Case Studies Review: Utilization of Total Lightning for Improved Alerting Lead Times at Outdoor Venues

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 9:15 AM
225AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Frank McCathran, Earth Networks, Germantown, MD

There is no doubt that decision makers at outdoor venues or events have one of toughest supervisory roles when it comes to making severe weather life safety decisions. From youth sports venues, concert pavilions, community parks, college campuses, and professional sports stadiums – officials are tasked, officially and unofficially, with protecting players, visitors and the general public during events that are held outside. These officials, at all levels, are arguably the most critical users of severe weather information and alerting. Specifically, the demand for scientific-based lightning safety and alerting solutions within the outdoor venue space has been on the rise. Often times, many thousands of people need to be evacuated to safe structures in a short amount of time. Decision makers, who are feeling the pressure to make life safety decisions, are requiring alerting technologies that take the “guessing game” out of these decisions when there is so much to risk. The need for improvements in the advanced warning of lightning in the outdoor venue space is compelling. Recent studies have confirmed the presence of in-cloud lightning well in advance of deadly cloud-to-ground lightning strikes (as well as severe thunderstorms, high wind, hail and even tornadoes). Thus, in-cloud lightning provides advanced lead times to cloud-to-ground and other types of severe weather events, and can be used in improving lightning safety and alerting solutions required for weather-related decision making. Although, there are far too many real-life examples that document this need , this presentation will review three high profile lightning events at outdoor venues from the past year to document the amount of advanced warning afforded using Total Lightning (both in-cloud and cloud-to-ground) detection & alerting solutions compared to the use of cloud-to-ground only.