Long gone are the days when you would open up your newspaper to check the weather for the day and upcoming week. A good weather app is a must for any operator that works outdoors. As good as some websites are, there are features and benefits that a lot of the apps now have that can be a lifesaver to the lifesavers. In addition to the ability to check the weather at any time and have alerts sent to notify you of any changes, some of the apps available for smart phones come with features that are unique to different apps. You can find apps that focus specifically on the rain that can be expected and the methods in which this is tracked. There are apps that utilize hundreds of thousands of personal weather stations to ensure accuracy so you can be sure the reports are correct. There are apps that have the ability to monitor the actual times that it will get dark out–not just sunset, but when you can expect to no longer have daylight.
Some apps are free and some do come with a fee. You can research all of the apps and analyze the actual features of each to determine exactly what your needs are and what you’re looking for an app to do. You can choose the one that best fits those needs and helps your operations. Maybe you’ll use your local news for long term projections and the app for days when you need a specific detail on times and forecasts. Maybe operations can remain normal through mid-day and you are able to forecast that there is rain in the afternoon. This gives you the ability to update and warn staff and you have the ability to save on payroll by not having everyone come into work.
As all aquatic operators are focused on safety, tools to protect patrons are also a great idea to have as well. Lightening or storm detectors are pieces of equipment that can aid in bad weather detection in live time. Some detection monitors can alert you when bad weather is within a 40-mile range, allowing for proper attention and caution to be paid to changing conditions. This would allow for a quick response time if surrounding environmental conditions take a turn for the worse. These monitors won’t give you the same ability to forecast and prepare as much in advance as some weather apps, but they will give you enough notice to watch and monitor conditions at the facility and react accordingly.
Pair these two methods of monitoring and you can not only watch for conditions and warnings in advance, but you can be alerted for any imminent changes near the facility. Visitor safety is always the highest priority for any operator; and by having the right tools at your disposal, you can make it easier to forecast, prepare and react to conditions that outdoor facilities need to live with.
Anthony “TJ” Pollack
Kiefer Aquatic Professionals