CBS Springfield, MA
By Mike Skurko, Aug 5, 2010
Six Flags New England is the first commercial site in New England to be deemed "Storm Ready" by the National Weather Service. The Storm Ready program recognizes locations with superior communication and safety skills before, during, and after, severe weather.
"We are always trying to keep our guests safe, whether they are in the water park or on a ride.” said Jonathan Hall, Safety Supervisor at Six Flags New England.
Six Flags recently gave CBS3 Springfield a behind-the-scenes tour of their weather-monitoring facilities. Security dispatch uses the latest doppler radars, lightning detections, and a working relationship with the National Weather Service and private meteorologists.
While the occasional windy or drizzly day may be a bit of a nuisance, the most significant threat to any amusement park is lightning.
"Six Flags is like a little, mini-city here.” said Hall. “We have some high rides that are lightning prone. We have a water park where our guests are also at risk if there's lightning or thunder. We're always cognizant about how far lightning and thunder is.”
When Hall and his staff believe inclement weather will hit the park, they quickly notify all departments. The public address system also notifies guests that severe weather that may be coming in.
Receiving the Storm Readiness recognition in 2006, Six Flags remains the only commercial site in New England with the distinction. The towns of Agawam and Southwick have also been certified as Storm Ready communities.