A Lightning and Inclement Weather Management System for On-Site Event Meteorologists at Outdoor Venues

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Monday, 5 January 2015
Bradly E. Nelson, Schneider Electric, Burnsville, MN

Strong winds from a thunderstorm outflow boundary led to a stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in 2011, killing 5 people and injuring dozens. A fan was struck and killed by lightning at Pocono Raceway in 2012. 68% of all PGA Tour tournament weeks had at least one weather delay or suspension during the 2013 season; 46 of those delays due to thunderstorms or heavy rain. As a result of these high-impact, publicized, and sometimes tragic weather situations, many industries have decided to contract on-site meteorologists for their larger outdoor events in order to mitigate the risks associated with lightning and inclement weather to employees, players and patrons. The unique nature and significant safety concerns associated with managing high-profile outdoor events requires an advanced system of instrumentation that provides a clear and accurate assessment of localized lightning threats and other weather hazards. This presentation will provide an overview of a lightning and severe weather management system that is put to use by on-site meteorologists at these large outdoor venues.