Severe Weather and Sporting Events


After the Indy 500 this year you would think they would have thought of a better way to handle things but looks like severe weather strikes again. 3 spectators were hit by lightning at the Pepsi 400 yesterday. You would think they would start to take this stuff a bit more seriously. :roll: Thank goodness they all seem to be ok. I wonder what will happen when someone actually dies at one of these things due to the weather.
While I agree storms & sports may be an issue - these guys were walking outside prior to the start of the race, so I don't understand what NASCAR's meteorologists could have done to prevent?

- Rob
Innocent Bystanders

After reading Mel's post about the NASCAR story of the three men that were "struck" by lightning, I would conclude they had a close call.

It sounded like they just happen to be in the area of the lightning strike. Perhaps the main bolt hit one of the trailers and grounded itself, thus keeping the men from a fatal result. If these guys were standing on a pickup in the infield and cheering their favorite drivers on, it would have been a different story.

I'm sure NASCAR had everyone's safety in mind, including the fans, when they called the rain delay. When the start of the race was delayed, the fans were given the option of either staying in the stands or retreat to shelter under the grandstands.

The fact that the lightning strike took place outside the Daytona track means that NASCAR mets had no responsibility for the safety of the people off the track facilities.

Happy Fourth, eveyone!! :wav:
Lightning is so random, I'm not sure how much you can do about it. IMO, it falls in the "so unlikely, it's not worth the worry" category. (David D. and friends may hold a substantially different POV! ;) ) Larry's post indicates the race organisers did about all it could to keep the fans out of harm's way. I'm assuming open stadiums are equipped with lightning rods and other safety features.

Tornadoes... well that's still a bit of a raw issue for me. Last Memorial Day, not one, but two major Indianapolis sporting events were in real danger of getting hit. (OK, the odds of a 'hit' are still quite low, cetainly less than one percent. But when you're playing Russian Roulette with a stadium full of people, ANY odds start to look unfavorable.)

The main point is that it takes longer to evacuate a stadium, 4+ hrs for IMS, than it does for a tornado to develop from a clear blue sky. With this in mind, I think sports organisers are being less than dilligent. There is a lot of room between "Nanny State" and "Tornadoes, Pffft!"

I am not sure what they can do either, when they sell tickets for a couple hundred thousand people to show up in a spot, and then Mother Nature invites herself as well.

I don't know about the local forecast in general, but they basically had to deal with a pretty stagnant pattern of thunderstorms over and right next to the track most of the day, and I don't know if that could have been anticipated.

People arriving there had to take note of that and decide how best to handle it for themselves, given that at your average outdoor event is held outdoors because there just isnt enough room indoors to do it.

In these situations, I guess its Caveat Ducat Emptor, let the ticket buyer beware.