Storm chasers head toward Ian’s eye

Hurricane Ian

(NewsNation) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and many other emergency officials have urged Florida residents to evacuate as Hurricane Ian barrels toward the state’s west coast. Yet, hurricane hunters and storm chasers are among the few that are heading into the storm.

Storm chaser and first responder Ben McHone is in Punta Gorda, Florida, making his way to the eye of Hurricane Ian against all warnings. His goal is to monitor the storm’s trends.

“We’re trying to get into the eye — maybe document some of the stadium effects in the storm surge as it’s the most significant as it impacts this area,” McHone said.

But McHone said he’s been tracking storms like this for many years, and that experience helps with it comes to knowing when to get off the road and seek shelter if a storm gets too dangerous.

“We’ve been doing this for many years, so we’re kind of experienced when it comes to dealing with dangerous storm surges and high wind events,” McHone said.

To McHone, the eye of the storm brings him a sense of relief. “But you’re always nervous for what the other end packs because all the debris that gets moved during the first eyewall will be moving in the opposite direction for the next eyewall,” he said.

Storm chaser Stephen Jones is also on his way to Ian’s eye. Jones said it’s important to have storm chasers on the ground during the storm to give the actual reports of what is going on.

“The number one goal, especially when it comes to hurricanes, is getting that look inside the eye of the hurricane as it makes landfall,” Jones said.

Jones explained that the eye of the hurricane isn’t something that people would really want to experience.

“It’s such an eerie calm,” he said. “It really since chills down your spine because you can hear the winds roaring around you while it’s pretty much sunny, or even you could see the starry night sky out when it’s at nighttime.”

Jones urges residents to not go into the eye of the storm. He said people can get stuck in the storm at the wrong time, thinking it’s over. But there is still an entire back half of the storm that will pass through.

© 1998 - 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNation

Elections 2022

More Elections 2022