Storms have been hitting the Northeast and East Coast, causing carnage to residents, homes and those who were planning to fly into or out of the area. According to authorities, at least five people have been killed in Wisconsin, Georgia and North Carolina as a result.
Nearly 89,000 New Yorkers lost power before 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to poweroutage.us. By Wednesday afternoon, more than 189,000 across New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania were without power.
On Tuesday, more than 9,000 flights going into or out of the United States were delayed and more than 1,466 of the same type were cancelled, according to FlightAware data. On Wednesday, the number of delays sits at 3,485 and cancellations are at 1,329. More than 500 additional flights were delayed and more than 60 were cancelled, according to Flightaware; airports in Denver, Chicago and Miami made up most of the delays and cancellations. Amtrak cancelled dozens of trains across the mid-Atlantic region on Wednesday, several of which were in major areas like New York City, Boston and Philadelphia.
The storm is expected to make its way north into Canada with wind gusts of up to 95 mph. The storm is expected to ramp back up with more heavy rain, snow, high winds and frigid air heading to the East Coast on Friday.
Flood watches are in effect is several places along the East Coast, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. A second storm is predicted to move across the U.S. to the Pacific Northwest, bringing with it a rare blizzard warning in place for Oregon and Washington, where some areas haven’t seen a blizzard warning in over 10 years.
What Planners Can Do to Be Prepared
When it comes to severe storms, the best things any event professional can do is prepare as much as they can. Having a plan B (C, or even D) will surely work in your favor. Before the storm hits, it’s advisable to communicate with attendees, vendors and speakers. If the event is already going on and a storm is imminent, there are several questions you can ask:
- (If your event is outside) Can your event accommodate all your attendees if you move inside?
- Are there any areas of the event venue prone to flooding?
- How does transportation need to be arranged? Can attendees come to the venue or should they stay where they are?
While the storm rages on it’s best to keep your eyes on resources such as flightaware.com and weather reports to make sure you’re always up to date.