stadium floodlight in the rain

How Stadiums Can Combat Adverse Weather With Hyper-Local Forecasting

People love watching sports, whether football/soccer in the fall, baseball games in the summer or the Super Bowl in the winter. For fans, there’s nothing quite like attending these games live with family and friends. However, adverse weather can put a damper on the fun. On account of our constantly changing weather, stadium operators need to be wary of any adverse effects and plan accordingly. 

Seasonal Weather Challenges

In the northern hemisphere, summer baseball games typically have hot and humid weather with a chance of thunderstorms. Fall and winter football games come with the threat of rain, snow and ice, all of which can affect the turf and pavements surrounding the venue. Stadium operators need to prepare for this to ensure the safety of both the players and the fans. Operators also have to be wary of how the weather can affect event set up and crowd management.

Weather forecasting is still an inexact science. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to accurately predicting the amount of precipitation that will occur. Weather forecasts tends to be for a broad region. Fathym’s point-based forecasts allow for the prediction of weather for any geo-location, meaning a stadium can hone in on the forecast for their particular latitude and longitude, rather than the broad region. 

Severe weather may be predicted a few days in advance, but with such a high degree of variability, the risk for adverse weather can sometimes not be known until the day of an event. Typical weather forecasts do not offer accurate information about how precipitation is going to affect pavement surfaces and roads. Better road and sidewalk condition forecasts can allow stadiums to plan for increased traffic delays or send out maintenance crews. Fathym’s surface forecasts provide stadiums with more useful and accurate information about the impacts of weather events for improved guest and worker safety.

rain and storm clouds over grass

Dealing with Lightning

One of the most serious weather-related issues for open-air stadiums is lightning. Sports teams can play in conditions such as sleet, snow and rain, but must stop when lightning strikes within a certain vicinity of the stadium. The NCAA has set up various regulations for lighting and when strikes occur within six miles of the stadium, the game must be stopped. The game will remain at a standstill until no more lightning strikes have occurred for at least 30 minutes. Stopping a game due to lightning or adverse weather unnecessarily can result in safety issues, upset fans and economic loss. Increased warning on storms and their potential timing and impact reduces uncertainty and ensures that operations staff make better informed decisions.

The National Weather Service reported that in 2016 alone over 40 people were killed in the U.S. by lightning strikes. While that number is low, event planners need to take precautions to ensure the safety of the fans. It’s important for stadiums to get the most accurate local forecast available to keep their attendees safe. 

Stadium Safety

Stadium safety is naturally a primary concern for stadium operators and security staff. Our partner, Live Earth, offers a cutting-edge mapping platform that can be easily integrated into a stadium’s suite of technology enabling better event preparation. This integration showcases multiple data feeds, which allows for easy access to information in one place, enabling operators to deal with issues in real time. 

One such example is an instant notification to changes in the local weather that will affect things such as game day traffic. When sub-freezing temperatures strike in conjunction with heavy precipitation, event day operators are able to prepare for these issues. Fathym’s weather forecasting technology and sensor observations give actionable insight into upcoming weather, giving stadium operators the tools to make critical decisions. Thanks to this real-time data, the best decisions can be made for the safety of all involved.

The Fathym & Live Earth Solution 

Fathym, in partnership with Live Earth, offers the tools necessary for stadiums to ensure the safety of attendees. Fathym is able to capture sensor data and apply machine learning to create hyper-local surface forecasts that prepare stadiums to deal with whatever impact the weather will have on surfaces in and around the stadium, from turf to sidewalks. At the same time, Fathym’s point-based forecasts allow for the prediction of weather for any geo-location, enabling stadiums to hone in on the forecast for their specific position. Our real-time observations and dynamically-created forecasts are made available through Live Earth’s cutting-edge data visualization platform. This enables stadium’s to combine weather data with additional datasets, which leads to safer events.

For more information download our latest white paper to learn more on how Fathym and Live Earth can enhance stadium safety.

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