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Helping Business Weather the Storm

World Series Television Coverage Depends on WDT Weather Support

by Daphne Thompson, on Oct 30, 2015 8:39:29 AM

Man I enjoy baseball.  Funny enough, I don’t watch it that much at all because I just don’t have the time.  But when I do, it’s a trip down memory lane as to why I love the sport.  As a meteorologist with an analytical background, I love the calculus involved.  Do I go against the percentages with this batter because my pitcher is most decidedly performing against said percentages currently?  Do I pinch run and take the big bat out of the line-up, who has rather slow feet, to get that one run because my bullpen is killing it currently?  Should player XX swing away on first pitch because they know the tendency is for that player to take the first pitch?  When you get into the chess game, it really is riveting stuff.  Throw in the ballpark environment with its casual atmosphere, good smells, and nostalgic feel, well, you’ve just maximized my R&R time.

So as you can imagine, it’s no surprise that watching just a few games of the playoffs, an now the World Series, with the team that I grew up following (Kansas City Royals) has me pretty amped up!  Generally I haven’t been a fanatical Royals fan all my life, but I’ve had my favorite teams and players in the franchise.  Tom “Flash” Gordon was a ball of fire that I followed religiously back in the day.  There were other times where I winced while sitting at Kaufmann watching uber talents like Carlos Beltran, Jermaine Dye, and Johnny Damon knowing that they would make an all-too-brief appearance in the outfield under the fountains before moving on to better teams.  On top of that, there were wonderful lazy days spent with my kids at Omaha Storm Chaser games, the Triple A affiliate of the Royals, watching Paulo Orlando’s blazing speed.  Against this backdrop, I am truly enjoying what is transpiring at I-70 and I-435.  Add to the fact that I’m the product manager for WeatherOps, the weather alerting & forecast service currently supporting Fox for the World Series, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster when it comes to clearing off my honey-do list at home for the next week or so (apologies in advance to my sweet wife).

I’ve always enjoyed applying my meteorological schooling and expertise to help protect those in vulnerable settings.  The science fascinates me, but what’s really gratifying is when you can translate that science into useful decision support information for the individual who has never been exposed to Navier-Stokes equations, nor would they probably want to!  I started doing such support for the Department of Defense early in my career and now at Weather Decision Technologies it’s being applied to the live event space.  Generally I don’t want to even think about work while watching my treasured sports, that’s hallowed ground.  However, in this case I figured it might be a pretty cool chance for our services to shine while protecting participants of such a grand event.  Lo and behold, while enjoying that classic game 6 of the ALCS, I saw this come up on my TV screen:

WDT decision support system supports the 2015 World Series

This picture actually came from my colleague who saw the same thing.  Heck yeah! Our flagship asset protection system televised as it provides radar visualization for the Fall Classic!  In this image you can see the lightning alerting range rings and narrow band of showers that developed ahead of an approaching cold front.  At the same time, our forecasters here in Norman, OK were providing guidance to the Fox broadcast team regarding timing of this feature - they nailed it too!  I was curious to see how our WDT planning products, sent out at 6am that morning, captured this event and you can see the guidance indicated the slight potential for a brief shower around game time as a cold front passed through the area:

Excerpt from WDT Daily Planner

Pretty cool! If you’re the grounds-keeper or a venue manager, you at least knew you weren’t out of the clear for precipitation leading up to game time, albeit a small chance.  Couple that with the radar imagery and our mobile app, and you’ve got a pretty good situational awareness set-up.  So that was a feel good for me as it appears the folks were able to stay relatively dry at the game and the grounds crew had the information they needed leading up to the moment that the rain delay was called.

Fortunately, the weather for the World Series thus far has been pretty benign.  Just as favorable, the games have been anything but benign (how about games 1 & 2!).  Although some showers were in the vicinity of Kauffman for both games 1 and 2, the threat of lightning has been low.  Going forward with the series moving to New York, it looks like games 3 and 4 will be rain-free at Citi Field:


Daily Planner for Citi Field

It will be interesting to see what happens if this series goes to a game 5.  The Royals fan in me hopes that this doesn’t take place and WeatherOps will not be needed for Sunday’s potential match-up.  However, the Mets are a tough team and I think they are due to grab one of these, especially at home.  If so, we’ll be ready to support come Sunday.  So, in the meantime, sit back and enjoy the games.  We’ll do our part to keep our venue partners on top of the weather, whatever it may be.  Oh, and, go Royals!

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