Indiana State Fair incident was no Fluke!

The stage collapse at the Indiana state fair Saturday night is being described as a fluke incident. I could not disagree more. The definition of the noun fluke is: “an accident or chance happening”. This wasn’t by that definition and here’s why.

Timeline of Events (State Police)

At 7 p.m. Saturday, NWS in Indianapolis told fair officials that a thunderstorm would be in the area of the fairgrounds between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and that the storm would have heavy rain, lightning, strong winds and hail of up to 2 inches, according to the timeline released by ISP.

Fair staff was told of the severe thunderstorm watch by an autodialer shortly after 7 p.m. and again a little after 8 p.m., according to information provided by ISP.

At 8:30 p.m., ISP officers were moved to the grandstand to assist security and other personnel in the evacuation of concert attendees.

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Marion County at 8:39 p.m.

At 8:45 p.m., the concert emcee announced to attendees that severe weather was moving in, and attendees were told “how and where to seek shelter,” according to the released timeline.

The stage collapsed at 8:49 p.m., four minutes after the announcement from the stage.

Within a minute, the Indiana Fire Department was alerted of “a collapse with injuries at the fairgrounds.”

At 8:51 p.m., IFD workers who were on site responded to the collapse, and additional IFD and EMS units were dispatched to the scene.

By 8:54 p.m., crews had confirmed a collapse with multiple injuries, according to ISP’s timeline.

At 8:55 p.m., the Indianapolis Metro Police Emergency Response Group arrived at the scene of the collapse.

The Marion County coroner was called to the collapse at 9:06 p.m., and power was cut to the stage at 9:13 p.m.

Someone from the coroner’s office arrived at the scene at 9:15 p.m.

At 10:03 p.m., the incident was upgraded to a “Mass Casualty Incident Level 3.”

Two minutes later, all patients had been transported from the scene, including all five who died.

Indiana Task Force One was called to search the rubble at 10:26 p.m., with the search beginning a half-hour later.

At 11:27 p.m., the search was completed, and rescue operations concluded at 11:46 p.m., ISP said.

A secondary search of the Indiana State Fairgrounds was completed at 1:53 a.m. Sunday.

Weather timeline

Nexrad Doppler radar at 7:59pm and you already see a problem as a gust front is visible on the radar well ahead of the actual rain. 23.59_ref

Nexrad Doppler at 8:30 pm gust front is now 19 minutes away.


Nexrad Doppler at 8:44pm and the gust front is just 5 minutes away.


Nexrad Doppler radar at exactly 8:48 and 42 seconds.


This is what it actually looked like from Jessica(Jsilas7) a YouTuber who I contacted and she told me the timestamp on her camera was at 8:47 when she started rolling.

Loop from 8:00-9:06pm Local time. (Click to loop)



What happened here was that either communications broke down or the threat was greatly misunderstood by the officials at the Fair Grounds. These storms did not just pop-up or pulse right over the fair grounds which would indeed have been a fluke. There was plenty of warning, if you you knew or wanted to know what was going to happen. The focus on the actual Severe Thunderstorm Warning is insignificant in my opinion. The warning was issued at 8:39pm which was 10 mins before the stage collapsed. A severe thunderstorm warning is only issued when winds are 58mph or higher or hail is 1” in diameter or larger. Problem here is you have people in an outdoor event and around a temporary structure which requires them to seek shelter at a much lower threshold. Something that should have been known by those organizing the event. One of the fatalities was a stage hand in a metal light structure running a spot light, with lightning clearly visible in the distance. Lightning alone was sufficient reason to evacuate people and since lightning was within 10 miles of the fair grounds patrons should have been seeking shelter. Then you had at least 40-50 mph winds in these storms. Not enough to issue a warning but enough if I’m in a tent, camper or temporary structure, I’m evacuating that structure and I’m seeking shelter.

This is where I would recommend any outdoor event either have a trained meteorologist on-site or on call during the entire event. If you have trained police, fire and medics on site for emergencies then why not a meteorologist?”

