Josh Morgerman calls himself “Hurricane Man” with good reason.
The 40-something longtime hurricane chaser just returned from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, which he calls “one of the most epic hurricanes” he’s ever witnessed.
At one point during Dorian, while huddling within a designated shelter, he realized he had only two options for him and his team of fellow storm chasers: relocate or die.
But despite coming face-to-face with near-death experiences and surviving his fair share of intense weather conditions, Morgerman craves being in the eye of the storm.
He calls it a quirk that is wired in him and other storm chasers.
“Hardcore chaser dudes like me, this is in your blood,” he says. “You’re born to do this. And I’m always going to do it.”
For most of his life, Morgerman has been putting himself in danger for an adrenaline rush — and also for science.
“My biggest thrill now is hunting down these hurricanes coming ashore, oftentimes in remote regions and getting into that hard to reach center, which is surrounded by the most violent winds, to collect rare data that otherwise wouldn’t exist,” he says.
He founded iCyclone, a team of chasers, researchers and meteorologists who make it their mission to film, blog and collect data while in the inner cores of hurricanes.
The data collected while in the midst of a storm can assist scientists when they piece together a detailed post-hurricane analysis. Picture it as “meteorological forensic files,” Morgerman says.
He says his data can be especially valuable in developing countries or difficult-to-reach areas across the globe, where local weather stations’ resources might not be able to capture the whole picture.
“My data might be the only data,” Morgerman says.
Starting Sunday, TV viewers will be able to watch him and his British film crew travel to every hurricane from the 2018 storm season, beginning with Hurricane Michael in Florida’s panhandle.
Morgerman says he tries to keep a low profile when filming, since he’s there to document and experience the dramatic weather events unfolding in various communities.
But many times, he finds himself with strangers who are also weathering the storm. He says he’s rescued adults and children trapped in disastrous situations.
“There’s a certain point where you just have to throw the camera down or forget about the meteorological data,” Morgerman says, “and just do what you have to do as a human being.”
The two-hour “HURRICANE MAN” series premiere airs on Sunday, September 15, at 9 p.m. ET on Science Channel. Subsequent episodes will premiere Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.