind.

StarFest was mainly rained or clouded out with brief periods of observing. I do have pics from the star party, also pics under investigation from the storm that preceded the storm that hit us. You can check out my pics of StarFest here and pics of the storm here



  1. Hey Marc I am glad you are safe and well. So sad to hear about the results of nature when it is angry. I feel sad for the family..........as a dad I can only imagine the heartache!

    I wanted to tell you that your nature shots are awesome. You are one talented fellow with that camera!

    Congrats on the wonderful telescope buy....neat outreach scope there partner!

  2. It was tough on the nerves afterward and as we were cleaning up, the news started to trickle in about the child being killed, tornadoes just north of Toronto, it felt surreal as it unfolded. Not a nice feeling to say the least.

    Had the fleet out for the Jupiter double transit last night, going to post about that later tonight!