The reliance on smartphone apps which was quoted by officials at the press conference Saturday night is unacceptable. As seen in the radar images the gust front was a huge threat that to an untrained eye and on a composite radar on your phone is not detectable. I love technology and especially my iPhone, but a weather app is not a meteorologist just like WebMD is not a doctor.

We need to learn from this incident and make weather preparedness a priority in all our outdoor events and activities. It amazes me the amount of safety precautions and preparation we make for terrorism, fire, and car crashes. Yet we still do very little for severe weather safety and preparation which occurs far more frequently and widespread than the prior.

Questions, comments or discussion are greatly appreciated. Because these are the types of things we need to talk about before they happen again. I don’t pretend to have all the answers or claim that all weather disasters can be predicted precisely. I know that having a plan and proper information and communications can greatly prevent such disasters in the future.

Brad Panovich Chief Meteorologist at WCNC-TV, Charlotte, NC


Related Blog posts with further insight into this tragedy:

Smarter phones, smarter weather? Nate Johnson

Indianapolis Tragedy Not a Fluke by Tim Ballisty, Editorial Meteorologist The Weather Channel

Capital Weather Gang at the Washington Post

The Fundamental Problem at the Indiana State Fair (Mike Smith)

Anything but a “fluke” (Brandon Redmond)

Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse JOHN HUNTINGTON 

 Chuck Doswell Magnifying a Tragedy (Very Good Read)

  • Brad, I agree wholeheartedly with your take on the situation. I admit to having fear of severe weather, so I probably take more precautions that the average person, but in this case….something should have been done. Obviously, when looking at the deaths and injuries that resulted. I believe that whoever is calling this a “fluke” is probably trying to avoid litigation. Just as a weather lay-person…I would have sought shelter based on the look of that storm! I wanted to also say that I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your reporting of the weather and the information that you provide to those of us in your viewing area!! You are doing a wonderful job and it is very much appreciated!!

    • Anonymous

      Lori, thank you very much. I agree with you if I was in a framed house I might not be too worried about this storm, but outside in it was a completely different story.

  • Michael Hetrick

    Brad, I 100% agree with you on your assessment. Anytime an outdoor event has a threat of weather, a trained meteorologist should be on-site to assess the situation continuously. As a former broadcast meteorologist, it really broke my heart to see these people in this situation. Describing this as a “fluke” is wrong. Thunderstorms produce outflow/gust fronts all the time, this is not an isolated incident. The organizers of this event should be held responsible for not maintaining safety of the staff and event goers.

  • Brad I agree with you on this. The sky color alone would have had me heading out for cover. My son also noted that the stage supports broke off at the same distance which would be where they were “bolted together”. Back to strong wind gusts and how much the staging can handle. Lots of questions here – time to look at them all and go forward with new guide lines. I feel so sorry for those that have lost a loved one.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah I think the stage set-up should be examined as well. It does appear that there was a faliure there too but even the best stage was likely coming down on those winds.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve seen photos of the scaffolding before they fell down. There were multiple guy wires holding them up.

  • Maurice Shamell

    Very well said. Noted and I agree completely. This was completely avoidable.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Mo!

  • Good write up Brad. Bring it to light!!

  • Great post Brad. You would think if the professional golf tours can have a weather team to clear the course due to dangerous conditions then those running outdoor events would do the same – it just makes sense. When I worked for a minor league golf tour over 10 years ago, even then we had lightning detection software from WSI that would alert us when lightning was 20 miles away…then we would call the local meteorologist for the professional insight. Someone made a huge mistake in Indiana and unfortunately lives were lost b/c of it.

    • Anonymous

      thanks Bobby.

    • Tyg

      how about the NWS not notifying anyone of the gust front?????? hello there fair officials were told 20 minutes and the “STORM” did reach them 20 minutes later, it was the gust front not the storm! they issued a warning when the gust front was 4 minutes away! NWS has no culpability but the fair does!?!? if you dont know its there how can you warn for it

  • a terrible tragedy that some didnt take seriously,and lives were lost although there was a 15 minuet window they even with an evac plan there no good if you dont act on them ,dam…………

    • Anonymous

      agree completely Andrea.

