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While cooling off at the beach on a sunny, hot, early summertime day, a man sustained injuries to his head as a result of being hit by a runaway beach umbrella. The victim never saw the umbrella as it hurtled towards him, carried along by a gust of strong wind.  Witnesses said that the person who placed the oversized umbrella into the sand, did so in the “usual” manner, but made no effort to bolster it even though the wind was kicking up.  The injured man required hospitalization, and suffered from recurring headaches and loss of memory, both of which were attributed to the head injury.

As the medical bills and lost time at work continued to mount, the victim retained the services of an attorney.  In order to establish negligence, it would need to be proven that the wind which caused the umbrella to go sailing down the beach was not a “freak” occurrence.  The attorney phoned CompuWeather.  After examining the details of the case, the meteorologist assigned to the case did an analysis of the wind conditions reported at airports nearest to the beach.  Observations from three locations showed that there had been a small increase in the wind speed just before the time of the accident.  But even so, the wind speeds that were reported were not strong enough to cause an umbrella with a fairly heavy metal pole to be swept down the beach.  CompuWeather’s meteorologist knew that there were more factors that needed to be taken into consideration.

Since the incident occurred in early June, the temperature of the ocean water was still relatively cool, especially in contrast to the air temperature that afternoon which was in the upper 80s. Since the landmass of the beach and nearby areas heated up much more rapidly than the water, the heated air over the beach would have risen vertically at a rapid rate.  This rising air over the beach would have been replaced by cooler air rushing in from off the ocean.  Or, in other words, the sea breeze was very strong on the day of the occurrence.  The meteorologist used mathematical equations which take into account the differences in air and water temperature in order to estimate what the wind speed would have been on the beach and more importantly, to determine at what time the wind had started to kick up.  For if it was already windy at the time the umbrella was planted in the sand, then the defendant should have been more diligent in securing it.  The meteorologist’s research showed that the wind had already started to increase prior to the defendant even arriving at the beach.

Armed with the report produced by CompuWeather, the attorney for the plaintiff was able to work out a very favorable settlement for his client.