Hurricane Chaser Building House in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Josh Morgerman may not have grown up in Hancock County — or Mississippi — but he still considers himself a “Bay Rat.”

And he has good reasons. For the current and past two hurricane seasons, the world-renowned storm chaser has rented a quaint cottage, his “Hurrricane House,” a few blocks from downtown Bay St. Louis.

Morgerman, known by his thousands of followers like iCyclone, says he immersed himself in Bay’s life. He prefers cycling to driving and enjoys listening to live music at local bars while dining at seaside restaurants.

“There is a real downtown. It has this strong beating heart,” he said of Old Town Bay, one of the hippest neighborhoods on the coast. “I really dig this.”

The storm chaser has become so fond of the bay, in fact, that the Los Angeles thrill seeker is building his own home there.

Morgerman began living in Bay St. Louis for half the year in 2020. With air travel restricted due to the COVID pandemic, the coast was a good midpoint between Texas and Florida . Morgerman could easily pack his bags and cross the southern Gulf to chase storms in a particularly active year for hurricanes.

Josh Morgerman, known as iCyclone to his thousands of social media followers, is building a house in Old Town Bay St. Louis. Lukas Flippo [email protected]

This year, Moergerman bought land about a block from the beach in Old Town Bay St. Louis and built “Hurricane House 2.0,” a shotgun-style home that will be reinforced to withstand the weather.

The home, designed by Connie Dobrowski of Dixie Home Designs, will resemble other traditional New Orleans-inspired cottages that line the streets and neighborhoods of Old Town.

“My house should look like a remodeled old house,” Morgerman said. “I’m building in the historic district, and I want to respect that.”

Josh Morgerman, also known as world famous storm chaser iCyclone, is building a home in Old Town Bay St. Louis. Connie Dobrowski of Dixie Home Designs

Morgerman takes extra steps to protect the house from hurricanes. It uses the Hardie coating.

“It withstands rain, hail, high winds, storms, snow, ice, humidity and temperature changes,” according to Stateline Exteriors. “It resists moisture penetration, saving homeowners the hassle of repairs due to rotting, swelling or warping.”

Morgerman also adds real custom shutters so he never has to board windows. He chose a metal roof, but it will be specially braced and reinforced.

The builder is Beau Ladner of Paramount Contracting. Structural and forensic engineer Tim Marshall reviews the plans and makes recommendations for ensuring wind resistance, Morgerman said.

The plans show a shotgun-style home for Josh Morgerman, a world-renowned storm chaser. He’s building the house one block from the Gulf of Mexico in Old Town Bay St. Louis. Courtesy of Josh Morgerman

Morgerman’s property sits 19 feet above sea level and he raises the house an additional 4 feet, he said. The only time the water got to it was during Katrina.

The land is ready and construction should begin soon, Morgerman said in late August.

“I really fell in love with Bay St. Louis and the Mississippi Coast,” he said. “It feels like home to me.”

Josh Morgerman, known as iCyclone to his thousands of social media followers, is building a house in Old Town Bay St. Louis. Lukas Flippo [email protected]
Josh Morgerman, the world’s top hurricane hunter, lives in Bay St. Louis for the 2020 hurricane season. Lukas Flippo [email protected]

Justin Mitchell is the Sun Herald’s News Editor and works on McClatchy’s Audience Engagement and Development team. It also reports on LGBTQ issues in the Deep South, with a particular focus on Mississippi.

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