9.2 Assessing the Preparedness of Major League Baseball Stadiums for Thunderstorm Hazards

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 4:15 PM
Room 333-334 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Nathan M. Hitchens, Ball State University, Muncie, IN

Sporting events that take place in open-air stadiums with large audiences, such as baseball and football, are susceptible to the hazards associated with thunderstorms. The threat posed to mass-gatherings from lightning has been well documented, but less emphasis has been placed on other thunderstorm-related hazards, which include tornadoes, large hail, and strong wind gusts. Given the risk of mass casualties as a result of a direct hit by a severe thunderstorm, spectators should expect that each venue has a comprehensive plan established to alert spectators of possible risks and areas in which they may seek shelter.

This study seeks to assess the preparedness of Major League Baseball stadiums for thunderstorm hazards, specifically focusing on three important points: 1) the level of meteorological training received by the person(s) responsible for making weather-related decisions at each venue, 2) the products and instruments used in the decision-making process, and 3) the plan each venue has in place for dealing with weather-related hazards, including how information is communicated to spectators, teams, and game officials. A summary of findings will be presented, as well as recommendations for those who operate large-capacity sports venues.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner