Are You Prepared for Weather Hazards This Spring?

March 08, 2017 by Dr. Kevin Kloesel
Topics:   WeatherOps | Live Events | Lightning | Thunderstorm |

As spring nears and Daylight Saving time brings opportunities for afternoon and evening outdoor activities, the inevitable threat of weather hazards becomes of great concern. Whether you have scheduled a family outing, or are attending a large festival, sporting event or outdoor concert, awareness of local weather conditions can mean the difference between a fun family memory, and tragedy.

Each year, campers, park visitors, vacationers and outdoors event participants are exposed and vulnerable to the incredible power of the atmosphere. Lightning, gusty winds, tornadoes, hurricanes, extreme heat, hail and heavy rainfall have each resulted in injuries and fatalities, turning joyous warm season recreational activities into disaster.

Weather Hazards at Ballpark (Credit: AP)

In many instances, the difference between life and death when dangerous weather strikes is as simple as making sure you have access to weather forecasts ahead of time. The weather forecast information can then be used to proactively create an actionable weather plan to protect you and each of those in your care.

The best preparation for adverse weather is awareness. If you have outdoor activities planned, be aware of the potential weather threats. If the possibility of hazardous weather exists during the time frame of your outdoor activity, identify someone to be responsible for monitoring the weather and for making the decision to reschedule or cancel the event. This is especially important if you are in charge of a large outdoor event with hundreds, or even thousands in attendance.

Make sure your outdoor destination or venue has suitable, substantial shelter against all types of weather hazards. Make sure you leave enough time for everyone to get to shelter safely. Understand that crowd demographics and mobility, location and distance to available shelter, the speed of the storm, etc. should all factor in to your weather decision plans. Precious seconds matter. If suitable shelter is not available, consider postponing or rescheduling your trip or event after the weather threat has passed.

Multiple Ways to Get Weather Forecasts

Finally, have multiple ways of communicating consistent weather safety messages and decisions to your family, or to your patrons. By having access to weather forecasts and information, creating a proactive and actionable weather plan, then communicating and implementing that plan, you will be able to avoid many of the heartbreaking headlines usually seen during this time of year. Force us to write about lives saved rather than lives lost. Now it’s up to you.

To learn more about the spring weather outlook and minimize your weather risk, sign up for our free webinar today.

Free Webinar - Spring 2017 Severe Weather Outlook

Dr. Kevin Kloesel

Kevin is the University Meteorologist for the Office of Emergency Preparedness at the University of Oklahoma. He is responsible for weather forecasting and decision-making for events on the OU campus, serves as an advisor to the University on emergency planning for weather hazards of all types, and teaches classes in the OU School of Meteorology focused on weather forecasting for venues. In addition, Kevin chairs the Weather Advisory Board for the Event Safety Alliance, and is a contributing writer for Campus Safety Magazine, Protocol - The Journal of the Entertainment Technology Industry, and Event Safety Insights Magazine. He has appeared on numerous national, regional and local media programs including The Weather Channel’s WXGeeks, SXSW Eco, Live Design International’s Live Outside, WeatherBrains, and the National Academies of Sciences Distinctive Voices. Kevin is a certified Oklahoma Emergency Manager, the Director of the Oklahoma Climate Survey, and an associate professor in the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences at OU.