  • Nelie McNeal

    Just reading this in St Louis and have found it to be the clearest and most comprehensive explanation available online. Thank you for taking the time to put this together.
    The video was horrifying, and I don’t just mean the collapse of the stage. All you had to do was look at the sky to realize something bad was on the way. Thousands of people’s lives were at risk, and they were little more than sitting ducks.
    Is it even that expensive to hire a professional, onsite meteorologist? Bet it’d be a fraction of the cost of concert security (who’d dream of having a show without that?).
    And you’re absolutely right: trusting the information on a tiny phone screen when the stakes are so high is downright reckless.
    This is the Midwest; severe weather is nothing new, and your radar photos prove it.
    Thanks again.

    • Anonymous

      thanks Nelie. You can hire a meteorologist which I have done but I also offer my services for free as a local TV meteorologist to certain events. In most cities you’ll find the local TV meteorologist will offer some guidance via phone. On-site usually costs 60-80$ an hour but most insurance coverage demands there to be an on-site meteorologist.

  • Great Analysis, Brad. I totally agree that this wasn’t out of the blue. Anyone smart enough to even READ a radar would most likely recognize this storm as having a lot of energy, and wind. I am also uncertain as to whether the people who built the structure should be blamed, because i do not think those structures were MADE for winds that strong.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah I’m curious to get an engineers opinion on what the wind load of those temporary stages are? To me once you know that you need to prepare for winds that exceed the wind load of the structure.

  • It’s really pissing me off that Mike Phelps and AccuWeather cronies are using this incident as an example of the NWS not giving proper warning….. they did have warning!

    AccuWeather is trying to use this to say the fairgrounds should of used them and they would of had warning.

    • Anonymous

      Agree but that’s common practice for them. I know many of the forecasters at Indy NWS personally and trust me they were on top of the situation, the warning wasn’t the problem here. The response to the warning was the issue.

      • Anonymous

        No, perhaps your personal friendship with the folks at the NWS IS clouding your view here. There was no warning for the gust front. The warning was for the squall line. The timing of the warning WAS the problem. Had there not been a gust front, it looks like the fairgrounds would have evacuated those people in plenty of time for the squall line. If “Accuweather” would have warned the fairgrounds of the gust front and the NWS didn’t do that, then the fairgrounds SHOULD use Accuweather!!!

    • Tyg

      well Zach it sounds like, according to brad anyway that he can see that a gust front formed well ahead of the storm and it is/was bearing down on marion county, so therefor why was only a watch issued at 8pm, why not a warning! they told fair officials that the storm would hit 20 minutes or so later and it did arrive on time! why is there a warning for a storm packing 58 mph winds and above but yet not a gust front packing 70 mph winds!?!? everyone wants to blame blame blame, how bout NWS take some too then!!!!!!!

  • Brad, well-written article. I totally agree with you on everything that you said. Even one life lost is just too many especially when certain tragedies can be prevented. The common person would have never expected something like this to happen, so that’s why there needs to be proper warnings for events like this. But again, great article!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks and your right when you are responsible for that many people it up to the organizers to warn people with enough time to react correctly. The only good thing to come from this is now every event is rethinking how they deal with severe weather.

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  • I agree with what you have said. A lot of people tend to forget how dangerous severe weather can be. This is especially true in Indiana where we get powerful thunderstorms on a a regular basis during some (most) parts of the year. The fair should have had someone knowledgeable on staff to make safety decisions in case of bad weather.

    • Anonymous

      thanks lets hope we all learn something from this tragedy, I hope!

