With possible thunderstorms over the weekend, emergency management officials are asking residents to be prepared for weather emergencies at any outdoor activity this summer.
Llyle Barker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln, said a stationary front south of Effingham that stretches from Missouri to the Ohio River valley will be struck by another front Saturday afternoon, causing thunderstorms and heavy rain.
“We’re looking at some possible storms,” he said. “There’s some chance for severe weather, but we’re not predicting it to be too intense. Probably the best chance for thunderstorms will be mid afternoon Saturday through the evening hours.”
Effingham EMA Coordinator Kim Tegeler said the capacity for thunderstorms should be a reminder for those hosting outdoor activities that an action plan should be in place in case of a disaster during an event.
“When you’re hosting the event, make sure you have a plan,” she said. “Have someone watching the radio if something might be happening. If you’re attending, make sure you know where you’re going to go when something hits.”
Tegler said officials became more concerned about weather conditions at events after a tent collapsed because of high winds in 2012 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, killing one person and injuring more than 100.
She advised that all organizers have a way to receive information about storms in the area, a plan to follow when bad weather threatens the area, a way to notify attendees and a place to shelter people through the storm.
“It really triggered a lot for me in making sure that these events have their plans in place,” Tegler said. “I’d be more than happy to help anyone with an emergency plan.”
Tegler said while people should keep an eye on weather forecasts, as well as warnings, organizers should activate their emergency plan after hearing thunder or seeing lightning.
“If it’s an outdoor event, no matter what, if there’s lightning, I would make sure to get people to a safe place,” she said. “If there’s a threat of a tornado, get people to safety.”
Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, at jackson.adams@effinghamdaily news.com or via Twitter @EDNJAdams.