Chasing Dennis

Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
160
Location
Denton, TX
Hey everyone,
I was just curious who will be going after Dennis when it makes landfall? Darin Brunin and I are hoping to make the drive down to intercept this thing, but unfortunatily neither of us know too much about hurricane intercepting. We are trying to maybe find someone who's intercepted a few hurricanes before to meet up with.
 
Ill be going after this one only if it is looks to be large and it looks like it will come ashore durring the day. Im in boston at the moment... that meens a flight to say atlanta or maybe houston.... and still a long drive after that.

bring lots of extra gas... you can never have too much gas.

My biggest concern last year was not getting arrested. The mobile AL cops especially were real dicks.
 
I think I might end up heading down there. I will know for sure tomorrow. This is going to be my first hurricane so I don't know much about intercepting them. I have been worried about dealing with the cops down there. I would be a little more than pissed off if I drove all the way down there only to be escorted out by the police.
 
I think we chose a poor initial position for ivan though... We were right next to this sign thats like 'sheriffs station, next right'.

wont be doing that again. Ive been going over ways to avoid police interference like what occured durring ivan. The more weather related stuff thats sticking out the top of your vehicle or painted on the sides will probably help to convince them to leave you alone, if they happen to find you. Your best bet is to not be seen, I think. Also positions that contain few commercial buildings would meen cops are less concerned about you being a potential looter. And if its daytime thats a big plus too i bet.
 
Originally posted by Michael Gribble
I would be a little more than pissed off if I drove all the way down there only to be escorted out by the
police.

From the initial contacts I have made since I'm hired out for this, if Dennis hits the same area as Ivan, your SOL if your going to try to get near
the area.

From what I have been hearing, with the amount of destruction from Ivan, here is the scoop. If you don't live there, part of the government
search and rescue, law enforcement, A Government Research such as the DOWS and or your a real verifiable employed member of the media with real documentation that can be verified to back it up saying your suppose to be there for work to cover the story, you will be hauled off to a government locked down shelter.

If you have not already been through a major hurricane and your not going with someone that is experienced, your chances of getting hurt or
killed are high. If you do go and you do need help, your own your own.

There is NO 911 in the middle of a hurricane.

All you can do if your able to get a signal out when your in trouble is record your last words on tape like several people did in 2004.


For those of you thinking about making bogus press passes, if your caught, you will be arrested. Last year during Hurricane Jeanne, another
chaser from Nebraska whose first name is Chris, was in the same area as us during the eye of the storm. When the cops asked him who he
was and what he was doing there, he gave them a B.S. story. When they asked me a few minutes later, I thought they were talking about
Chris Colura from the weathervine group who was standing right next to me, and the cops said no, the other guy over there. When I told the
cops that the other Chris was some storm chaser from Nebraska down here just to be in the storm, they cuffed him for lying and for being out
during the curfew.

This is NOT A SUPER CELL CHASE. This is Moore OK 1999 but the whole state of OK for the size of the mess. If you don't know what your doing and not going with a group of people that have been through several hurricanes before, stay home because this is more dangerous then anything you can imagine since the area that its going to hit already
took a beating bad.

So if you want to go through a hurricane, I have no problem if anyone wants to go through it as long as they have an escape route and get a life vest and with someone that can show you the ropes. But the odds are, if the police catch you out during a curfew which sounds like it will be in place during the day and you don't have a reason for being out there, your going bye bye for your own safety. If the worst hits Florida again, yeah, your going to have a ton of cops all over the place.

Also, last year after all the hurricanes, the snakes are out in force and pissed off. Water Moccasin's were also out in force as were the gators.
After Ivan, in Gulf Shores, the EMS was going around shooting the gators that were on the streets and peoples yards. Why were they out of
the water? Fuel spills!
 
Originally posted by MClarkson
I thought this was the land of the free???

now we have cops telling us what weather we can or cannot witness?

I just got off the phone with the hotel in Pensacola to double check their height above sea level and the said that there is already talk about a
curfew.

Also just to double check things, I did call the Pensacola City Police Department (yes at 5:30 AM) and was told its probably going to be
county or several counties wide if their is a curfew.

If there is a curfew and your caught outside in the storm with no real reason for being out there your going to have two options, back to the
motel/hotel or off to a holding cell.

So if you think I'm trying to be a jerk, I'm not, I'm just warning everyone that once you step into the hurricane chase arena, toss the rules of storm chasing in Tornado Alley out the window because its totally different. This is not storm chasing, this is bunkering down in the middle of a massive natural disaster.
 
