Traveling weather watcher passes through Crenshaw County

Published 7:36 am Monday, January 23, 2012

William Minor, who has spent the last several years traveling through the country following weather patterns, passed through Brantley and Crenshaw County late last week.

Minor was a reporter for the Miami Herald, and he covered the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 in late December 1972.

One of the first events that piqued his interest in weather was the tornado outbreak in Xenia, Ohio in 1974.

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After leaving the journalism business, Minor has been moving through the country studying the weather and weather patterns and helping raise awareness of volunteer fire departments.

“My main focus is the weather, but my second is the circumstances of fire departments,” he said.

Minor said he is a member of a volunteer fire department in his home state of Pennsylvania, and wherever he travels, he visits the local volunteer fire departments.

Minor said he eats MREs (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) and that he doesn’t ask for a bed, though the Brantley VFD gave him a place to sleep.

“It’s been a while since I had a pillow and a bed,” he said. “I’ve got to give a tip of my hat to these guys. They’re all volunteers and working to save people’s lives. People like Rescue Captain Davis and her sister, Chief [Harry Driggers], Paul [Wooley], Wayne [Blackmon] and Mr. [Jimmy] Johnson have all come in while I’ve been here.”

Minor also spent three days in Henderson with “Mr. Rex,” and he planned to travel to Luverne before the weather changed his plans.

Minor travels with his belongings packed on a bicycle, and he said that he can feel changes in the weather in ways he couldn’t if he were in a car.

“I saw the clouds changing, and I felt like I needed to turn into the wind after I left Glenwood, and that brought me to Brantley,” he said.

Minor said he began this stage of his journey in Cheyenne, Wyo.

“I’m not a storm tracker – I’m a journalist,” he said.

Minor also keeps a shorthand journal about the people he meets and the weather conditions he experiences along with pages upon pages of data, both his own and data he’s printed out.

He said he believes the weather is on a repeating pattern, and that it will continue to become more unpredictable.

“Whatever the weather, it will be abrupt – almost unpredictable and quick,” Minor said. “I’m not a ‘sky is falling’ kind of guy, but things are lining up.”

Where is Minor headed next in his travels?

If he knows, he’s not planning to tell.

“No good journalist, if he’s worth his salt, will tell you where he’s going,” he said.

Wherever the wind and clouds blow, that’s where William Minor will be.