Before Disaster Strikes

March 1, 2002
Weather Risk Management On Corporate Campuses Beats an Umbrella Any Day
In what USA Today calls the “new American migration,” multi-million dollar corporate campuses are being constructed along the scenic southern and eastern seaboards. Still more are springing up in arid valleys near Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Southern California. These sites may be prime real estate – as long as the sun is shining. When hurricanes threaten and sudden downpours turn desert into flood plains, however, buildings professionals find they need more than an umbrella and a weather radio to protect their building occupants from the storm.Adverse weather creates multi-billion dollar implications for corporate campuses – not to mention the crucial responsibility of keeping people safe. With lives and property at stake, it’s vitally important that these professionals base their decisions on weather information that is more timely and precise than that broadcast over The Weather Channel or NOAA weather radio.Companies, such as Wichita, KS-based WeatherData, blend risk management skills and meteorology so that buildings professionals can be proactive in managing severe weather safety. It’s called precision weather risk management, and WeatherData’s site-specific solutions allow managers to proactively prepare for adverse conditions, safeguard employees and tenants, coordinate logistics, and reduce costly false alarms.While The Weather Channel and weather radios are fine for consumers, neither offer building managers the site-specific information they need to protect the people and property under their care. Surprisingly, The Weather Channel is not live 24-hours-a-day, and the NOAA/National Weather Service warnings are issued for entire counties – meaning you might shut down for a tornado that doesn’t actually threaten your site.Shutting down operations under such conditions can cost thousands – even millions – of dollars in lost productivity. Conversely, by utilizing WeatherData’s risk management solutions to decrease false storm alerts at its various campuses, DaimlerChrysler estimates it saved $10 million in lost production time in just one year alone.How It WorksRather than merely repackaging government storm warnings, WeatherData creates a program that is site-specific, time-precise, and tailored to both location and tenant function. For example, lightning can be a major threat to a building’s power supplies. It also can be especially threatening to buildings housing laboratories, chemicals, or explosives. If lightning can have a significant impact on your facility, WeatherData incorporates that into your customized weather warning criteria.WeatherData’s proprietary lightning forecasting software can predict lightning strikes 20 minutes in advance with 96-percent accuracy. Such forewarning allows time to shut down equipment, store lab work, and put safety plans into action. Additionally, WeatherData’s site-specific lightning warnings can trigger automatic switching to generators, saving the direct cost of replacing valuable electronics and the more substantial, indirect cost of lost business and productivity in the interim.WeatherData’s proprietary, easy-to-use forecasts and warnings can be delivered via the Internet, frame relay, pager, fax, telephone, or any combination of these. During severe weather, a series of redundant warnings are sent to the appropriate client department(s) with responsibility for implementing the weather crisis plan.With WeatherData’s site specificity, one campus operations center can monitor weather conditions at multiple sites simultaneously. WeatherData’s team of certified meteorologists are available 24x7x365 to provide immediate – and ongoing – consultation during all weather threats. Its Research Division can also assist with feasibility studies and site planning for new facilities. In helping to assess meteorological threats and exposures, planners can build mitigation strategies into the design at the outset.Sooner or later, a weather-related disaster strikes every region of the country.  The time to prepare for it is before disaster strikes, so you can be ready to weather any storm. Even without an umbrella.Michael R. Smith is a board-certified consulting meteorologist and CEO of WeatherData Inc. (, Wichita, KS, a leading provider of weather risk management solutions.

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