  • this is not donna, i am her son Tyler! just stopped in and found this! Thank You for the timeline and reporting! i feel awful for the families of the injured and the ones who lost their lives! as for the worker, who was up in the rigging, he had no choice he is a different story! But as for the concert goers! you have a 4 minute window of the “seek shelter warning”, 2 minutes by Jessica’s video, so why was no one moving before she started rolling! Everyone says THEY’D HAVE sought shelter, I am a weather fanatic and i would have by the ‘LOOKS” just like lori you etc… have said! so why did they only start moving when the wind picked up!??? just a ?, as I dont want to “BLAME” any victims yet I do not feel the show manager should take the fall, as they gave warnings, told where to seek shelter and no one moved for 4 minutes until the wind picked up. in 20 seconds of video the stage area is almost completely cleared out, so had they moved when warned, DO YOU think they would have had time? looks like it to me, im not being a smart ass, or heartless as i do feel awful, but sometimes things are flukes and people dont listen to their ‘GUT’ or “WARNINGS to seek shelter” a d bad things can happen! This is not donna either, it is Tyler her son as i just got reading this and thought id weigh in!

    • Anonymous

      I’ll say this Tyler, if your in a building and one part of the building is on fire do you wait till the fire reaches you to get out or get do you out immediately. What if your in a meeting and the guy giving the meeting knows another part of the building is on fire and does’t tell you until it right on you?

      You makes good points on the why the crowd didn’t evacuate if told. My whole point of this blog post is to point out that meteorologically this was no fluke. This storm didn’t come out of no where in fact. The line of strong to severe storms had been tracking across Illinois and into Indiana all afternoon and evening. The problem here was people didn’t listen too or understand the magnitude of the situation. We don’t yet know why that is but if there was a proper delayed or cancelled of the concert due to weather. Just like another outdoor concert the same night was cancelled from this same storms none of the people would have been out there.

      • Anonymous

        But it wasn’t the thunderstorm (the rain, thunder and lightning part of the storm we “regular humans” look at) that did this damage – it was the gust front that was never mentioned by the NWS. The storm itself wasn’t the fluke. It was the unmentioned winds within the gust front that were strong enough to collapse the scaffolding that the Governor was talking about. There was nothing to “listen” to – I see nothing in the NWS warning about gust front winds, and from the timing they’re talking about, they were talking about the winds within the thunderstorm, not half an hour in front of the thunderstorm. The squall line and the winds they were talking about were scheduled to hit around 9:20.

        And the other concert that was suspended that same night? They didn’t have a building nearby for people to evacuate to, and so they had people going to their cars to shelter in their vehicles – AND they were protecting the people in advance of the thunderstorm, NOT from the gust front that hit quite a while ahead of the thunderstorm. This is a fact that many of you are missing. To meteorologists, the gust front is part of the thunderstorm. To us regular human beings, the thunderstorm starts when the precipitation hits us.

        • Sheila Spears

          I’m not a meteorologist, and I am well aware of gust fronts preceding squall lines. It doesn’t matter what time the squall line was scheduled to hit. This line of storms had a history of hail and high winds that was being reported on Indianapolis TV stations long before the the gust front hit the fair grounds. Furthermore, if the state fair office has any sort of severe weather plan, surely it includes not waiting until rain to fall to get people out of harm’s way.

          Given that the Indiana State Fair officials had plenty of notice–at least two and a half hours from the time the watch was issued until the gust front hit with no indication that the squall line was declining in intensity–there is no reason that they could not have cancelled the concert and all other outdoor events at the fair well ahead of time.

  • Tyg

    i feel bad as we all do, but brad why was a warning issued 4 mins before 70 mph winds hit, 20 min later the storm hits! would;nt a warning 20 minutes before the gust front have helped, solved this by getting everyone out of the way! why a waring 4 min before FOUR MINUTES and the fairs at fault?

