Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Indiana State Fair Rigging Collapse: Gov. Daniels called gust a 'fluke'; meteorologist says it wasn't

Governor Mitch Daniels (R-Indiana)
Gov. Mitch Daniel's website brags about him being the former president of Eli Lilly and Company's North American Pharma­ceutical Operations, which means he should have a passing acquaintance with, or at least respect, for science.
     None of that is in evidence in Daniels' apparent eagerness to head off any suggestion of government responsibility in the Indiana State Fair stage rigging collapse, by calling the high wind a "fluke event."
     Tim Ballisty, Editorial Meteorologist for The Weather Channel isn't buying it.
Powerful, damaging winds were a known threat several days before and during the minutes leading up to the stage collapse...
Severe Weather Watch and Warning
At 4:45pm ET Saturday, a line of strong thunderstorms were already in progress over northern and central Illinois. The line continued to intensify as they marched into Indiana and at 5:57 pm ET a severe thunderstorm watch was issued for all of central Indiana. Hail up to one inch in diameter, wind gusts of up to 70 mph and lightning were all highlighted within the watch.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Marion County

Severe thunderstorm warning issued by the Indianapolis National Weather Service at 8:39 pm ET for Marion County, Indiana including Indianapolis.
As the line drew closer to Indianapolis, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Marion County, Indiana at 8:39 pm ET which included the Indianapolis metro area. By definition, a severe thunderstorm is one in which produces wind speeds of 58 mph or greater or hail one inch in diamater or more.

At 8:49 pm ET, ten minutes after the bulletin was issued, the stage rigging at the Indiana State Fair
dramatically collapsed onto concert-goers... That is a ten-minute lead time for event officials to evacuate concert-goers and usher them into a place of safety and shelter. Does this seem like a fluke to you...a chance occurrence? If a known hazard - wind gusts in excess of 60 mph - is approaching, how is the destruction it causes a fluke?

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