Welcome to my Hurricane Jeanne Video & Storm Chase web page blog.
9/24/2004 – In Minneapolis, MN – Preparing to head to Florida and chase Hurricane Jeanne. Looking forward to chasing my fourth hurricane in 45 days. I can’t wait to get back into the action and shoot lots of video in Hurricane Jeanne. But this storm looks like it is going to hit the same spot as Hurricane Frances, which sucks for the people of Fort Pierce Florida.
9/25/2004 – In Route To Florida To Chase Hurricane Jeanne. Right now Hurricane Jeanne is a Cat 2 hurricane with winds of 105 mph. Just about to get on a flight to Florida, AGAIN to meet up with Chris and Jim to chase another Hurricane.
Just three weeks ago, I was at the same spot at the Fort Pierce, FL Marina before Hurricane Frances.
Before Hurricane Frances, I was walking around on the docks looking at all the boats before the storm. Now we were watching our steps as we walked around what was left of the docks while watching the salvage efforts before Hurricane Jeanne.
Below is a photograph of one of the only flags I saw flying before hurricane Jeanne slammed into the Fort Pierce Florida area.
Now as the storm moved in at night, my low light video camera’s were able to see what was happening and shoot video at night but as for the still images, they were limited. I waited out the storm in a parking garage during the overnight hours while taking a break from roaming around Fort Pierce, FL in the hurricane in my SUV.
I did stop to feed out footage in the middle of the hurricane before the storm ended while it was still dark out. Below is the video that I shot that as the storm was ragging all around me. This video was shot just after sunset.
The next video is before the eye moved into the area as the winds were picking up and blowing debris all over the place and power lines were shorting out.
As the eye wall raged outside all around us, Jim Chris and I along were out playing around in a parking garage in the extreme high winds. I’m the one wearing the orange rain suit that was ripped off me by the winds.
As the eye of the storm moved over us, I was able to get out and shoot footage in the eye of the storm before the winds picked back up. The video below is from when I went out and drove around in the eye.
After the eye, there was not much to see or do for a while so stayed in the parking garage and took a nap until sunrise. After it was light out again and the storm moved off, I woke up and got back out to get more video of the aftermath. Here is what I saw before wrapping up the chase. The same mobile home park that was heavily damaged in Hurricane Frances, well, it was pretty much a wreck now. The damage was all the way inland to Okeechobee, FL and up to Orlando, FL.
Here are the aftermath photographs from the Hurricane Jeanne intercept. When I woke up, I made it over to Northern Hutchinson Island to shoot some aftermath footage before the law enforcement setup the road blocks on the causeway bridge.
Now being from Minnesota, I saw this boat and I just had to stop and take a photograph of the Snow Bird.
At the Marina on Hutchinson Island, I saw the boat named “Chit Happens” as in “Shit Happens” and I had to get a few photographs of this ship wreck. The name alone with the boat washed on shore was just classic.
Now as that police started to move in and clear out Hutchinson Island, I was able to hang around for a little while longer since I was with the media. The storm surge and the damage to the trailer park on Hutchinson Island was pretty bad after Hurricane Frances. Now after Hurricane Jeanne, the place is just a disaster beyond repair.
As soon as I was done with shooting footage on Hutchinson Island, I headed into Okeechobee, Florida to check out the hotel that I had on standby. They were out of power so I ended up heading into Orlando to get a hotel room and edit and feed the footage back out to the networks. Here are some of the photos I took along the way.
Boats on homes, debris everywhere, the area was a wreck.
Here, to help understand the power of the hurricane force winds, this truck bed liner was ripped up and out from the force of the winds of Hurricane Jeanne.
For the most part, a lot of the rural area’s of Florida from Okeechobee to Fort Pierce looked like this.
After getting some much needed sleep in Orlando, I awoke to a nice sunny Florida morning. The damage to the hotel’s in the Orlando area, well, lets just say, tourism in Florida is going to take a while to get back to normal.
Now this is a sight all too common in Florida after a hurricane. This guy barely made it to the pumps as he ran out of gas.
Now for a three days and two nights trip to Florida, this is my luggage. One large duffel bag full of everything that I would need for equipment. Power inverters, tripods, cables, wires, food, water, everything that I can fit in that bag. That’s the red bag. The oversized back pack, that’s all video and still camera equipment. The large green duffel bag, that’s a weeks worth of clothes along with several shoes and boots. There is of course the laptop and the orange rain gear. And the black thing crossing over the back of the truck, well, I am at the gas station filling up and parked on the wrong side of the pumps.
Now as leaving Florida to go back home to Minneapolis, I upgraded to sit up in First Class for $75 more. And after the fourth hurricane in 45 days, it was well worth it. As we took off from Orlando, the damage was bad. Hangers at the airport were damaged but that was nothing compared to looking down on the city as we took off. It was a sea of houses with blue tarps on the roofs.
Now as we flew north towards Minneapolis, we flew over what was now tropical storm Jeanne over Northern Florida and Southern Georgia. After my fourth hurricane in 45 days, I thought this was a great way to chase the storms, from above the storms, in first class, with a hot meal and a cold beer!!!
While the hurricane chasing looks fun, it is really a lot of work. Most tornado chasers thought that they could just show up and chase the hurricanes like a tornado and they found out they were dead wrong. While chasing a tornado, after the storm you can just go a couple towns or the next county over and everything should be just fine. You will have power, gas, food and you can find a motel or hotel to spend the night.
In a hurricane, the whole state is under the gun and shuts down for hundreds of miles around your target area. If you are not ready to survive in the worlds worst conditions, don’t try and chase a hurricane. And if you live in an area that is going to get hit by a hurricane, leave the area and then come back after the storm. A lot of people were killed during the 2004 hurricane season that could still be alive just because they wanted to stay home.
With all the money that I have put into the hurricane video chasing, all the time in Florida and the last minute flights and drives to the target areas, and all the other personal stuff that goes along with being a professional severe storms videographer, was it worth it?
Hell Yes It Was!!! In the last two months I have experienced and documented what others only read about or watch on TV. My crew of BNVN freelance cameramen and myself were the ones who brought the video that Millions of people saw on their television on The Weather Channel and ABC News along with a lot of other news program’s. that will be producing documentaries for years to come.
This was a once in a life time chance and I took a chance and had one of the most successful hurricane chases seasons of all time with my friends.
We survived and chased the dream, what more could a chaser ask for?