DOSWELL, VA (WWBT) - Now that summer is here, you can get ready for pop up thunderstorms just about each afternoon. That is why a local amusement park decided to make a few additions.
Kings Dominion has beefed up their safety program by recently becoming the fourth commercial site in the state of Virginia to be recognized by the National Weather Service as being StormReady.
"Basically, what StormReady means is it shows the community that we're prepared for any hazardous weather that could occur or any weather situation that could occur at the park," said Hezy Braxton, Kings Dominion loss prevention manager.
Weather equipment is installed on the top of several roller coasters and rides at Kings Dominion to measure wind speed and temperatures. If winds are too high on top of the drop tower, that data will be relayed from the communications center to the operator to let them know the ride should be shut down until weather conditions improve.
'We make sure we have an active radar system, lightning detector system, also monitoring all the weather forecasts on a daily basis. A lot of reasons why we did StormReady was to make sure we looked through our safety systems and our weather systems to make sure we were meeting a lot of the guidelines that the National Weather Service required," said Braxton.
Kings Dominion already had what it needed in place. It has storm shelters and an emergency action plan, but being StormReady has added awareness, technology and the ability to plan ahead better and keep everyone safe at the park.
"What we do is monitor the weather. We try to figure out what time the storm may come in we give our guests park wide announcements... Should lightning or the storm be in a certain range we'll stop operating the rides and remind our guests to seek shelter inside our restaurants or theaters," said Braxton.
The hope is that you feel a little safer the next time you're at the park, knowing that someone is constantly monitoring the weather specifically for that location. Just keep an eye out for changing weather, and ear out for park announcements.