Smart event planners take every aspect into consideration to create the perfect event. However, there is one thing that is out of everyone’s control—the weather. Weather is often left to chance or is predicted by turning to a free mobile app for forecasts and updates. However, with Texas experiencing some of the most dynamic weather in the country, leaving weather up to chance or receiving inaccurate predictions could be catastrophic and dangerous to any event. Therefore, it is important to take appropriate weather precautions and know how to best plan for them.
Weather information and forecasts have always been free. The problem with many free services is that they usually lack quality and reassurance. Free apps may provide maps, data and predictions, but they aren’t always accurate and don’t include a weather professional to provide counsel. Texas experiences volatile weather throughout the year. Unexpected severe thunderstorms, lightning and inaccurate predictions can be risky to the safety of outdoor events. Free weather apps are unable to provide real-time, accurate lightning predictions. Unreliable and delayed lightning alerts can be worse than having no lightning information at all because they create a false sense of security if an app says it is safe to be outdoors when lightning is still in the area.
Texas not only experiences weather ranging from tornadoes to extreme thunderstorms with massive hail, but the state also experiences snow and dangerous flooding. Throughout all seasons, it is important to be prepared and knowledgeable about weather conditions to ensure the safety of crowds at an event. However, event planners have so many other things to concentrate on that it becomes hard to completely focus on weather. That is why turning to a professional weather service to provide alerts and updates on weather conditions in advance and during an event can ultimately ease weather-related stress. Additionally, many of these professional services offer assistance in developing a safety plan in case bad weather does hit.
Many event or game venues have basic severe weather and evacuation plans, but in most cases they don’t include considerations for the crowd size, event scale or logistics. Every event has a different number of attendees and different things to consider. Professional weather services can help planners determine when is the most accurate time to fully evacuate the facility in advance, based on the crowd size. This is important because if severe weather occurs, the event can continue running as long as possible before the decision is made that it is unsafe to remain outside. Professionals can also provide an “all clear” when it is safe to return, which removes the guesswork from event managers and attendees. This provides essential peace of mind to the event managers that they are making the most efficient and safe decisions.
Throughout the large state of Texas, there is a lot of wide-open country. As a result, traveling during severe weather can be very dangerous for teams, spectators, attendees and event organizers. Having both on-site and remote weather monitoring, planners can receive alerts regarding any weather hazards as far in advance as possible so they can direct personnel and attendees to safety. Event planners also have the option to turn to weather professionals to decide when to hold an event and when to cancel or postpone an event. Professionals can provide event organizers with climatology data before the date of the event is set in order to better predict weather in certain times of the year based on conditions from previous years.
A weather forecast has no value until someone can make an actionable decision around it. Playing the guessing game is unsafe in any weather situation, especially in a region where weather is extremely volatile. Safety should be at the forefront of every successful event and weather can quickly pose a threat. Event planners invest in many services to ensure each event runs smoothly, and the same should be true for weather services. Investing in a professional weather service is a lot like paying for car insurance. The hope is to never use it, but if an emergency occurs, insurance saves the day.
Brad Nelson, sports and rec on-site meteorologist and safety markets team lead for DTN Weather, has forecast many events in Texas over the years, including a Dean & Deluca Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth and the Web.com PGA Tour Tournament in Midland. He is a Texas storm chaser and has witnessed first-hand the havoc wreaked by severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.