    • Anonymous

      Tyg, There should have been an evacuation order given much earlier as you could see in the radar images they knew the storm was coming. They should not have been waiting for a severe thunderstorm warning which came out 10 minutes prior to the collapse. When you have people out side any thunderstorm requires people to seek shelter. The lightning and 40-50 mph winds were dangerous enough. I think you are going to hear as the investigation goes on that they in fact were told to evacuate the crown at 8:15 and no action was taken. Thanks for the comments

      • Anonymous

        You totally ignored the point that “Tyg” brought up. On top of that, you ignore that warnings are often given ahead of the time that a threat is actually present – in this case, they were warning about the squall line, and not about the gust front. If they were warning about the gust front, then the NWS warning was half an hour too late! And what source has told you that they were given advice to evacuate the crowd at 8:15? I haven’t read that anywhere!

  • Thank you very much for your insight on this Brad. I was chasing the far southern end of this gust front about 15-20 miles away from the fairgrounds. And even there, I was viewing gustnadoes along the leading edge:

    • Anonymous

      Great video yeah I was trying to see if there was any bisecting outflows west of Indy. Looked like there might have been a minor one but the velocity data from the radar was all cluttered with RF. Always amazing to see these gustnadoes spin up on the outflow. Still not buying that’s what hit the stage looked like just straight outlfow by the time it reached there. Do wonder if some of the grandstand and the bowl shape of the infield funneled the wind and made it slightly stronger near the stage.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree with a lot of your conclusions. The severe thunderstorm warning wasn’t specifically for the fairgrounds – it was for a county, correct? And those warnings are often issued ahead of the actual storm hitting a specific area. Then, on top of that, there was no warning whatsoever about the gust front and the winds associated with that. Had there not been a gust front, the evacuation would have been in plenty of time to protect the concertgoers from the thunderstorm itself. And on top of that, a wind in a gust front that’s strong enough to topple the scaffolding is unusual and unexpected. And on top of that, what the Governor was describing as a fluke wasn’t simply wind from a gust front. It was an unexpected wind from a gust front that was so strong that it could destroy the stage.

    • Anonymous

      Dolly, thanks for the comments but what I’m saying is that if you have a meteorologist there or in contact with one they would evacuate the area long before the gust front got there. The investigation will revel how long they thought it would take for a complete evacuation but if the order was only given at 8:40 when the storm was to arrive at 8:55 that’s only 15 mins. So even if you didn’t know the gust front was coming, which I argue any meteorologist should have, you only were giving your audience 15 mins to get to safety.

      • Anonymous

        They WERE in direct contact with meteorologists at the NWS, and those folks apparently never warned them about the gust front. Never. The “storm” didn’t arrive at 8:55 – the squall line was supposed to arrive about half an hour after the gust front hit! That would have been plenty of time to evacuate the people to a nearby building. Had they gotten half an hour’s advance notice about the gust front, they would have evacuated earlier. They were never warned about the gust front! Because not every storm travels at the same speed, you wait to hear when you have enough warning to evacuate – just like they do with hurricanes! The problem here is that the NWS wasn’t warning for the gust front – they were warning for the squall line! Your fire analogy has no place here, and makes no sense in this issue – according to what the NWS was telling them, they had half an hour to clear out the people, which should have been enough time. The problem was that the NWS didn’t tell them, ever, about the gust front or its strength. Thunderstorms fall apart or shift course, and so until it got relatively close and the NWS predicted it would hold together, they didn’t have any reason to cancel or suspend the show! When they got that info, they acted, and it would have been plenty of time for the squall line!

        • Anonymous

          Dolly, you’re ignoring the fact that a thunderstorm was coming period end of story IMO. There was ample warning from the Severe Thunderstorm Watch, Hazardous Weather Outlooks all day long. You have to remember the criteria for a severe thunderstorm warning is 58 mph winds, you have to ask if the winds are 50 mph do you still keep people there? The NWS has to serve the entire region just not this event, the event planners need a independent third part meteorologist just for this event to give them guidance. I’m very confident that once this investigation is done we will see that they indeed have plnety of warning but chose to wait and see instead of acting. As for hurricane they always evacuate much earlier than they need to to, that’s what the watch is for, just like when you are under a Severe Thunderstorm watch for many hours you should know every thunderstorm is dangerous.

