Tornado planning at Target Field

A couple of weeks after the team didn’t tell patrons that a tornado warning had been issued for Minneapolis, the Minnesota Twins announced today the National Weather Service has made Target Field a “StormReady supporter.”

But far from a response to not telling patrons of the tornado warning, the Twins’ decision may reflect its value. It didn’t need to because the team had the information that the storm was too far away to be a problem for Target Field.

The program required the Twins to:

  1. Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center
  2. Have more than one method of receiving severe weather forecasts and warnings and alerting the public
  3. Create a system that monitors local weather conditions
  4. Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding exercises.
  5. Conduct severe weather procedures with event staff, including ballpark ushers.

On May 10, a tornado warning was issued for the county, but the team didn’t tell the fans because the storm was 30 miles away. The team had already finished its requirements for being a StormReady stadium when that warning was issued.

The team was out of town when the tornado struck north Minneapolis nearly two weeks later but had it been playing at home, it’s clear how it would’ve been handled, according to an MPR story following up the earlier tornado warning:

The concession stands and the restrooms are all on the exterior perimeter walls of the building. That allows us to move people into the concourse areas,” said (VP of Operations Matt) Hoy. “The whole lower deck area, if you go into the main concourse, is pretty well protected.”

Hoy says fans sitting in the upper deck would be instructed by ushers and other security staff to take emergency stairways down to either the main concourse, or below to the service level. The service level is completely closed off to the outside and rings the entire field.

It’d take 10-15 minutes to move people in Target Field to safety.

  • matt

    The potential danger of a tornado striking the stadium goes down each day, unless MLB adds more Royals games to the schedule.