By Scott Carroll
Q: How can I incorporate the latest advances in weather forecasting and monitoring technology into my outdoor event planning?
A: An unprecedented surge in pop-up thunderstorms, superstorms and tornados is challenging live event producers to rethink their approach to real-time weather forecasting. Fortunately, this challenge comes at a time when a new generation of advanced weather detection and monitoring systems is available to help make live events safer. Thanks to these systems, live-event producers can now plan ahead when the sun is shining, not when the storm clouds roll in.
Incorporating the latest advances in weather forecasting and monitoring into a comprehensive safety plan is probably the single most important thing a producer can do to ensure a safer outdoor live event. Weather affects every aspect of an outdoor live event and it’s a serious issue, particularly for insurance providers who want to make sure that every eventuality is considered, if not planned for. Insured losses from natural disasters in the United States in 2012 more than doubled the average of annual insured losses in the 11 years prior. Thunderstorm events are becoming a greater percentage of overall annual insured losses. Although the jump in damage from natural disasters in 2012 was in part due to Hurricane Sandy, it is clear that in general, weather is changing and everyone involved in planning and producing live events must be prepared.
In the past, many event producers relied on their own amateur meteorology skills when deciding whether to evacuate an outdoor event. Thankfully, with the advent of professional weather services, this era can be put behind us for good. A quality professional weather service for event production will offer specific expertise in large venue safety as it applies to hazardous weather detection and prediction, forecast modeling, decision analytics, geographic information systems (GIS), mobile apps and interactive mapping. One such professional service, Weather Decision Technologies Inc., offers weather apps such as RadarScope, iMap Weather Radio and Hailspot for Apple® and Android™ devices, in addition to full-service weather forecasting and decision support.
The use of weather detection and monitoring systems is just one part of a completely new approach to live event production in an age of increasingly uncertain weather. Every live-event producer working today should have a complete event safety plan in place as well as a comprehensive insurance policy that covers weather-related incidents. To learn more about preparing a complete event safety plan, go to the Event Safety Alliance (www.eventsafetyalliance.org) and download The Event Safety Guide.