ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — It’s the final weekend of the Lilac Festival with both heat and storms in the forecast. With that in mind Meteorologist Christine Gregory went to find out what the protocols are when threatening weather arrives, and gave some advice on what NOT to do if you’re caught outside in a storm.

The chances of running into storms or severe weather while at the Lilac Festival is always a possibility but is especially the case this weekend. Because of this I wanted to know what plans are in place if storms are threatening the area.

Lieutenant Robert Hill, who is in charge of special events for the Rochester Police Department, told me that with no set building in place for people to head for shelter, that they would work with festival organizers to advise and guide people to safety.

“If we’re aware of a storm that’s on its way here, we would ask that you leave the festival and get to their cars and leave the area. As far as I know there’s not a set building here for folks to go to… we’ll work with the festival organizers to determine, depending on what the event is, whether or not we need to evacuate or shut the festival down and have people leave the festival site,” Robert says.

When I asked festival goers what their first instinct would be if they heard thunder, everyone said that they would look for cover of some sort but it isn’t something they think about ahead of time. 

One festival attendee said, “I don’t think I would even run, I would just probably walk to somewhere under cover.

Aaliyah McGinnis at the festival said… “you know me? I would probably just run to my car, and go home.”  

So, what do you do if weather is threatening a festival? Or any outdoor event for that matter?

Do NOT stand out in the open, or in the middle of a field, and definitely do NOT hide or stand next to or underneath a tree.

If there’s no set building or area to shelter in, the next best option would be to find your car and get inside. It’s not the most safe place, but it’s better than staying outside where wind, lightning, and even hail can put you in a harmful situation. It’s not always the easiest solution to solve with a large number of people and limited resources.

Which is why first and foremost it’s important to have a personal plan, be weather aware so you’re not caught off guard, have a way to get warnings such as on a phone or a weather app, and always keep a mindful eye to the sky when having fun outdoors.