Another Large Event Venue Hit by Damaging Weather

A few days ago, we had another near-disaster (and still, 6 injuries) at a large venue when the tent of the “Lucky Star Casino” at Concho OK, supposedly built to withstand 80 mph winds, went down in a downburst. Meteorologist and experienced damage surveyor Greg Stumpf (who was on scene for the concert) estimated winds to be no more than 60 mph, based on the damage. Peter Frampton and the band Yes were going to perform later that afternoon.

This event reminded me eerily of last year’s collapse of another pole-framed tent, also in a non-tornadic and marginally severe thunderstorm, at the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility (BLOG entry), which left a football scout permanently paralyzed and the special teams’ coach with a broken neck and lifelong pain.

Some pertinent links on the Concho casino’s collapse (may be time-sensitive):

http://www.koco.com/news/24161526/detail.html
http://www.musicnewsnet.com/2010/07/yes-peter-frampton-tour-suffers-tent-collapse-in-oklahoma.html
http://www.ksbitv.com/news/Survivor-Recalls-Concert-Tent-Collapse-97981084.html
http://www.koco.com/mostpopular/24176578/detail.html
http://frampton.com/news

Another copy of the video of the event from a surveillance camera (in case the above YouTube version goes away):
http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/raw-video-tent-collapse-injures-six-people-20763556

On my next-day check of the casino’s website…I found nothing whatsoever, anywhere, about severe weather safety at that facility. This lack of venue-specific weather safety information is, without a single exception in my experience, a characteristic of large-event facilities that are struck by storms.

This is one more narrowly-averted, mass-casualty weather disaster at a large venue, and one more in a growing list of these incidents that fellow meteorologist Les Lemon and I have been accumulating as part of our educational and awareness efforts (see the PDF-format paper we wrote 8 years ago). Much more education and awareness still is needed…

[EDIT] I found out that the tent was not owned by the casino, but instead by the concert promoters, who set it up on casino property. Still, as then, there was and is no mention of severe weather safety on the casino’s website, even for its permanent facility.



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