Florida gets a new tourist: hurricane fans

March 23, 2006 at 2:35 PM

MIAMI, March 23 (UPI) -- New types of tourists will be heading for Florida this year, not wanting sun and sand, instead yearning for big storms and willing to pay for them.

A handful of companies in Florida, Texas and Oklahoma have started offering "hurricane tours," The Miami Herald reported Thursday. Such companies have been offering tornado storm chasing tours for years and now are including hurricanes.

Charging as much as $1,500 or more for three days, the companies' customers are notified by e-mail 48 hours in advance of an expected hurricane landfall, The Herald said. The customers then fly to the landfall site, where they await the storm, then board vans to follow it. After the hurricane passes, the tour includes an inspection of any damage.

The operator of one such company, Roger Hill of Silver Lining Tours in Houston, told the Herald he began offering tours with Hurricane Rita in September. His company, which charges about $500 a day for three- or four-day trips, has the slogan: "Are you ready for the atmospheric adventure of a lifetime?"

Hill followed Hurricanes Charley, Jean, Rita and Katrina along the Gulf Coast last year. He says he expects he'll be back in Florida this season.

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