          Here’s all the products issued that day and their timing from the NWS.

          • Sheila Spears

            A severe thunderstorm is not a hurricane. Furthermore, as wxbrad wrote, any severe thunderstorm should be expected to have winds of 58 mph or above. Warnings were going up for counties west of Indianapolis. Indy TV stations were reporting winds of 70+mph and hail in surrounding counties. Lightning is a hazard for long before a storm arrives. Gust front or not, the fair officials had enough information to either evacuate well ahead of time or cancel the outdoor events. They should not be waiting for raindrops to fall to make a decision. An outdoor venue where thousands of people likely do not have access to weather information (not everyone has an Iphone) presents a particularly hazardous situation where severe weather is involved. Therefore, it is best to err on the side of caution than to make cover stories after people have died.

      • Anonymous

        They DID have direct, repeated contacts with the National Weather Service – who do you think works there – doctors and plumbers? Of course not – they were talking with meteorologists, and those meteorologists didn’t TELL THEM ABOUT A DANGEROUS GUST FRONT!

        What part of that baffles you? I mean, really, what part of the fact that they were given NO warnings about the gust front by meteorologists has you confused into thinking that if they’d only talked to a meteorologist they would have been warned about the gust front?

        So, while it’s true that there likely should have been a warning about the gust front, there wasn’t, and so it’s not the fault of the officials at the fair – they were proceeding based upon the best info they had!

        And the thunderstorm wasn’t scheduled to arrive at 8:55. They had a building nearby and so the evacuation wouldn’t have taken very long at all.

        In hindsight, we now know that in this exact location it was a dangerous gust front. It didn’t do any other damage at the State Fair, and only very mimimal damage anyplace else. But your assertion that any meteorologist would have warned about the gust front is disproven by the evidence we have that they didn’t! It was a fluke, just as the Governor said – a fluke that no meteorologist warned about. Show me any local news that mentioned the gust front before it hit the state fair. Show me any weather warnings about
        the gust front from that evening. I’ve seen warnings about gust fronts
        before. At times, they’re so severe the same basic phenomenom is called a

        • Anonymous

          Facts so far don’t support you conclusions. Sorry but they did get plenty of warning they choose to ignore or delay actions because they thought they knew more about the weather than a meteorologist. They admitted they didn’t think it was going to be that bad based on what they thought and not the meteorologist. They admitted they didn’t evacuate at 8:15 when they were warned among many other facts now reveled.

          Not to mention countless other rides and events in the area were cancelled or delayed with the exact same information.


        • Anonymous

          Facts so far don’t support you conclusions. Sorry but they did get plenty of warning they choose to ignore or delay actions because they thought they knew more about the weather than a meteorologist. They admitted they didn’t think it was going to be that bad based on what they thought and not the meteorologist. They admitted they didn’t evacuate at 8:15 when they were warned among many other facts now reveled.

          Not to mention countless other rides and events in the area were cancelled or delayed with the exact same information.


  • Well Said. Not a fluke at all but a well predicted event. Also, storms like that in Indiana happen 20+ times a year so people should have known what to expect.

  • Waxbrad, this is donna. the entire point to this is they (people) ignored to leave until it was too late. Re-watch and you may come to the same conclusion. If I saw a “sky” looking this way, even at home, I would head inside very quickly. While I don’t have a fixation on storms and so forth, I do use common sense. And I believe that is what my son was eluding to. But I will not speak for him. I feel very sad for all the lives lost and injuries but they DID have warning.

    • Anonymous

      agreed that there is some personally responsibility for people to know better, but everyone would have left if they had told them the concert was delayed or cancelled. I think people paid good money and were going to take a risk they should not have. Sadly there are many lessons to be learned from this tragedy.

