In all your meticulous event planning, there is one thing you cannot prevent: weather changes. Even though meteorology offers predictions as far off as months away, you can never be certain that a bright sunny morning won’t close out with a terrible storm. So don’t neglect to prepare for those changes whether your event is in or outdoors.
Weather changes don’t only threaten to distract your attendees. They can also turn your event into a dangerous place to be. It doesn’t have to be extreme like an earthquake or a tornado. All it takes is a strong wind, a hailstorm, or even a heatwave to spoil the fun. You could suddenly find yourself dealing with logistical nightmares like a stampede due to people running for shelter or car accidents in your parking lot as people drive recklessly in a rush to leave.
Weather Changes Can Impact Any Event
You could easily fall into the trap of thinking your event cannot be affected by the weather, especially if it is indoors. Outdoor events seem to be the most vulnerable to the elements. However, any type of event can be wrecked by changes in the weather. It just depends on the weather change. Each weather element can be detrimental to outdoor and indoor events differently.
These are some of the effects that weather changes elements can have on an event:
Outdoor events: Rain is easily the worst possible thing for an outdoor event. The technical equipment and wire connections could be damaged or pose a danger to your guests. If you hand out umbrellas, it could result in overcrowding as everyone’s umbrellas brush up against each other, never mind the tension and hostility that could slowly brew.
Indoor events: If your event is safely sheltered indoors, rain could still affect you from the outside. It could make the drive to your venue unpleasant for your attendees due to slippery roads or traffic. This would not only delay them but would also affect their mood negatively. Rain can also cause flights to be delayed resulting in some of your staff or speakers not arriving on time. That, in turn, could lead to your event running late and disgruntled attendees.
Related: Travel Problems And Event Planning
Outdoor events: Mud can quickly become an obstacle in outdoor events for obvious reasons such as people slipping and falling. A greenfield can quickly turn into a marsh, making everyone dirty. Mud can also carry hidden hazardous bacterium and germs that can cause anything from diarrhea and vomiting to high fever or other life-threatening infections for people with open cuts and wounds.
Indoor events: Mud can also be inconvenient indoors because the floors and walls can get dirty and slippery. If it’s not an inconvenience indoors, it can still be a problem in your parking lot if it is a field. Cars may get stuck and need to be extricated with tow trucks.
Outdoor events: Sunshine is not always ideal in an outdoor event. Attendees can suffer heatstroke, severe sunburn, or even sun poisoning if exposed to the sun for too long. Excessive heat could also affect your staff, making them lethargic and less efficient. A day of uninterrupted sunshine requires you to invest more in water supply and sunscreen for your event team and attendees.
Indoor events: A sunny day with high temperatures can get hot indoors, making your guests uncomfortable. On a scorching day, the indoors need more air conditioners than under normal circumstances and more drinking water and space between attendees to encourage air circulation.
Outdoor events: Windstorms have been known to cause fatalities when stages collapse or lighting systems fall over. So the possibility of wind cannot be taken lightly when planning an outdoor setup. You must know your stage’s wind rating so that you can stop the proceedings if the wind picks up to prevent people from getting hurt. If the wind is not too violent, it can still cause dust to rise, making your guest experience discomfiting.
Indoor events: A strong wind can also be a mild disturbance indoors because it can drown out the voices in the room. For example, in the intimate setting of a wedding or a dinner party, the speakers can be drowned out by the wind, especially for the attendees sitting the furthest from the stage.
How To Prepare For Weather Changes During An Event
During your planning, you need to assess all the areas in your event that could be vulnerable to bad weather changes. You need to consider the number of attendees you are expecting, the division of your space, and the activities that will take place. It is unpleasant to think of the worst-case scenario. Still, when it comes to weather changes, you will regret not planning for worst-case scenarios when they do take place because they could cost you money and even lives.
1. Have A Backup Plan For Your Event
Your event program may not always be affected by weather changes. For example, if it rains during your outdoor event, you can open marquees, layout your outdoor flooring, and carry on with the program as planned. However, you may need to shorten your event schedule by cutting out some items or changing them altogether with more destructive weather. A severe weather change can make it impossible to host your event as you had planned. Therefore, you need a backup plan that is as good as your main event, and your staff must be able to run with that backup plan as though it were the main one.
2. Logistical Preparations
It’s also essential to plan how you will move your attendees and equipment around should you need to. Designate spaces where people can shelter from the rain or the sun. And extra exist that can be opened to enable people to leave the venue faster if conditions get dangerous.
3. Make Sure Your Staff Is Ready
Your staff must be able to help attendees to safety and problem-solve on their feet. You can get them ready by doing a drill or two before your event to ensure everyone knows how to behave should bad weather arise. Every member of your staff must know where all the emergency exits and first-aid kits are. And where they can take attendees who need serious medical attention.
You will also need to establish a chain of command for how your staff can get the go-ahead to implement emergency measures. Ideally, you want each person on your team to be able to act responsibly without supervision or guidance in an emergency.
4. Provide Essential Amenities
Basic amenities like band-aids and sterilizers should always be available, no matter the weather. However, you can provide essentials like sunscreen, caps, handheld fans, or waterproof jackets and ponchos to prepare for extreme weather. You can also put first-aid kits in all your sanitation facilities for easy access.
5. Storage For Your Equipment
You also want to ensure that you can cover every physical object from rain, dust, mud, or windstorms. This includes furniture, products you are selling, and your technical devices. It will be helpful to have portable storage that can be quickly wheeled out to pack things in and then taken away to shelter or loaded up into vans. If your event involves multiple vendors and exhibitors, you can allocate storage containers to each one so that there is no scrambling when storage is needed.
6. Protecting The Refreshments
Your catering service will need its strategy for what to do should an extreme weather change occur. You can hire mobile fridges to store food and beverages if there is no kitchen at the venue. Moreover, it will be important that your catering service can keep serving food and beverages as this will make the experience of bad weather better for your attendees. Fresh and cool drinks will go a long way on a very sunny day, and warm beverages and food will equally do wonders if cold weather breaks out.
7. Communicate Changes To Your Attendees
It will gain the trust of your attendees to warn them if bad weather is forecasted for the day of your event. You can warn them of the expected weather on your social media platforms or via email. If you make any logistical changes, communicate them before the day. For example, if you decide to use a different parking lot or a different entry route, share it repeatedly before the day of the event. Communication will also help your attendees to come prepared and wear clothing and footwear that will make them more comfortable in those weather conditions.
8. Event insurance
Even with the most careful planning, you can’t always prevent things from breaking, getting lost, or people getting hurt. Thus, even if it strains your budget, you want to ensure the event for those unpredictable things that you won’t be able to solve out of your pocket. You can cover the event equipment, the venue, and extreme human injuries.
9. Weather Detectors
If your budget allows, you can also enlist the help of an app, website, or another form of technological weather detector. Depending on your option, you can get warnings about impending weather changes, their severity, and even tips on implementing safety precautions.
10. Move Your Event
Moving an event to another day is usually the last resort, only when the weather promises to be impossible. Before you get to that point, your second-to-last option is to try to change venues or locations. Ultimately, your main goal is to give your attendees a pleasant experience. Sometimes, you will have to make sacrifices to ensure that your event is enjoyable.
Preparation Includes An Eye On Budget
Implementing safety measures to mitigate bad weather will undoubtedly take its toll on your budget. Still, it will give you peace of mind. You can try to balance the numbers by factoring in those extra costs in your ticket prices. This way, you’ll keep your margins intact while also safeguarding yourself from the total revenue loss of an event ending abruptly because of bad weather.