Written by 9NEWS Storm Chaser Cory Reppenhagen. Hear more about his experience in the video above.
I've had the privilege of gaining extensive experience covering tropical storms, over my 23 year career in local news. I have covered the landfall of 23 named tropical systems, including 14 hurricanes: Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne in 2004, Dennis, Katrina, Ophelia, Rita, and Wilma in 2005, Ernesto in 2006, Gustav and Ike in 2008, Ida in 2009, and Irene in 2011.
There are a couple of things that come to mind, that people don't usually think about when it comes to hurricanes.
The most dangerous part of a hurricane is the storm surge along the coast. This is always evident in my observations. I was at landfall for the last big hurricane to hit Texas, Ike in 2008. It was a category 4 storm shortly before landfall, but dropped to a 2 just as it came ashore. The storm surge that I witness on Galveston Island and Bayou Vista was incredible.
Storm surge is not just water rising, and water hitting the coast. The waves start to pick up debris, like driftwood, beach tables, and things along the coastline. Then it becomes a slurry of water and debris. Then the water rises, and that slurry starts to pound buildings on the coast. The debris in the storm surge slurry gets bigger, as pieces of buildings fall into the surf. Now it's a mix of water and large debris, that acts like a wrecking ball as the wave action pounds the coastline during the storm. There were many buildings wiped down to the foundation on Galveston Island.
A hurricane can cause damage far from where the eye makes landfall. Even the outer bands pack severe wind gusts, and even tornadoes. The rain is incredible. Flooding is usually expansive.
I have found that people do not like to evacuate their homes, but they don't often take account for the disaster that will be in place after the hurricane moves out. There's usually no power, no plumbing, no food, no gas, no refrigeration, no air-conditioning, no showers, and most importantly, emergency crews will not be able to get to you in a timely fashion, if you get injured.
The days after a hurricane, can be quite miserable.
WATCH: Some raw footage Cory has shot while covering hurricanes