  • Tommy Jinks

    Excellent work. We’ve proven, I think, that I can’t depend on event organizers for my safety… There’s a personal responsibility check mark that’s getting missed there as well… as others have noted “if I saw THAT coming, I would have run, whether anyone told me to or not…

    We agree, I think, that the iPhone app probably won’t do it. I found myself in (almost) the exact same position several weeks ago on Mountain Island Lake locally… I was looking at the radar on my phone thinking, “should be ok” and then saw @wxbrad telling me to seek shelter on twitter. I did, and shortly afterwards we got hit by a big storm that developed ahead of what I was seeing on the radar…

    So, ignoring the event organizers for a second, what can *I* do to ensure *MY* safety at events like this?

    The iPhone apps aren’t detailed enough and while watching you post on twitter is a good way to keep up with things (and has saved me a couple of scares), I’m painfully aware that this isn’t your primary form of communicating the work that you do. It’s certainly helpful but I wouldn’t fault you if you missed getting an alert out via twitter some day… it’s adjunct communication.

    What tools do I need to keep myself safe on an ongoing basis?

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t ignored anything. They were evacuating based upon the severe thunderstorm warning, and the concertgoers would have been out of there in plenty of time ahead of the squall line. It’s you who ignored the fact that there was never a warning for the gust front, and if it had been warned about, the warning would have come 20-30 minutes before the actual warning occurred.

    Because storms dissipate or shift course, it wasn’t unreasonable for the officials at the fairgrounds to wait for a severe thunderstorm warning for their location before they issued an evacuation order. How can you STILL be missing the fact that they were evacuating people because of that warning once they got it? They weren’t “keeping people there”. Again, I haven’t ignored anything!

    And again, as I already asked you once, where’s your evidence that they had advanced warning that they ignored? And, in fact, for hurricanes, they try really hard to not evacuate “much earlier” than they need to – they try to evacuate in exactly the amount of time they deem necessary to get everyone in the path out of harm’s way. They don’t do it any earlier than necessary, because hurricanes can change course or change intensity.

    • Anonymous

      I can’t divulge the information I have because of the ongoing investigation. So I’ll leave it there, it’s a good discussion to have.

  • Anonymous

    A thunderstorm watch is not a reason to cancel a concert, since any individual area within that watch may not be hit. A severe thunderstorm warning is the thing that needs to happen before the concert was suspended, and that’s what was going on. The officials at the state fair were keeping in touch with the NWS. If the folks at the NWS didn’t tell them about the dangers from the gust front, why do you think that an on-site guy would have done that? And, as I’ve repeatedly said, the failure here was with the meteorologists within the NWS who never mentioned the gust front as being a problematic thing, and we humans who aren’t obsessed with the weather don’t see gust fronts as being a great danger – we see the squall line itself as being the dangerous thing. And in this case, the NWS apparently only saw the squall line as the dangerous thing.

    And I see nothing in any of the weather warnings that would tell anyone that there were going to be dangerous winds in the gust front half an hour before the squall line was going to hit.

    The officials at the fair were going to protect the concertgoers from the thunderstorm – we have evidence of that. The officials didn’t know that they had to protect them from the gust front. The assumption that they were negligent because they didn’t protect them from something which no one had told them was something that concertgoers needed to be protected from is, in minion, something that is unsupportable. We have no evidence that someone onsite would have given them better warnings about the gust front when the NWS people that they repeatedly talked to apparently never mentioned the gust front as a threat.

    • Anonymous

      Watch means severe weather is possible when a thunderstorms appears in a watch area you should assume it’s severe. That’s all I”m saying or there would be no point in issuing a watch otherwise

      Again I point to this part of the timeline,

      At 8:30 p.m., ISP officers were moved to the grandstand to assist security and other personnel in the evacuation of concert attendees.

      A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Marion County at 8:39 p.m.

      At 8:45 p.m., the concert emcee announced to attendees that severe weather was moving in, and attendees were told “how and where to seek shelter,” according to the released timeline.

      Why did they wait till from 8:30 until 8:45 to tell people to seek shelter if they were told a severe thunderstorm was approaching? If 9 o’clock was when they though it would arrive why cut it so close?

