History of Hurricane Chasing:


Feb 12, 2020
Eastern NC
Hi! This will constitute my very first post on this forum. I've taken some time to peruse the site, and am impressed with the excellent content contained herein. As such, I look forward to communicating with many of you in the near future!

The main purpose of this thread is to ask for any assistance one might be able to provide in helping me compile a complete and most accurate accounting regarding the history of hurricane chasing. I've already communicated with a few of you, and am most grateful for the thoughtful assistance; mainly your willingness to share your own complete hurricane chase record.

Ultimately, I'd like to write a book on this particular subject matter. It would mainly be focused on the history of hurricane chasing for the U.S. mainland, although I do intend to briefly touch on a few significant interceptions outside the mainland, as well.

Here's what I've been able to assemble thus far:

In short, I want to humbly ask for the pertinent information regarding the chasing history/record for all veteran chasers, as it relates to the following:

1) When was your first official hurricane chase attempt?

For many of us, our initial chase wasn't necessarily a successful one - if intercepting the central core (eyewall) is the standard by which it is judged. For instance, my very first chase consisted of a thirty-mile expedition to the SC/NC border to experience Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Unfortunately, I was restricted by my parents from crossing that border, and the eyewall remained too far south of my chase location. Hurricane experiences at ones home, prior to the initiation of a first chase attempt, are excluded.

2) Total number of hurricane eyewall experiences and the specific city or town where you experienced the worst effects. This includes any hurricane eyewalls you might've experienced at your home prior to your chase career. For instance, Jim Leonard had two hurricane eyewall experiences, as a child, preceding his legendary chase career.

3) Please notate which of the aforementioned hurricanes also coincided with a penetration of the "eye."

4) Please list any chase partners who accompanied you on a particular hurricane chase, if relevant.

For Example:

1) First hurricane chase: Michelle 2001 (Islamorda, FL)

2) All Hurricane Eyewall Experiences:

Isabel 2003 (Morehead City, NC)
Charley 2004 (Punta Gorda, FL) *
Frances 2004 (Ft. Pierce, FL) *
Jeanne 2004 (Ft. Pierce, FL) *
Gustav 2008 (Morgan City, LA) *
Ike 2008 (Galveston, TX) *
Irene 2011 (Atlantic Beach, NC) *
Sandy 2012 (CNJ Coast)
Hermine (Perry, FL) *
Matthew 2016 (Daytona Beach, FL)
Irma 2017 (Naples, FL) *
Florence 2018 (Wilmington, NC) *
Michael 2018 (Callaway, FL) *

* denotes an "eye" penetration

Important note: The western-most edge of Sandy's large eyewall hit the central NJ coastline just prior to being reclassified as an ET system. As a result, I'm counting Sandy as a legitimate eyewall intercept.

The list provided above characterizes the hurricane experiences of veteran chaser, Jason Foster. His totals are as follows:

13 eyewalls/5 majors/10 eyes

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this rather lengthy post, and I look forward to communicating with many of you, very soon! :)

Most sincerely,
Jan 14, 2011
St. Louis
Thanks for posting, this should be an interesting thread. I'd agree with 2002 being the end of one era and 2003 being the start of the "explosion" of new hurricane chasers. I'm part of the latter, and I can't remember any tropical system being such a buzz in the general chaser community (WX-CHASE, Stormtrack, etc) before Isabel.

1.) 2003 Hurricane Isabel with Bill Coyle of Virginia Beach. We experienced the eyewall and eye between Washington and Windsor, North Carolina, although at 80 miles inland - we did not want to venture out onto the vulnerable Outer Banks.

Isabel (2003) Windsor, NC *
Frances (2004) Fort Pierce, FL*
Ivan (2004) Mobile, AL
Rita (2005) Beaumont, TX
TS Ernesto (2006) (just shy of Cat 1) Carolina Beach, NC
Michael (2018) Panama City, FL

5 eyewalls/3 majors/2 eyes
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Feb 12, 2020
Eastern NC
Thank you, Dan! It's likely that Ernesto (2006) was a 65 kt hurricane at landfall. The NHC stated the following in the TCR: "Since it is possible, however, that the maximum wind was not sampled, Ernesto might have reached hurricane strength near North Carolina."

Consequently, I'm going to consider that a legitimate hurricane intercept. That translates to revised totals of 6/3/2.

Btw, you did a fantastic job documenting Michael in Panama City!
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Jun 12, 2004
Sunrise, Florida
I also have a rather lengthy list (as of 2020)...

...Also can be seen in detail at the link here: http://www.sky-chaser.com

1). Hurricane Floyd In October 1987
2). Tropical Storm Keith In November 1988
3). Tropical Storm Klaus In October 1990
4). Tropical Storm Marco In October 1990
5). Hurricane Andrew In August 1992
6). Tropical Storm Gordon In November 1994
7). Hurricane Erin In August 1995
8). Tropical Storm Jerry In August 1995
9). Hurricane Georges In September 1998
10). Tropical Storm Mitch In November 1998
11). Hurricane Floyd In September 1999
12). Tropical Storm Harvey In September 1999
13). Hurricane Irene In October 1999
14). Hurricane Gordon In September 2000
15). Tropical Storm Gabrielle In September 2001
16). Hurricane Michelle In November 2001
17). Hurricane Lili In October 2002
18). Tropical Storm Bonnie In August 2004
19). Hurricane Charley In August 2004
20). Hurricane Frances In September 2004
21). Hurricane Ivan In September 2004
22). Hurricane Jeanne In September 2004
23). Hurricane Dennis In July 2005
24). Hurricane Katrina In August 2005
25). Hurricane Rita In September 2005
26). Hurricane Wilma In October 2005
27). Tropical Storm Alberto In June 2006
28). Tropical Storm Barry In June 2007
29). Tropical Storm Noel In October 2007
30). Tropical Storm Fay In August 2008
31). Hurricane Gustav In September 2008
32). Hurricane Ike In September 2008
33). Tropical Storm Bonnie In July 2010
34). Hurricane Igor In September 2010
35). Hurricane Irene In August 2011
36). Hurricane Isaac In August 2012
37). Hurricane Sandy In October 2012
38). Tropical Storm Andrea In June 2013
39). Hurricane Arthur In July 2014
40). Hurricane Hermine In September 2016
41). Hurricane Matthew In October 2016
42). Hurricane Harvey In August 2017
43). Hurricane Irma In September 2017
44). Hurricane Maria In September 2017
45). Hurricane Nate In October 2017
46). Tropical Storm Gordon In September 2018
47). Hurricane Florence In September 2018
48). Hurricane Michael In October 2018
49). Hurricane Dorian In September 2019
50). Tropical Storm Marco In August 2020
51). Hurricane Laura In August 2020
52). Hurricane Delta In October 2020

Bill Hark

Jan 13, 2004
Richmond Virginia
Interesting thread! Thanks for posting and the comments. Tbrite, are you still working on a longer version of your history and a book? Don't forget to contact Mike Theiss, Scott Mcpartland and Dave Lewison and Jim Reed who have had some notable intercepts.