"If there is a curfew and your caught outside in the storm with no real reason for being out there your going to have two options, back to the
motel/hotel or off to a holding cell. "

ya, that is exactly what they told us durring ivan.

We didnt go back to any hotel though... we went to another positition that we had scouted that morning, a steel frame school. Ivan took that jog to the east just before landfall so we would have needed that reposition anyway, but the fact that it was forced upon us by police when we knew alot more about the situation than they did pissed me off.
 
Well, from the sounds of what I was told by the police and the hotel just this morning, there not going to be playing this time.

I guess all I can say if your not with EMS, NWS, Research like the DOWS or the media with press credentials, chase Dennis at your own
risk.

But if your going to be out in the hurricane just to be there and you get a cop having a bad day and your breaking curfew, oh well.
 
stay out of sight as much as possible, thats my advice to whoever chases this storm(if its worth chasing).

Or you could try to blend in. Your going to have to stay mobile because hurricanes wobble, so you probably wont be able to pinpoint a hotel to stay at durring the landfalling... but if you could drive to a hotels parking lot and pretend you are staying there... then you probably wont get screwed with by the local cops.
 
I agree with Doug. If you don't know that part of the country and have never chased a hurricane before, you don't have any business driving down there hoping for the best. I would never consider a hurricane intercept without chaining myself to my Weathervine pals who've been doing this for ten years--it really isn't anything like chasing supercells. There are an entirely different set of problems and priorities to deal with, and even though I've talked about hurricanes with Jeff, Chris, and Jason for many years, I've only learned enough to know that I don't know anything. Find someone who has done it before, then go. Ought to be a blast.
 
I've only chased one hurricane (Frances last year), but I think we experienced just about everything that could go wrong on a hurricane chase, short of being arrested. My best advice...think of everything that you could reasonably need while you're there...and then double it.

Gas...bring it...lots of it. One thing we weren't expecting in Frances was the 300-mile gas shortage up and down the FL coast. Food...without gas, we were forced to stay in shady motels without any power or nearby food. We were very fortunate to have some MRE's (Meals, Ready-to-Eat) that we got from a sporting supply place. We also had canned food and some sterno to heat it with. Even so, we still ran out towards day #3. Portable electricity...even if you don't have a generator, go buy a spare car battery. You can connect your inverter, cell phone, or whatever up to it to charge without worry of draining your car's battery.

We're planning to chase another hurricane this year, but it won't be Dennis...we're not prepared yet. Whatever you do, don't attempt going after one of these things if you're not prepared to live like you're out in the wilderness for a few days. The storm itself is but one of the potential problems you may run into...
 
Alright guys, I am all about safety, but give me a break. Do you think that anyone on here who has chased tornadic supercells isn't aware of the possible dangers involved with a hurricane? I know it is completely different. It is high winds that last a long time. There is flooding and there is debris. Amos, to say that someone has no business driving down there "hoping for the best" is an attempt to degrade someones planned chase into some sort of a thrill seeking "throw you bags in the car and let's go" boner trip. How did your weathervine pals do it the first time? Is this some sort of fraternity that passes from generation to generation? I have put a lot of thought into what to expect and how to be prepared. I appreciate any advice anyone has, even yours Amos, but I really don't think that chasing a hurricane is something that should not be done without an experienced chaser. Some of us (me included) don't have the luxury of having buddies who have chased hurricanes before. That just isn't an option for me. I am extremely worried about the police throwing me out, but I am working on possible solutions to that problem. I don't think it is neccessary to put "there is no 911" in bold. Anyone who is going to drive half way across the country to chase a hurricane has probably thought ahead that far. I think you guys are underestimating the preparedness of some of the people who are considering chasing Dennis. I appreciate the advice, but I am not going to follow that particular piece. If I don't chase Dennis, then I am going to chase a hurricane later this season and I have no intentions of becoming a cautionary tale.
 
Hurricane chasing is no where near the same as tornado chasing. It is much more difficult. I have been on quite a few hurricane chases. Dealing with the local law enforcement is probably one of the biggest problem with chasing. I don’t blame them. They are doing their job in protecting the public. If they did not enforce curfews, there would be a lot of people (mostly locals) putting themselves in very dangerous situations. It is a good idea to make friends with the local law enforcement. Let them know what you are doing, pass on any information about the storm to them, let them know you know what you are doing, but not in a way to degrade them. Always respect them.

