My case study was on the Fort Worth Mayfest Storm of 1995. I chose this event because it held a huge hail and lightning storm, and I find both hail and lightning fascinating. This storm was one of the most costliest hailstorms in United Sates history, costing in over $2 billion in damage, and was one of the most severe; it was classified as a high-precipitation supercell storm – a thunderstorm with the presence of a mesocyclone with much heavier precipitation.
The storm hit during the Mayfest festival in Fort Worth, Texas. Mayfest is a huge outdoor festival, and over 10,000 people were caught off guard with very little shelter. The storm hit very suddenly and only lasted just over an hour, but resulted in heavy damage to both infrastructure and citizens. Hundreds suffered from injuries from the 4 inch diameter hail with broken bones, bruising, and lacerations. They tried hiding in their cars, but the hail shattered their windows and windshields which led to further injuries from cuts from the glass. Several people died from the flash flooding, hail, and lightning from which 2 people died by lightning strikes. A storm like this one had not hit Fort Worth before, so the community did not expect it, nor had any mitigation in place to evacuate and protect its citizens.
Fort Worth and Tarrant County learned from this extreme event and created the Local Mitigation Action Plan (LMAP) to provide the much needed mitigation in order to evacuate and protect the people in future natural hazards. The LMAP was created by representatives and citizens from local communities attending public meetings to “discuss the hazards their communities face and the vulnerabilities those hazards present.” A volunteer group, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES), formed as well after the Mayfest storm. RACES created a mobile weather command center connected to the NWS Fort Worth office’s emergency management team and city police, and using this technology will allow the area to be evacuated within 30 minutes of a future extreme weather event.