Thunderstorms are a very common baseball season. The Columbia Fireflies explain how they avoid having players in the fans in bad weather.
COLUMBIA, SC – Baseball season is back in the Midlands! Thousands of people attend Columbia Fireflies games every season and while their goal is for you to enjoy the snap of the bat, a thunderclap could spell trouble for those in attendance.
According to research published by Chris Vagasky in the Journal of Weather, Climate, and Society of the American Meteorological Societylightning occurring in and around ballparks might be a little more common than you think.
Truist Field in Atlanta (the closest MLB stadium to Columbia) saw nearly 3,000 lightning strikes within an 8-mile radius between 2016 and 2019.
It’s a bit of a flash! All of these strikes made the Atlanta Braves the team that hosted the most games from 2015-2019 that saw game-time lightning strikes. 46 games total in fact, the only team with more was the Colorado Rockies with 50 games.
Looking locally, South Carolina sees about the same number of lightning strikes each year as Georgia. Basically, Palmetto State sees between 16 and 64 lightning strikes every square mile. Of course, this is a problem for summer activities like baseball games.
“Once the game starts it’s actually the referees who call, so they have it, but we try to keep them informed and if there’s something that happens quickly that they don’t see or don’t see. don’t hear, we’ll let them know.”
RELATED: Earthquake rumbles in Kershaw County after several days without one
Brad Shank, team president of the Columbia Fireflies, says their priority is to keep all players and fans as safe as possible when the storms arrive.
“When something appears quickly, which happens in these cases, we obviously try to get the tarp on the ground as quickly as possible… The other thing we do in these situations is we obviously have shelters on the spot if they will not have time to reach their car.
Shanks says that in many cases, if they know ahead of time that the weather won’t be ideal, they’ll start paying attention to the forecast so they can get an idea of how to handle things ahead of time.
As for you knowing ahead of time, News 19’s weather team will be giving the latest forecast for the Fireflies at every home game this season, so be sure to tune in!