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Backgrounder from Sunday's lightning event in Tampa

So what happens in the background when a large venue event client contracts the services of a company like Weather Decision Technologies? Here's a brief synopsis regarding the lightning event in Tampa Bay yesterday that you no doubt know about by now. Here's a quick recap:

Seven people were taken to the hospital Sunday after a lightning strike occurred in Raymond James Stadium parking lot #14 occurred following an NFL game in Tampa, Florida. It doesn't appear that anyone was directly struck and that a nearby SUV took the hit. Four to five other people received treatment at the scene but were not hospitalized per the Tampa Fire Department.

Clients in this case are Fox Sports Media Group via Sports Production Safety Group. Our job is to notify key operations personnel when weather threatens so that camera operators and support staff can vacate their positions and other asset-protection activities can be carried out. At 2:39pm EST we alerted the client that lightning had entered their first threshold which is 20 miles from the stadium:

At 3:52pm EST the first lightning strike entered a radius threshold of 8 miles of the stadium. The NFL game concluded prior to this time so current operations at the time consisted of dismantling equipment. Appropriate actions were taken by those onsite per pre-determined safety precaution checklists. Information sent to onsite personnel:

The lightning strike that affected fans in the parking lot occurred at 4:10pm EST. Between 4:00pm and 4:15pm, 349 strikes occurred within 15 miles of the stadium. There's no doubt many people were at risk. Lightning data following the time of the lot #14 strike looked like this (click to enlarge):

It is important to note that a consumer technology for lightning alerting can be found in WDT's Weather Radio and STRIKE applications available on iOS and Android. Perhaps with one of these apps those who were affected on Sunday would have been able to minimize their exposure before the strike.

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