In Isabel, I was hanging out at a park near the water for the night. Another car with chasers pulled in the same place. Late that night, the sheriff and several cop cars pulled in doing a sweep of the area. The other chasers were run out of the county. I talked it over with the sheriff and he let me go to the local police station. He said he couldn’t let me stay out, but he had food and beds available, and at 7am I would be free to go out. I took him up on his offer. The hurricane wasn’t going to make landfall until morning anyway. I got a nice free place to sleep, had access to TV and other information. I slept in the holding cell. They had evacuated all prisoners and only staff was there. We all had a slumber party.

The next day, I was out and about filming and ran across one of the cops who swept through the area the night before, He came at me yelling. He had recognized me from the night before. He said “Didn’t we tell you to leave the county?â€￾ I informed him that the sheriff let me stay. He called to check my story and then let me go.

I am not doing much hurricane chasing anymore. I will be in the area most likely right after the event to work with FEMA.
 
Of course, the more people with video camera's that can be kept out, the less competition there will be for video sales for some people too eh? :roll:
 
Michael,

Since you address me directly, I'll answer you directly. I think the choice to chase a hurricane when you have no experience doing so, don't know the area, are traveling alone, and have nobody with you who has done it before or even experienced a hurricane before, is exceptionally irresponsible. You're likely to wind up in trouble and cause additional danger to emergency services personnel or others. Sorry that isn't what you want to hear.

The Weathervine team were born and raised in South Florida and hurricanes are indigenous. They lived through many before they chased--including Andrew--and I think you'll find the same biography for most of the hurricane chasers we can all name. I would be surprised if any of them disagrees with what I wrote.

As for not knowing hurricane chasers, perhaps you can wait until you meet some. I didn't know Jeff Gammons the day I was born.

Maybe I represent the more cautious end of the spectrum. If so, I'm comfortable with that. But I have lived in South Florida, lived through a small hurricane, and I have known cane chasers long enough to know that it is more complicated than it appears.

That said, I wish you and anybody else who goes the best of luck and safe travels.
 
100% agree with Amos and doug. This is not the storm for your first hurricane chase. start small with tropical storms and work your way up so to speak.

My plan right now is to jsut wait and see. If its heads towards pensacola I'll probably just not even bother.
 
I was fortunate the first two hurricane chases I embarked on that nothing happened due to the things I wasn't expecting. The third one I was more than prepared for after experiencing the first two.

The food and gas shortages are more trouble than one would expect them to be. They are serious problems that put you in great risk of getting stranded in a danger zone with no food or water for days. During Isabel, we brought some snacks and a couple of Gatorades. If we hadn't made it out of the damage zone 16 hours later, dehydrated and starving, we'd have had to resort to finding a shelter to get basic survival neccessities. I ran into chasers during Frances who had run out of food the first day, with no stores open for hundreds of miles. I was also lucky that I didn't get any debris-caused flat tires during my hurricane intercepts, another thing that can strand you quickly.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong apart from the storm itself. That said, it IS fun, but be prepared for a lot more hardships than a typical Plains chase. And never go alone, even if you are experienced! This is like caving or mountain climbing. Teaming up for each other's safety is essential.
 
In some ways, could you not prepare for something like this (aside from the huge amount of water issue) much like you would for an extreme wilderness camping trip? In other words, take MORE than you think you would need of EVERYTHING with you and not expect to get any resources from the area at all? Go in being prepared to be TOTALLY self reliant.
 
Amos said...
"Since you address me directly, I'll answer you directly. I think the choice to chase a hurricane when you have no experience doing so, don't know the area, are traveling alone, and have nobody with you who has done it before or even experienced a hurricane before, is exceptionally irresponsible. You're likely to wind up in trouble and cause additional danger to emergency services personnel or others. Sorry that isn't what you want to hear."

First of all, there is no way that I am going to put myself in a situation where I would require emergency services. I found your comment stating otherwise to be borderline ridiculous. If I did ever get myself into a tough spot, I would not resort to requesting assistance from emergancy services when I put myself in the situation. I am fully prepared to take care of myself.
Like I said before Amos, is this some sort of fraternity that passes from generation to generation? Maybe what I am planning on doing is irresponsible. Maybe it isn't. It certainly isn't "exceptionally irresponsible" and I don't think you are any position to accurately make that call since the only thing you are going off of is the fact that I haven't chased a hurricane before. Especially when you yourself have never chased a hurricane.
"Don't know the area"? What does that have to do with anything? I plan on showing up plently early to scout the area before the hurricane hits. You have to be there early anyways. Experienced hurricane chasers have to go to places they are unfamiliar with virtually every time, so I don't get what not knowing the area has to do with anything.
As far as growing up some place as a prerequisite for knowing about the weather phenomenon that affect the region, I don't buy that either. I know a lot of people who have grown up in tornado alley and have tried to tell me that tornadoes won't cross rivers and hills.

