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Keeping an eye on the weather

Safety & Codes | April 1, 2009 | By:

Of course you keep an eye on the weather. But what exactly should you be looking for?

Across the United States, there are differences in weather but—severe weather is severe weather,” says Nate Larscheid, chief meteorologist of WEAU-TV of Eau Claire, Wis. There are certain things to look for when determining weather safety around tent installation and events. Beyond keeping an eye on the forecasts, Larscheid recommends understanding the difference between watches and warnings. Watches occur when conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop, and warnings mean that those conditions are happening within the cited area.

“Something good that’s taken place in the past year or two in terms of severe weather preparedness is that the National Weather Service, which is responsible for issuing warnings, has really pared down the areas they’ve issued [warnings] for,” Larscheid says. “It used to be that the Service issued them by counties and now it issues them by more specific area(s).”

Larscheid suggests checking the National Weather Service Web site ( for up-to-date information, as well as your local T.V. station before and during tent installations. “It’s also a good idea to have a weather radio on hand—and you can call your local meteorologists directly—that’s what we’re here for,” he says.

Beyond that, Larscheid says to rely on common sense. “The temperature dropping really fast and wind speed suddenly picking up are things to watch for,” he says. “That usually means that at the very least there is some rain on the way—probably some heavy rain. To monitor the wind speed, you can also purchase hand-held anemometers,” Larscheid says.

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