Matthew J. Bunkers, Ph.D.
Certified Consulting Meteorologist
Phone: 605.390.7243 (mobile)
Trip and fall snowfall case:
Heavy snow was associated with a personal injury on a store’s sidewalk, with snowfall rates of 1–2” per hour prior to the incident. The incident occurred around 4 am after 12” of snow fell, in an area where heavy snow like this is rare. There was a well-worn foot path through the snow, and the opposition claimed that the person tripped in a “hole” near/outside of the foot path. Given the snowfall intensity, snow density, and the repeated traffic along the foot path, it is likely that snow compacted into parts of the hole, thus making it unlikely that the “hole” was the ultimate cause of the incident. This analysis helped lead to a settlement before the case went to court.
— “Thanks again for your help. We will call you if we have another weather issue come up.“
Slip and fall snowfall case:
Snow was associated with a personal injury on a store’s parking lot—three days after the snow event. Although snow was plowed during the snowfall event, additional snow fell that same day that was not cleared until several days later. The opposition claimed the additional snowfall was light and that snow blew into the parking lot prior to the accident. However, human snowfall observations, combined with radar and automated observations, indicated that snowfall was at least 2″ after the initial snow was plowed, and that the winds were not strong enough to blow appreciable snow into the parking lot. This analysis led to a settlement before the case went to court.
— “Thank you for your assistance regarding this matter. I look forward to working with you [again].“
Rain intensity/visibility case:
Rain and/or mist were associated with an accident on an interstate highway. The opposition claimed that only mist was ongoing at the time of the accident. However, upon examination of radar and lightning data, surface and upper-air observations, and publications related to radar-rainfall rates and visibility, it was evident that heavy rainfall occurred during and immediately preceding the accident, thus leading to low visibility and the possibility for hydroplaning. This analysis led to a settlement before the case went to court.
— “We have verbally agreed to a settlement in this matter. Thank you very much for all your help.“
Rainfall insurance case:
Rain fell during a time when an organization had insurance for at least 0.25″ of rain to protect against losses for their outdoor fundraising event. Initial estimates by another consulting firm showed 0.14″, which resulted in denial of the claim. A more detailed analysis of radar rainfall estimates and biases, along with nearby precipitation reports from several observers, showed that rainfall likely equaled or exceeded 0.25″. This analysis resulted in full payment of the insurance claim.
— “You are the most tenacious and effective expert with whom I have had the pleasure to work.“
Grain bin damage case:
Severe thunderstorms resulted in widespread wind damage in an area with marginal radar coverage. Using severe storm reports, surface observations, data from the four closest radars, and knowledge of severe thunderstorm signatures, the wind gust was estimated between 90 and 105 mph for the location where a grain bin was destroyed. This helped show that the grain bin was destroyed as a result of the wind (and not because of faulty construction). This analysis led to a settlement before the case went to court.
— “This matter settled at mediation. Thank you for your assistance in this case. It was great working with you, Dr. Bunkers.“