Fun At The Fair – Severe Weather
Summertime is the time to go to the fair, and hundreds of thousands of people do so every day throughout the summer months. They are enjoyable times for family and friends to spend together, however, they can also be dangerous if unexpected severe weather systems blow up out of nowhere. Many rides carry people high in the air, such as Ferris wheel and swings, not someplace you want to be if lightning suddenly comes crashing in.
Fair owners and operators keep an eye on the skies, especially in cases where severe weather is forecast, and they will often use loudspeakers to warn fair attendees of the danger and advise them to get to safety. If you are attending a fair, however, it is a good idea to catch the news before you go, just to see if there is any chance that you might find yourself caught in an undesirable situation.
If the weather does turn bad, you should get off of any high rides as soon as possible. These rides are made from metal and steel and are basic lightning rods. Not only should they be evacuated, but stay well clear of them just in the event of a lightning strike.
Find a place to take shelter, many fairgrounds have covered areas commonly used for food or vendors, so seek out such a location as cover from the wind and the rain. Ideally, if you can get to your car, that is the best scenario, but any port in a storm will do. Grandstands also provide a measure of protection as they are made out of concrete and as such are very resistant to collapse due to high winds or heavy rain.
Concerts stages made the news in the past couple of years, with the country act Sugarland and classic rock band Cheap Trick both having stages collapse out from under them, resulting in a couple of fatalities and numerous injuries to the fans in attendance. Temporary concert stages are not built to withstand the high winds that often accompany severe weather, so leave the area as rapidly as possible when storms start blowing up. Outdoor amphitheaters, on the other hand, are built to withstand the stress and strain of problem severe weather and make excellent choices for shelter once the winds begin to blow.
As in all cases of being caught outdoors at inopportune times, you want to avoid being caught out in open ground during thunderstorms, since the chance for injury is great. If you can’t find shelter, seek the lowest possible location, a ditch or other low stretch of land, and then crouch down to make yourself as small of a target as possible.
Of course, none of this is meant to unnecessarily alarm anyone. Go out and have fun, just keep one eye on the sky!