FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

A Dedicated Weather Watcher

Special to the Observer

At 7:45 p.m. Sunday, a moderate but pelting rain had begun at Main Beach and the crowds of earlier in the day  were gone. But one intrepid storm watcher was prepared to stay into the night.

Meteorology student Patrick Duran had set up shop in the Main Beach parking lot, with a

Patrick Duran = Dedicated Storm Watcher

wind-speed indicator attached to the roof of his car and a laptop computer in the front seat. He said he planned to stay at his post until the early morning hours of Monday. Beryl was expected to come ashore sometime late tonight.

When interviewed at about 7:45 p.m., his equipment was showing sustained winds of 20 mph, with gusts to 40. He said he expected the height of the storm could come around midnight,  with sustained winds of 30-40 mph and possible gusts to 60.

“This storm turned out to be a little bit more than we expected it to be,” he said.

He fielded questions from interested passers-by, including one who said the wind felt stronger than the 25-mph “instantaneous” reading his equipment had just given.  “That’s the way it is with wind, it almost always feels stronger than it actually is,” he said. “So you can image what hurricane-force winds must feel like.”

Patrick Duran Checks Laptop for Wind Speed

Duran, 21, recently received his bachelor’s in meteorology from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne and plans to pursue his graduate studies at the University of New York in Albany starting in August. He said this was his first experience as a “storm chaser,” but his passion for the weather is longstanding.

Called for an update at 8:30 p.m., he said that a rain band had passed through with gusts around 40 mph, but sustained winds were maintaining at 25-30 mph.

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