  • Anonymous

    Just came to my attention via Rob Dale: “The Indiana State Fair had a meteorologist on staff. According to Fox59 news this evening, he suggested an evacuation at 8:15pm.”

    If true this raises some serious questions.


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  • Anonymous

    More information continues to come to light.

    Indiana State Fair received 3 days of bad-weather alerts before Sugarland stage collapse|breaking|text|

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  • Anonymous

    A 6th person has died from injuries sustained in the Indy stage collapse. The first lawsuit has been filed & will seek a temporary injunction to prevent removal of debris. Meanwhile, storms with 70 mph winds struck the Missouri State Fairgrounds overnight. Advance warnings from the NWS Pleasant Hill, Mo., WFO helped the safe evacuation of about 4000 people. Widespread damage to campers, trailers, tents, and fair booths, but no fatalities or serious injuries reported. Meghan Danahey

  • Brad’s right: Run from the Water, Hide from the Wind! Looks like Irene is definetly going to be a ‘party crasher’…had to cancel my Mother/Daughter beach trip, but I’m not complaining. My concern and prayers are out there for all of you who are in her path and for those currently living close to the beach…stay safe, be smart, don’t take chances.

  • Great information Brad!!! Glad to see the storm weakening. Still going to do enough damage but looking like its not going to be as bas as the models first projected on Category strength

  • Anonymous

    Brad, while contemplating the 6th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the storm that changed our lives forever here in New Orleans, I kept thinking about a brave meteorologist — John Gumm — who stayed on the air, talking us through those terrifying hours spent packing and watching, packing and watching…and finally, on the morning of the 28th, leaving. I remember that somewhere in the the wee early morning hours on the 28th John said to us (loose quote): “Well folks, I gotta go, my wife’s in labor.” At that point I was in awe at his selflessness! I believe you took over from there, Brad. I thought I remembered Dave Bernard, as well. But, like John, I had not slept and my memory could be big foggy here. The sleep deprivation came from the worry and the newest presence in our home, our 18-day old son, Liam.
    Having just celebrated Liam’s sixth birthday in the city I am proud to call our home — New Orleans — I wanted to say “THANK YOU!” Thank you, John. Thank you, Brad. I don’t know if you guys and gals in television meteorology realize it or not, but you are our heroes when it counts. And prior to Katrina, it counted so much! So, on the eve of the anniversary I know so many of us want to forget, a heartfelt “THANK YOU!” for all ya’ll (had to say it) do to keep us out of the eye of the storm. — NolaMom

  • That’s a great looking app! I don’t think it replaces the utility of a real emergency weather radio, but it would be an excellent tool to have. You can never have enough early warning systems when it comes to watching out for nature’s fury.

  • The link to the google map interactive storm track is broken. Can you fix?

    • Anonymous

      which page?

  • Sad so much lost….lives, homes, some things cannot replace or rebuild.

  • I thought WCNC had a 250,000watt Baron VHDD radar? Radtecs are only 200 watts…so my question is how is it most powerful in the Charlotte market? WSOC’s is a Baron Radar

    • Anonymous

      We do have the 250,000 watt Baron VHDD and WSOC has the exact same radar. Not sure why they are proclaiming it the most powerful. We plan on upgrading to 350,000watts next year.

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  • Anonymous

    Just saw the final release of the investigation. No shock here but thought these paragraphs hit at exactly why I wrote this blog post.

    “Each year for nearly a decade, we warned the Commission, in writing, that “The roof or top shall not be used in high winds and or severe inclement weather. High winds meaning 25 MPH and above.” In the case of the structure used for the Sugarland concert, the threshold was 40 mph for evacuation.

    “On the evening of the incident one of our employees reconfirmed with State Fair leadership that if there was lightening or wind speeds of 40 mph or more, the area should be evacuated.

    “Despite these warnings, the Indiana State Fair Commission, who controlled the venue, and Sugarland, who controlled the concert, refused to postpone the concert and failed to implement an evacuation plan away from the temporary roof structure.”

    Full story below.,0,6179439.column

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  • Zell

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