Amos said...
" I have known cane chasers long enough to know that it is more complicated than it appears"

I have no illusions of this being a simple endeavor. I don't pretend to act like I fully understand what I am getting myself into nor do I take it lightly. I do believe that I am fully prepared to make it through a strong hurricane unharmed. I respect your opinion, but I think you are out of your element on this one.
 
I think with a little common sense you can chase any cane.

For my first hurricane chase last year, I brought 30 extra gallons of gas, food and water for 2 people for probably 10 days, one of those car battery rechargers, fix-a-flat, car chargers for all your electronics, backup cameras, cellphones, batteries lights, etc. For Ivan and Jeanne I upped the gas and basically left everything else alone. we had probably had an unrefueled range of 1300 miles. Thats like a drive from new york to miami.

Just stay away from dangerous things... large trees, power lines, and cops. For a major hurricane youll want to choose something really solid as a position.

oh ya get rainex...
 
Yes, you have brought up a good point. Bring LOTS of food and water. My last hurricane, I brought a cooler full of fruits, watter bottles, ice and sandwiches. I was stranded for a day due to trees down over all the roads, and slept in a shelter, but didn't take anything from the locals. When I was finally able to get out, I gave the remaining food and water to some locals.
 
Originally posted by David Drummond
Of course, the more people with video camera's that can be kept out, the less competition there will be for video sales for some people too eh? :roll:


Well it's obvious that you did not read the first line of the first post so let me reprint it in BOLD and Red.

"From the initial contacts I have made since I'm hired out for this, if Dennis hits the same area as Ivan, your SOL if your going to try to get near the area. "


If chasers show up to the same area, it does not matter if since I'm "Hired Out To Cover The News". But I don't need chasers showing up without a clue then asking me for help because this is a natural disaster area in the making.

As for other chasers, I probably will be chasing with one other chaser directly who is the stringer for TWC out of Lubbock TX and with The Weathervine crew.
 
Originally posted by Doug_Kiesling+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Doug_Kiesling)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-David Drummond
Of course, the more people with video camera's that can be kept out, the less competition there will be for video sales for some people too eh? :roll:


Well it's obvious that you did not read the first line of the first post so let me reprint it in BOLD and Red.

\"From the initial contacts I have made since I'm hired out for this, if Dennis hits the same area as Ivan, your SOL if your going to try to get near the area. \"


If chasers show up to the same area, it does not matter if since I'm "Hired Out To Cover The News". But I don't need chasers showing up without a clue then asking me for help because this is a natural disaster area in the making.

As for other chasers, I probably will be chasing with one other chaser directly who is the stringer for TWC out of Lubbock TX and with The Weathervine crew.[/b]

I read, and still do, read it perfectly. Seeing as how I didn't direct my comment at anyone specific, yet you chose to take it directed at you, what I said must have struck close to home.

Judging by the several emails and PMs I got supporting the comment I made, obviously I am not the only one with that thought crossing their mind either.

All that aside, I am not going to fight on here with you. But please, I don't think any of these guys wanting to go chasing are going to rush out seeking Doug Keisling if and/or when they get in trouble out there.

I don't think we need to remind everyone that the first people that went hurricane or storm chasing, people we now look up to with a great deal of respect, went out and did it on their own. They didn't know what they were doing, they didn't know exactly what to expect, but they did it anyway, and they learned from their mistakes as they went. They didn't have anyone to show them the ropes or to tell them how it should or shouldn't be done. Yet, that is how we say it should be done today, all the while holding the utmost respect for those that originally did it just the opposite.

I think the one's that are seriously considering going for their first time have some ideas what to expect, and are doing their best to think it through, thus asking questions. Maybe some experienced hurricane "sitters" can give some ADVISE on how to best make the trek, rather than how you shouldn't try it unless you go with "us".

Have to admit, wouldn't it suck if some first timer got down there and got the shots of the day that were plastered all over the news and beat out the "old timers"?

BTW, wasn't last year your very first time to chase a major hurricane Doug?
 
Back
Top