Comparing Planned and Unplanned IDSS Provided by WFO Greenville-Spartanburg: the 2018 World Equestrian Games and the Rev. Billy Graham Funeral (184)

Trisha Palmer, NOAA/NWS Greenville-Spartanburg SC, Greer, SC

William Martin, NOAA/NWS Greenville-Spartanburg SC

Anthony Sturey, NOAA/NWS Greenville-Spartanburg SC



The death of the Reverend Billy Graham in February 2018 and his subsequent funeral in Charlotte, NC, during the strong non-convective gradient wind event from the early March Nor'Easter resulted in an unplanned, high-impact IDSS need to Emergency Management, FBI, and Secret Service officials.  The funeral was held under a 28,000 sqft tent that could purportedly withstand hurricane-force winds, but the Secret Service indicated the need to evacuate the President and Vice President if winds gusted to 45mph.  On-site IDSS was provided by the WFO GSP WCM, with additional remote support from forecasters at the WFO.  Meanwhile, since summer 2017, WFO GSP has been involved in IDSS planning for the 2018 Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI, International Federation for Equestrian Sports) World Equestrian Games (WEG), which will be held 11-23 September 2018 in Tryon, NC ( 2018 represents the eighth edition of the games, which are held every four years. With the 2018 games, the United States will be the only country to have hosted the games twice (2010 in Lexington, KY), with other countries including Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Germany, and France. The 2018 WEG has the potential to be the largest sporting event in NC history with over $400 million dollars of projected economic impact and 500,000 spectators over the 14-day period (40,000-50,000 per day). In comparison, the 2014 WEG in Normandy, France, attracted 984 athletes, 1,234 horses, 74 nations, 1,900 accredited media from 52 countries and 575,000 spectators. For the 2018 World Equestrian Games, WFO GSP staff will lead the effort in providing on-site Impact-Based Decision Support Services (IDSS), likely supplemented by personnel deployed from elsewhere across the NWS. This presentation will provide an overview, comparison and contrasting of preparation and planning for these events, collaboration with emergency management and event planners, as well as discuss some of the weather-related impacts that were/will be of concern for emergency management officials given the large influx of visitors and VIPs to both the largest city in NC (Charlotte) and the small town of Tryon in the NC foothills.