- Associated Press - Monday, August 6, 2012

A look at how dangerous weather is handled in various sports:



INCIDENTS: A 41-year-old NASCAR fan was struck by lightning and killed Sunday as he stood near his car in the parking lot of Pocono Raceway in northeastern Pennsylvania. Nine others were injured during Sunday’s violent storm.

POLICY: NASCAR stays in contact with track officials when weather may affect a race, but track officials are responsible for communicating to fans about approaching severe storms. Some fans posted on Pocono Raceway’s Facebook page that they never heard Sunday’s weather-related announcements. Decisions whether to proceed are typically made minute-by-minute, although there have been instances the last several years when NASCAR worked with track officials in advance of incoming weather. This season, the Daytona 500 was postponed for the first time in its 54-year history because steady rain made a Monday evening start the safest solution.



INCIDENTS: In 1991, two spectators were killed just months apart in two of golf’s major championships. A 27-year-old man was killed during the first round of the U.S. Open at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., in June that year. William Fadell was struck by lightning while standing beneath a willow tree to the left of the 11th tee. Five others were injured. In August 1991, lightning killed a spectator at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., at the PGA Championship. Thomas Weaver, a business executive and father of two young girls, was struck and killed as he headed for his car alongside the grounds of Crooked Stick. Tourney winner John Daly donated $30,000 to set up a trust fund for Weaver’s daughters, both of whom went on to graduate college.

POLICY: The PGA Tour’s website advises fans that golf can be played in the rain. But it says if potentially dangerous weather is detected, warnings will be broadcast on all electronic leaderboards and video boards located on and off the course. These warnings notify spectators before play is suspended and are intended to provide enough time for them to find a sheltered area. Suspension of play occurs with a prolonged blast of an air horn, repeated once.



INCIDENTS: Because of severe storms in the Midwest on Saturday, races at Arlington Park near Chicago were delayed while jockeys, horses and spectators waited out the storm. Everyone was brought into the building when the storm hit. The eighth race of the day, which was to start at 4:30 p.m., was delayed but back on track at 5:04 p.m. At Saratoga Race Course in New York, forecast storms led officials to move up races by nearly an hour on Thursday.

POLICY: The New York Racing Association says it has plenty of covered areas at Saratoga where fans can take shelter until storms pass. If an electrical storm pops up suddenly, the track announcer will broadcast an advisory across the track telling patrons to take cover. If bad weather is expected later in the day, race officials will sometimes speed up post times to complete a card before the storm arrives.



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