Hurricane Wilma - Video Footage from FL Landfall

Hi everybody!

I am a hurricane chaser and brand-new to this forum. I'm very glad to be a part of this community, and I wanted to introduce myself and share some of my chase content.

If interested, please go to www.icyclone.com to check out a tiny sample of the video footage I shot while chasing Hurricane Wilma on 24 October.

I shot the front side of the storm near Naples. During the eye I relocated to Everglades City, where I rode out the storm's back side. Interesting things you’ll notice in the footage:

* The back side of the eyewall was much more severe than the front.
* The winds picked up very quickly on the back side—going from a light breeze at 7:57 am EDT (when we were still in the eye) to a good rip just a minute later (as the eyewall swept in).
* Everglades City was in a “dry slot†around 9:00 am EDT—so that it was hardly raining during the period of maximum eyewall winds.

I also include some video stills with commentary.

Regarding iCyclone… This is my brand, under which I’ll be releasing cool DVD and multimedia products about hurricanes I chase. The full Website will launch later this month, and the first product in April. I’ll let you all know when the full site launches.

Enjoy Wilma! Feedback is of course welcome! :)
 
Good Evening, welcome to the Storm Track website/forums. That is a very cool video, and shows just how powerful nature is. Great capture.
 
That part when you guys were in the eye at 7am and it was totally dark, not only because the sun hadn't risen yet but also because power was knocked out...I'm sure that was a creepy feeling. A hurricane at night, when you can't see what's flying around, must be very scary. I have never experienced that.

Getting flooded while in your vehicle must have been a challenge too. Were you concerned that you'd start floating away pretty quick?
 
Andrew & Dave: Thanks very much for the kind words-- I'm glad you guys liked the video! :)

Susan: Yes, the darkness created some issues, for sure. This was only the second nighttime hurricane chase I'd done, and it's a totally different ball game in the dark. We were hearing odd sounds-- crashing and banging-- during the front side of the eyewall (between 5 and 6 am EDT) and we just couldn't see what was blowing past.

Re: the water... Yes, as you suspected, we definitely had a moment of concern about the car floating away. The storm surge that swept into Everglades City during the back side presented the biggest safety threat on this chase. We were caught off guard by the severity of the eyewall's back side-- it really took us by surprise-- and we were so preoccupied with the wind that we didn't notice the water rising until it had surrounded the car. We made it to a small hotel on slightly higher ground just as the whole downtown area went underwater. We definitely had a small "freak out" moment, and I have to say, we were a bit lucky!

I admit that Everglades City-- an island at very low elevation, to the right of the storm's center-- was not exactly the safest location for riding out a Cat-3 hurricane. But I really wanted to get in the inner core of the storm and so I took the risk.

Thanks very much for checking it out!
 
Wilma Chase

Good day,

This is very interesting as I myself am a hurricane chaser and I started out in Naples and wound up riding out the first half of the storm off Tamiami Trail at the Port of the Islands Resort about 8 miles NW of Everglades City!

Storm surge was not an issue for me where I was at, fortunately, as I knew it would be up to 18 feet right of where Wilma came in - And I sure seen my share of surge in Katrina in Mississippi!

I got the strong winds first, gusting over 110-MPH then the dead calm of the eye. I left the resort, driving inside the eye, in fact, following it across S Florida as it moved NE, taking highway 29 north, then trying to cut across the everglades on some remote roads of the Miccosukee reservation until I reached I-595 (planning to go east), where I was greeted with an overpass with no way to get on it!

Still in the calm eye, the sun was now up, and I was awing at the blue sky overhead, even the clouds broke and I was able to see the eyewall itself, forming a "stadium effect" all around me - Like being at the bottom of a giant "pot" or "frying pan"! I measured 950 MB at this point on my barometer.

Having to back track back towards highway 29, I hit the second eyewall with the 120-MPH gusts. I managed, somehow, to make my way north to I-595, which HAD an entrance ... Then came the easy part. Winds over 100-MPH from the WEST helped me driving EAST ... I even put my car in neutral, and I was PUSHED by the winds and my car went over 70-MPH (saved some gas)!

The fun stuff came again as I caught up with the edge of the eye back in Wester Broward and Palm Beach counties where street signs were down, trees stripped and defoliated, powerlines everywhere. I was so sad that my "town" was being trashed. I never caught up with the eye the second time, but measured 958 MB on my barometer.

After the storm, with damage to my roof mounted weather station and mirror knocked off my right side of my car, I had to check my parents and my place, which wer heavily damaged as well.

I made a SUPER DETAILED log on this chase, including a barometric pressure plot of the entire chase, and also have video of it too, and the link is below...

www.sky-chaser.com/wil05.htm

Thanks, and very interesting!

Keep up the good work...

Chris Collura - KG4PJN
 
Hi Chris,

Thanks very much for your response, and for sharing your link! It's interesting how close we were to each other during Wilma-- but as you noticed, I took a different route than you during the eye, going SE, down the coast, to get further to the right of the center.

I am completing my case study of my Wilma chase in the next two weeks-- also with detailed observations-- and I will be sure to share it with you so we can "compare notes". ;)

Wilma was one of my better chases-- I deeply enjoyed it.
 
Back
Top