All original images (C) Steve Douglass unless otherwise noted.

All original images (C) Steve Douglass unless otherwise noted. Permission required for commercial use or publishing.

ABC7's Live Scanner Feed!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hurricane Chasers

(CNN) -- With at least three video cameras trained on the Gulf of Mexico and floodwaters rising around him in Galveston, Texas, Mark Sudduth prepared Friday to ride out Hurricane Ike from a hotel room on the city's wind-whipped oceanfront.

"Most of the north end of Galveston near the bay is now going underwater," Sudduth told CNN Friday afternoon. "The island is filling up like a bathtub."

Despite that, and the fact that hundreds of thousands of anxious Texas residents have fled inland, Sudduth and partner Mike Watkins had no plans to leave Galveston. Their only concern was the safety of their Chevy Tahoe -- and the fate of their equipment that will stream live video of Ike's fury to Internet users around the world.

The two men are part of a small fraternity of storm chasers who plant themselves in the paths of hurricanes to gather photos, video and meteorological data they hope will help scientists better understand these natural disasters.

What sets Sudduth apart, however, is his pioneering use of remote, battery-powered video cameras, packed in watertight cases, to train unblinking eyes on lethal storm surges that are too hazardous to film by hand.

"The stronger the hurricane and the more [news] reporters have to leave, the more important these cameras become," said Sudduth, who lives in Wilmington, North Carolina. "There's absolutely zero risk to human life. Plus they can stay there for 15 hours and never have to go to the bathroom."

For decades, journalists with shaky video cameras have shot footage of approaching storms, only to retreat when the winds, and danger, grew too great. Thanks to his remote-camera system, developed around the time of 2005's Hurricane Katrina, Sudduth may be the first storm chaser to capture live streaming video from inside a hurricane as it blows ashore. His footage has appeared on CNN and numerous local TV broadcasts.

Read the full story at

No comments:

Click to enlarge!

Please click on each image to enlarge them and see them in their proper color and contrast.