When you have thousands of people gathered in an open outdoor venue, surrounded by a lot of metallic objects, it can be a recipe for a massive weather disaster that could potentially kill hundreds. This was a topic of discussion at the University of Maryland for NOAA’s lightning and safety workshop. Based on the lightning strikes that hit and killed over fifty people in two different arenas in India and China, decisions needed to be made on protecting fans and players during some of Mother Nature’s most volatile weather.
The science of lightning can be complex, as lightning bolts can hit in a range of over ten miles from the main storm and can measure at 200,000 amps, 300,000,000 volts with a heat measurement at over 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightning explodes concrete out of sidewalks, blows out bricks and devastates large trees. The threat for sports venues is real and the group needed to develop a method of protection for outdoor venues.
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