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Weather reporter studying storms

Flood patterns interest expert

POSTED: September 18, 2013 4:00 a.m.
David Renner Dawson Community News/

William Minor, far right, shows local weather patterns from the past several months to EMS worker Patrick Rhinehart, left, and Chief Ranger Carolyn Sweatman, center.

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Storm chasers are often seen on television, pursuing bad weather and getting excited about the prospect of danger.

But to William Minor, the chase is for facts, not destruction.

Minor, who is currently on a three-year trip to gather weather data patterns, came to Dawsonville on Sept. 10, following the latest pattern of flooding to hit the county in the past few months.

The county suffered nearly $600,000 in damage after storms in May that dumped more than 6 inches of rain in less than seven hours and closed several roads.

Another 10 inches of rain fell over one day in August, damaging more than 27 locations in the county.

Minor said he gathers the data, taking "little bits and pieces that come in and mean nothing." His goal is to share the information with park rangers and firefighters in the areas he visits to give them an idea of the way patterns move into their area.

"We all have so many hours in the day. I try to understand and look at patterns," he said. "As you're looking at patterns and moving, you have to go with them."

He said that his plan for the data, which he has been collecting for more than 40 years, is to be published in a book.

Minor was a reporter with the Miami Herald in the 1970s, covering events such as the December 1972 crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 in the Everglades.

After leaving journalism in 1974, Minor has traveled the country, studying weather patterns and helping raise awareness of their effects.

He eats only his own food, usually military-grade Meals Ready to Eat, or MREs, and asks for no sleeping quarters in return.

He still considers himself a journalist, not a storm chaser.

"The little bits and pieces are gathered that may not mean anything to anyone here and there, but put them together and the bits and pieces show a larger picture," he said. "It takes hours to sit down and look at this stuff and saying, ‘What am I not seeing?'"

As for where the weather will take him next, Minor alluded to a front heading down to Albany in south Georgia. He planned to head in that direction, watching the shifting winds and helping in any way he can.

 

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