Severe Weather Precautions in STL

Up until I saw the severe weather alert on the billboards, I hadn’t really noticed the roof of the dome… after the alert, I think I watched the roof more than I watched Einstein.

I understand the whole “minimize pacic” argument, but there was a tornado within viewing distance of the dome, I felt that something should have been done at that point to ensure everyone would be safe in the event the tornado hit the dome.

I tend to get freaked out by sever weather, so maybe it’s just me, but I think we saw a real lack of emergency planning/reaction and had the worst come to pass that lack of planning could have been a major disaster for FIRST as a whole…

We were already in the safest place available in the Dome. I was sitting in the volunteer lounge and we were asked to head to the dome due to severe weather coming and the Dome being the safest place.

If we can’t handle entering the dome in a non-emergency, how would we evacuate in a real one?

Ultimately, I would say that trying to evacuate a group of 20000 people under a major time crunch would be way less safe than leaving them in the dome, which is likely built to building codes meant for this kind of a situation.

FIRST was following the weather conditions constantly and was in contact with the National Weather Bureau. The path of the storm was relayed to those in charge and were told that the dome was clear of the main cells path. This led to the decision to stay put.

Actually, there were many similarities between the events. In Pittsburgh the lockdown was announced without detail, but it was relatively easy to find the cause because the initial shooting events could be accessed on smart phones, and anyone outside of the pit / field area could see the police activity due to multi-floor windows in lobby (which overlooked Western Psych, site of shooting). The shooting was literally next door to the Peterson Events Center and all roads were block by police / emergency / and SWAT vehicles.

Like St Louis, those inside were told to stay away from windows (although at Perterson Events center windows are bullet proof).

In Pittsburgh the lockdown was MUCH longer (5-6 hours, but emergency was prior to the start of region - on Thursday when teams were just practicing) and the nature of the threat was far from clear (search was in progress for second shooter, who did not exist).

Both events were handled well and there was no clear sign of panic. The injuries and death in St Louis were headlined on cable news sources like CNN and the warnings were carried on weather channels, so details on the emergency were available almost in real time, which was also true in Pittsburgh.

Our pit was literally underwater, but someone came by and moved our stuff away from the developing puddle as soon as it happened. To whomever did that, thanks! Also, thanks to 68 (who picked us for the alliance), most of our pit was on the dome floor.

And, I suppose, if the weather doesn’t suit us, we should just wait around for a few hours :stuck_out_tongue:

Um, yeah, that was me. Sorry. :eek:

Was the water in the pits from leaks in the roof, or from water blowing in from open doors?

Did anyone else see all of the volunteers sprinting off of the dome floor? That was my freak-out moment.

I got a text message of, “Fyi, horrible storms outside, heard tornado sirens…” Checked the weather and saw the cell. I was like “Oh holy smokes, we are near a tornado” Then got a text message that told my friend and I to get up to the stands (we were on the floor watching Einstein) and it said a capital “NOW” so…freak out time!

I personally don’t have any problems with how the situation was handled. Announcing to everyone that “a tornado is coming, please stay put” would have caused ridiculous amounts of panic. Where would you have wanted to evacuate to? We were already in a safe place in the case of a tornado, and there were volunteers keeping people from leaving the seating area to the hall outside where there was lots of glass. They were kept up to date on all the weather conditions, and even kept the finals going longer (which was surprising to me, they always seem to go on so long anyway :stuck_out_tongue: ) so that people wouldn’t want to leave out into the storm.

We discovered today that the hail in St Louis had destroyed the skylight/vent on the top of the team’s trailer. The rain during the past couple of days was not good for the trailer’s contents. Our pit carpet is now hanging over one end of the driver station wall of our practice field to dry out. Our mascot costume and its carrying bag are sitting out to dry as well. I think the electrical crew took the wires off some of the robot batteries to make sure there wasn’t any lasting damage.

The top of the trailer is covered in dents, clearly visible from the inside.

See this post (he conveys what I am attempting to say much better):

I’m doubtful that dome was really the safest place, and that keeping everyone in the dark about the situation was the best approach. HAD there been an emergency situation, it would have been absolute chaos because there was no plan conveyed to the audience. The tornado sighting I heard of (from an adult who saw it) occurred 10 minutes or more before any announcement was made of severe weather (other than the one electronic billboard that the majority of the audience could not see).

Everyone in the stands knew something was going on outdoors, but nothing was said; imagine if a handful of people had decided to take off running (for no real reason), more than likely there would have been a stampede because people were on edge and prepared for the worst.

The way this was dealt with is strikingly similar to the disasters you hear being investigated afterwards in the media, where poor-choices/inaction in an emergency situation cost many people their lives.

Maybe FIRST did have a better handle on the situation than I was able to perceive, but for an organization that preaches safety so strongly, I was very disappointed by the way it appeared to be handled.

Did everyone make it home safely? Someone told me that there was damage to vehicles in the volunteer parking lot.


When I first heard the Championships were going to St. Louis I was concerned about falling victim to violent crime not getting whacked by Mother Nature!

P.S. An aside - I was sitting in my brother’s kitchen with all hail breaking loose, using my niece’s laptop to create this thread. My family urged me to include a warning about the tornado but I refused, saying that I didn’t want to add to or cause any type of mass worry or hysteria. At that time, I wasn’t sure where the tornado was or what type of situation you were in but felt pretty sure that things were very serious.


It was quite a year for me in FIRST for lock downs.

#1 Smoky Mountain regional. We were locked down because of a tornado warning, real tornadoes in the area. We never stopped playing because that part of the convention center was mostly underground and actually a storm shelter and the safest place to be. If fact people from other parts of the convention center were evacuated to our area.

#2 Pittsburgh Shootings, already described here. It was easy to find out what what happening via smart phones even though there was never an announcement. I do believe there was a mentors meeting about the situation. The field crew decided to keep running practice matches to give the teams something to do.

#3 St Louis, I was actually sitting in the stands next to a meteorologist. We were watching our smart phones and he assured me there was no danger of tornadoes in the radar we were seeing but he was so excited by the big pink blob and the hail potential that he had to run out and look.

Yeah, there was a mentor meeting after the incident was over to explain what went down and how to exit the arena for the evening because at the time the street leading towards the incident was unavailable (it was open by the time our team left, though). It actually wasn’t on any of the news sites even for like a half hour after we were instructed to stay inside, I found out by searching “pittsburgh” on Twitter.

Haha, I bet “I’m a meteorologist” is a good enough excuse for the security to let you through.