CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Severe weather can strike even in the most inopportune times.
What happens if you're at an outdoor venue taking in a show when a severe thunderstorm or tornado moves toward you're location? The way you and the venue prepare and respond could be the difference between safety, injury or even death.
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The managers at Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre understand that their response and training are vitally important.
"Our procedure starts early in the week during the staff meeting when we talk about potential events coming up and what could be affecting those," Koka Booth Amphitheatre Operations Manager Andrew Bowman said.
Bowman said his team preaches people over profit. On event day, they look closely at two key thresholds: 10 miles out and 6 miles out.
"Ten miles out is what we're looking for with any type of weather. Because we want to be able to gauge how fast it's moving in, and how fast it's moving out. Six miles is the second key and that's lightning strike. Anything within 6 miles and we are shut down--no matter who's performing," Bowman said.
Once the announcement to suspend the show is made and staff are prepped, the focus turns to getting everybody at the venue to safety.
ABC11 Meteorologist Kweilyn Murphy said it's important for people caught in this scenario to remember that being in a vehicle is safer than being outside. All thunderstorms produce lightning, and lightning kills an average of 30 people every year. Storm elements like wind, hail and tornadoes pose other threats to people stranded outside.
Once the weather threat passes and the safety of staff and facilities as been evaluated, the decision about what to do with the event can be discussed.
"It's so hard to manage schedules between the venue or the visiting performer that sometimes we really can't line up, so we will do everything in our power not to close down," Bowman said.