Severe Weather in St. Louis

There is a possibility of severe weather and tornadoes in St. Louis during championships. It would probably be a good idea to develop and go over your severe weather plans with your team

I would imagine that a tornado going through a robotics competition would be more dangerous than normal given that robots would become very dangerous debris in the event of a tornado. Does anyone know if the venue has a severe storm and tornado plan in place?

The dome itself is a tornado shelter. In 2012 there were major storms that passed through. My Durango still looks like a golf ball from the hail denting it. But yeah, for teams that aren’t familiar with tornado prep, they might want to do some reading.

Being originally from STL, it is a tornado-prone area. Nothing to see here, move on…

I’d imagine that EJD has a plan for if something were to happen, most likely involving shelter-in-place, or evacuation to the concourse. Pay attention to what the venue tells you to do, basically.

This comes up every year…

As a team that’s not used to “weather” this is especially concerning.

As mentioned, we experienced that in 2012. The venue directed everyone into the dome and shut all the doors. The biggest concern was breaking glass in the walkways. The hail was so loud in the dome that you couldn’t hear the music/announcer during the finals. Inside the dome was the safest place to be.

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Severe weather has hit St. Louis a few times in the past:

As mentioned above, I would wager that the safest place to be is inside the Dome.

2012 it was shelter in place. They advised teams to stay in their seats, though to mixed effect. Up in the 400 seats, it got very loud.

Major venues like this have emergency management plans that they put into place if there was a tornado watch/warning issued. Probably the bigger thing that you should be somewhat thinking about is safe places at your hotel and what to do if you are on a bus and see one. This should be all wrapped into the planning that your mentors/coach/safety captain does relating to risk mitigation and contingency planning – having plans for when the worst should happen.
The SPC in Norman has some great tornado safety tips if you are interested.
PS I have been a trained spotter since 2009 and I’ve never once seen one (being from Iowa) :frowning:

There’s a history of tornado’s and the FIRST Championship.

Atlanta in 2008

2012 in St. Louis

In 2012, I was working security on the floor, checking badges and wristbands, Keeping the photographers and videographers in their pens, when the storm started to erupt.

The Dome staff brought people from the streets inside for their protection.
Unlike Atlanta, The Jones Dome is made of structural steel, and was considered safer than the outside hallways with their large glass windows (shards!)

Unfortunately, there were some intoxicated baseball fans. One even went up to the judges and “greeted” them.
We enticed them out of the immediate arena, and the show went on. I don’t think many people noticed this.

The sound of hail on the roof was distracting, but the show went on.
FIRST staff was very concerned and were communicating precautionary measures to us on the field.

I think we will all be safe in the EJD.

I am hoping that the weather won’t adversely affect the MLB game between the Cardinals and the Nationals on Friday night.
It’s just too amazing to see two high level sporting events within 10 city blocks of each other.
And who knows, if the Blues can get the monkey off their back, they may be playing next week too.

Speaking with my RL professional hat on, as a scientist who studies severe weather and interacts with operational meteorologists, emergency managers, etc. on a frequent basis for a well-known national agency:

If only this were true! Some of them do, but many of them do not. Unfortunately, I cannot find a published safety plan for America’s Center / EJD online anyplace. I see that the Cardinals and Busch Stadium are StormReady Certified, but not the dome.

This is pretty good advice. The main thing is to seek shelter inside, away from windows, in the lowest level you can get.

The St. Louis NWS page is here: – and it should have up-to-date information.

I’ll be monitoring it, and if I see anything I will tweet about it (@wxtrav) and tag #FIRSTChamp. Don’t count on that, though, since the phone coverage is pretty sketchy in the dome area.

And whatever you do, don’t let your team run outside to video the storm. I know it is amazingly cool (one reason why started doing what I do for a career), but I’ve seen too many bad things happen to people who thought they would be okay to not be concerned about it.

In California, its just “light drizzle”, “cloudy” or “no clouds and some wind.”

We are definitely not prepared for this weather :cool:

I had a feeling scary 2012 St, Louis would happen this year.
It’s beautiful here right now (me and Abbby came down early). The bad weather sounds like it’s hitting during load in.

As someone from San Diego, I will certainly have to brief myself on what to do.

It goes without saying that teams that are flying in should check with their airlines frequently

sigh Once… ONCE I would like to fly without it being rescheduled. [1]

[1] Last year was delayed nearly 12 hours. I’ve also had the wonderful luck to be stuck in Dulles (or as I started calling it, Dullest) for 18 hours, Tampa for 4, Charlottesville for 6, and Charlotte for 4. I HATE flying.

And teams from the Midwest would be concerned about earthquakes if they were playing in CA. It’s all what you are used to.

We have a healthy respect for storms, but not excessive fear.

this is making me realize that I’m “old” for remembering sitting in the Edwards dome as a tornado passed over it, while the 2012 Einstein matches played

I remember sitting on the dome floor during that, I can’t imagine how loud it must’ve been at the top of the stands.

I remember that year. I walked back to my car a couple hours after the storms passed through, and there was still quarter sized hail on the ground.
$4000 in hail damage… Very expensive weekend. Thank goodness for insurance.

The April 28, 2012 storm produced $1.6 billion in hail damage. There was no confirmed tornado, but at the time it was the 2nd costliest hail storm in US history.

Yes, there is no need to panic. Just make sure your team knows that it is better to be inside, away from windows, interior room, lowest floor if there is a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning.

Chances are you won’t have to use that knowledge, but you want to be prepared in the event that you do.