Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stage Collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

By now most of you have heard about the horrendous stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.  When the stage came down, it sadly killed five people and Injured between 40-45. The NWS estimates winds were around 70 mph.  Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has called the event a “fluke". Also,  I have heard some say the NWS was negligent because the warning was issued only minutes before the accident. I feel both of these statements are untrue. The NWS had issued a severe thunderstorm watch about three hours and a warning about 10 minutes before the incident. As for the Governors statement,  Whenever there is  an severe weather event it seems people will say stuff like this. This was no fluke.  The SPC was talking about the threat of high winds a few days before this happened. And like I said above the NWS did have watches and a warning up. 

 After watching the video of the collapse, some meteorologist feel it is was a gustnado. One of these  meteorologist is Henry Margusity who feels the lack of damage elsewhere and some swirling dust shown in the video points to a gustnado.

In my post "The Tornado" I said,  gustnadoes are short lived vortex's of wind that can form in  front of a thunderstorm. you can read more at this link.

There is a  definite  possibility it was a gustnado, Just prior to the stage collapse, gustnadoes were spotted in the Indianapolis area and captured on video. However, downburst and gust fronts can cause dirt and dust to behave like it did in the video. In fact, radar showed an outflow boundary (gust front) caused by collapsing thunderstorms about 3 - 4 miles ahead of the severe thunderstorm complex.

Link to a radar loop that shows how things looked when the storm pulled through. You will need Quicktime to view it.

                       These pictures taken by Ernie Mills show the sequence of failure.

The point I'm trying to make here is it doesn't matter if it was a gustnado or straight line winds that caused this horrible accident.   My point is, severe weather can strike quickly. You have to be aware of weather that's heading your way.....you can't always wait for experts or officials to tell you what to do; you have to be ready and willing to take your family's safety in hand.  Reading things like my blog series on severe weather awareness will help by giving you the knowledge you need to make good decisions.  

Rebecca Ladd


  1. Andy, I've been reading your blog for the last 18 months. However, I now see how important it is to know about weather heading my way. I want to say thank you for taking the time to write about weather awareness.

  2. Could it have been a tornado?

  3. No it wasn't a tornado, it was straight line winds......If you notice the flag in the center of the picture; you will see it is always blowing away from the thunderstorm


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