Severe Weather Protocol

LIGHTNING/SEVERE WEATHER PROTOCOL:

In case of severe weather, such as a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning, the safety of the Breck Community is a priority.  The purpose of the Breck Severe Weather Plan is to provide a course of action to be used during a severe weather event to minimize the potential for injury that can result from severe weather.

Lightning/Severe Weather Protocol:

  1. Chain of Command:  Athletic Director/Field Supervisor, Athletic Trainer, Officials, Coaches
  2. Athletic Director, Athletic Trainer and coaches must be aware of the weather reports each day before a scheduled practice or event
  3. Athletic Director and Athletic Trainer will monitor weather conditions via Internet weather services, monitoring lightning detectors, and responsible for examining the horizon in order to utilize the "Flash-Bang method":
    • "Flash to Bang" method is used to determine the distance the lightning is.  count the seconds between seeing the lightning (flash) and hearing the clap of thunder (bang).  If the "Flash to Bang" count is less than 30 seconds, all outdoor activity should cease.  All persons must immediately leave the athletic site and seek safe shelter (enter school at appropriate entrance).
  4. If Athletic Director or Athletic Trainer are not there it is the responsibility of the coach and their staff to monitor the "flash to bang" method
  5. Coaches are responsible to keep athletes together through the duration of the storm or until a decision to continue or cancel event
  6. Criteria for suspension of practice/event:
    • Two consecutive "flash to bang" count of 30-40 seconds, and/or lightning detector 6-12 mile alarm indicator illuminates two consecutive times (regardless of visible lightning)
    • The "flash to bang" count is less than 30 seconds, and/or the lightning detector 0-6 mile alarm indicator illuminates one time (regardless of visible lightning)
    • All Breck staff, coaches and athletes must cease immediately when either scenario presents, and evacuate to a safe structure (school)
  7. Criteria for safe return to practice/event:
    • Athletes and support personnel SHOULD NOT return to the field until at least 30 minutes has passed since the "flash bang" count is greater than 30 second, the last sound of thunder, and the lightning detector indicates the lightning is greater than 24 miles away.
    • Each time the "flash to bang" count is less than 30 second, lightning is observed and/or thunder hear, and/or lightning detector indicates that the lightning is less than 24 miles away, the 30 minute return to activity will be reset.
    • When the storm has ceased, wait at least 30 minutes before allowing participants to return to practice/event

BASIC FACTS ABOUT SEVERE WEATHER:

Severe Thunderstorm: Defined as a storm that produces wind gust of 58 mph or greater, and/or hail 3/4 of an once or larger in diameter.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch:  issued when conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop

Severe Thunderstorm Warning: issued when severe weather is imminent
Tornado Watch:  Tornadoes are possible in your area.  Remain alert for approaching storms

Tornado Warning:  A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.  Warnings are issues for counties and/or communities and include the tornado's location, direction, and speed

  • All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous
  • Lightning often strikes outside the area of the heavy rain and could strike out 10 miles from any rainfall. If you hear thunder you are in danger.
  • During a severe thunderstorm watch or warning there is a strong likelihood that lightning and possibly tornadoes will develop
  • Remain alert to signs of an approaching tornado suck as dark, often greenish sky, wall cloud, large hail, and or a loud roar (similar to a freight train)
  • If any of these threatening conditions exists, take immediate action
  • Occasionally tornadoes develop rapidly that advance warning is not possible
  • Tornadoes may develop before, during or after the storm has passed, it is imperative to wait at least 30 minutes after the severe storm passes to resume activities
  • According to the National Weather Service, "tornadoes can occur at any time of the day or night, any time of the year.  In Minnesota, peak tornado occurrences are from March to August between 3 pm and 8 pm