Hurricane-ologist studies the legacy of storms to protect future

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - North Carolina native Mark Sudduth is not a storm chaser.  He's not a weatherman.  He's not a thrill seeker.  But, he is a researcher. That's why he's one of the few people who run to a tropical storm when it brews.

"Really my title, as funny as it sounds, is I am a hurricane-ologist. I study hurricanes when they hit land," said Sudduth. "I want to know, what do these storms do to impact society?"

Sudduth help to form in 1998. It started as a hobby that sprung from his background in geology and meteorology studies.

Now, it has grown into a full mission of bringing people inside major storms through live online videos and blogging.

"Everyone of these things is a learning opportunity just to advance the science, advance the education.  It's a job. We enjoy what we do, but we know it affects people's lives," said Sudduth.

Sudduth and team members use weather instruments mounted on the tracker truck along with weather service data to track storms.

Trackers will also mount cameras throughout affected areas to provide a wide scope of any storm.

"We also try to share our video with local law enforcement and emergency management to give them some extra eyes out here as well. We're here to help, not get in the way," said Sudduth.

By studying how a storm hits and how it changes an area, these storm trackers can help others prepare for potential damage.

In all, Sudduth has been through 20 hurricanes, including Katrina and Irene.  He says he has put around 280,000 miles on his tracker truck in just eight years.

Although based in North Carolina, members are located around the country, and stay connected to through the Internet. 

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