What's Going to Happen When a Tornado Hits a Baseball Game or Concert?

Legendary meteorologist and master of badassery Chuck Doswell wrote a great blog post this afternoon about when, not if, a tornado hits a major sports/entertainment venue during a heavily attended event.

Many of us meteorologists are concerned about the potential disastrous impact of storms on large venue activities: ball games, amusement parks, concerts, and so on. It's inevitable that a really bad storm will hit one of these events and cause mass casualties. There are numerous examples of near-misses by significant tornadoes, for instance. There's no reason to believe that good fortune will continue forever. Rather, it's inevitable that a large venue event will be hit by a strong tornado. It's frightening even to contemplate such a disaster. Despite the efforts by some of us to heighten the awareness of this danger, the response has been less than overwhelming, as this image suggests. What are the reasons for this reluctance to act on the potential for a disaster?

It's not a hypothetical scenario. Just this past February, a tornado-warned thunderstorm passed directly over the Daytona 500 with thousands of people in attendance. In 2008, a tornado struck Atlanta's Georgia Dome in the middle of a basketball game. And it's not just tornadoes — lightning, hail, and damaging winds all present a threat to those in attendance of events held in major venues, especially ones in open stadiums.

It's incumbent upon the hosts of sporting events, concerts, and even Disney World and Six Flags to ensure the safety of their guests during severe weather, but you should also be aware of the weather forecast. If major thunderstorms are expected to develop halfway through the fifth inning and you opt not to stay home, you should have a plan for what to do in case severe weather approaches.

[Image via AP]