WxTalk Webinar #45


Webinar #45 - Thursday, February 25, 2016

Evolving Outdoor Safety through Preparedness Programs
Charlie Woodrum
National Decision Support Services Program Manager
NOAA/National Weather Service Headquarters
Silver Spring, MD

A Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) cannot be built unless our country's most vulnerable outdoor locations are ready for any weather-related hazard. The most common and deadly weather hazard that impacts outdoor activities is lightning. The threat of lightning strikes resulting in serious injury or death at outdoor venues continues to be a pressing concern for event managers and organizers. Several delays have been documented in the past 5 years in which spectators did not have enough time to evacuate, or chose to wait out delays in unsafe locations. To address this issue, the National Weather Service (NWS) developed a lightning safety toolkit and recognition program that brings meteorologists and venue officials together to encourage and establish sound and proactive action plans when thunderstorms threaten their venue. The toolkit provides guidance used by venues to develop a plan specifically for lightning in addition to the other weather hazards that threaten stadiums. Many large national organizations have embraced the toolkit and encouraged their members to adopt and modify it to meet the specific needs of their local venue. Organizations that adopted plans locally range from little leagues to ski resorts.

Although the large gatherings that often gain the most attention for impacts from lightning are sporting events in large stadiums, there are other vulnerable public venues impacted which have resulted in more fatalities. In the past 5 years alone, the United States recorded 15 lightning fatalities related to fishing and 9 fatalities on beaches. The NWS responded to this need by expanding the toolkits to include templates designed specifically for communities, golf courses, boating, lifeguards, and beach patrols.   With this expansion of the toolkits to include community specific scenarios, there is now the opportunity to help Build a Weather-Ready Nation through the utilization of these toolkits by our WRN Ambassadors. Through the combination of these lightning toolkits, , the StormReady®/TsunamiReady® programs, and future adaptations of the toolkits, outdoor planners now have the necessary guidance available to them to create sound plans and execute them effectively during events. Although the tools are available, many still are unaware that these plans exist.  Thus, to help these vulnerable locations become more resilient, the meteorology community and WRN Ambassadors must educate partners and help them go the final mile to ensure a plan is in place.

View the Webinar by clicking here: https://youtu.be/J2Qp0ZijeKo

View Charlie's presentation slides (24MB)


National Weather Service Homepage

Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador Program

NOAA Lightning Safety Webpage

StormReady® Information

Storm Prediction Center

National Hurricane Center

Weather Prediction Center (rainfall/snow forecasts)

River Flood Monitoring

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