« on: June 26, 2013, 09:24:17 pm »
I will weigh in on the lightning and storm issue, since I am one that made the call at Rosedale and I'm also likely the only one in this conversation that has a B.S. in meteorology.
I can't speak for what went on at other courses, but I will talk about Rosedale. I had been watching the radar on my phone for about an hour prior to the storm rolling in. I knew the storm was coming, but was not sure exactly when to make the call and radar on a small phone doesn't give you a great impression of the speed of movement of individual cells. There was no lightning at Rosedale until I made the call, and torrential rain was coming down within 10 minutes of the call being made. At the time, I actually thought I was making the call 5-10 minutes early, or at least this was what I intended to do. In retrospect, I wish I had been 5-10 minutes earlier. The storm moved in THAT fast. If I had trouble making the call on time, I imagine that other experienced TDs like Kevin likely had similar issues. I imagine Kevin made the call the best he could, but like me, I'm sure he wishes he made it earlier. Still, we always try to make the call in enough time to get players to safety. Loomis, your point is well taken (although perhaps the acrimony could be turned down a notch) and safety is the primary concern, but also know that seeing a bolt of lightning is not necessarily the trigger to halt play. There are a number of factors to take into account, but the distance of the lightning from the course is also important. I normally won't call it unless lightning is within 4-5 miles, or I know there's going to be a dangerous situation soon (which was the case at Rosey this year). We do sometimes play it a little too close because we also get blasted by players for calling it too early. Still, I always wish to err on caution's side, and I know Kevin does as well.
I have previously advocated for purchasing SkyScan lightning detectors. They are the best detectors on the market, IMHO, and many schools and public agencies use these. We thought about purchasing these for Worlds in 2009, but decided not to at the time because PDGA had a set of those that they bought in 2006 (when I was Competition Director), and we had the use of those for 2009 Worlds. We didn't need those in 2009 as the torrential rain of day 1 that year didn't involve lightning, but we had them at our disposal. I'm not sure if Jason Allind had those at his disposal during the Wide Open this year, but it's something they should still be carrying with them in the PDGA travelling trailer. In any case, we run more events than just NTs and Worlds, so I think we should have at least 2 of them, and we can rely on PDGA for those times we are running more than 2 venues simultaneously.
My $.03 (adjusted for inflation)