Surviving Natural Disasters

Thursday, July 15, 2004 11:44 AM
I am sure this was brought up before, but I was reading about the Hershey tornado, and Heather talked about how she saw Storm Runner still standing. So this got me thinking.....

In the event that a tornado, for example, hit an amusement park like Cedar Point, for example, in the middle of the day, what would they're procedure be?

Oh and are rollercoasters built for Natural Disasters?

Feel free to share your stories and discuss the topic!

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 11:58 AM
California coasters would have to be built with some sort of dynamic response system build in for earthquakes. Nothing out there can be built without that.

As far as tornados here in the east? You really can't "design" for a tornado because no one knows how it works yet. Not many engineers would admit it, but that's one of the few disasters that are still kind of out there like "well if it happens, there's nothing we can do about it, just hope it stays up".

I think there have been some TRs in the past (just do a search) of people being in parks during tornado warnings, especially SFGAm reports last year. Mostly people were herded to stronger buildings and those with basements and everyone just hoped ... kinda scary that with all we DO understand, that things like tornados are still such an unknown.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 12:43 PM
While I'm sure this is not the norm, I do know that the Magic Kingdom has a series of underground tunnels (usually used by employees to move around the park without being spotted in the wrong themed area) which is capable of housing the entire population of all 4 of their parks if need be. I believe the tunnels were actually built at the old ground level, and the park was built on top. I took a backstage tour of the Magic Kingdom a while ago - we got to visit some really interesting places.

edit: Forgot to mention the tunnel system is 14 acres! *** Edited 7/15/2004 5:38:29 PM UTC by Canadas Coaster Drew***

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 12:51 PM
I don't remember exactly when, but a few months ago Ohio was having some pretty bad weather. It was a Friday evening when a bad storm came rolling in very quickly. It happened to be the night that Geauga Lake was holding their Grad Night. While I wasn't there the radio station I listen to was having a Grad Night contest there so their remote people were there. The DJ said that they closed the gates so that people couldn't get in and put the people that were in the park in employee lunch areas and building like that. No one was to go outside till the all clear siren went off.

Like I said, I wasn't there, but that is what the DJ on the radio said.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 12:52 PM
Most, if not all, parks in areas where tornados are common have contingency plans should the weather turn bad during park operating hours.
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Thursday, July 15, 2004 12:59 PM
I know at SFOT there are signs at many of the coaster stations near the attendant that says something like this:

This is not a weather shelter, in the event of an emergency go to...

I presume it lists the nearest venue that is suitable as a weather shelter. But's let face it I doubt there are many buildings in SFOT that could fully withstand a tornado. I would try to get to one of the theaters as they have no windows. But there aren't enough theaters or windowless buildings at SFOT to house everyone if the park happened to be crowded. Storms can move in quickly across the Texas Plains. If there was a sudden storm on a crowded day, I don't know what they would do.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 1:00 PM
A great example is the SCBB Giant Dipper. Remember the Loma Prieta quake back in 1989? (or better known thanks to the media as the San Francisco quake, even though it was centered 70 miles away). The actual epicenter was only 10 miles away from SCBB, and there was absolutely no damage at all to the now 80yr old Giant Dipper.

Impulse-ive has it right, CALOSHA won't even let a new ride open until it has passed inspection to make sure it's structually sound to withstand a sizable quake. Even so, I'd still hate to be trapped on a tall lift hill like Goliath's in a 7 ton train swaying like mad :o{

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 1:12 PM
A touch down has happened at Cedar Point before. It was one Virtual Midway before they had to do the worst posable thing to the site and combine it with Guide to the Point. I dont know if it was a tornado, maybe a water twister.
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Thursday, July 15, 2004 1:15 PM
Well if it was a water spout than it would not have touched down inside the park but rather out on the lake.
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Thursday, July 15, 2004 1:28 PM
The area now occupied by Gemini was hit by a Tornado a year or two before Gemini was built.

Parks are not as prepared for this as you might think. If 50,000 people are in a park when a twister strikes...where exactly do you think they are going to put all of the people? Snoopy's Boutique? I don't think so.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 1:52 PM
Don't forget the unfortunate fatality at Kennywood a few years ago when a macroburst (a very sudden, STRONG gust of wind) hit the park and collapsed the pavillion covering The Whip. That pavillion was rock-solid, but was no match for the force of the wind that hit it.

You can try to prepare, but Mother Nature is not to be trifled with.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 2:56 PM
Off the top of my head, coasters that have met their demise or at least severely damaged by the elements (not counting FIRE)...

- Wasn't Family Kingdom's Swamp Fox pretty much rebuilt after a Hurricane Hugo hit the SC coast in 1989.

- Canobie Lake's Yankee Cannon Ball had its first "hill" (not sure if this means the lift hill or the first hill after the lift hill) destroyed by Hurricane Camile (I think it was Camile... back in the 1950's)

- A coaster (I forget its name) at Lakemont Park in Altoona PA was severely damaged in 1936, so much so that it was removed instead of repaired. *** Edited 7/15/2004 6:57:27 PM UTC by SLFAKE***

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 3:17 PM
Arnold's Park and it's wooden Legend were severely damaged by a tornado in 1968.
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Thursday, July 15, 2004 3:54 PM
Mamoosh said:
Arnold's Park and it's wooden Legend were severely damaged by a tornado in 1968.

Good call Moosh, also don't forget about the other Iowa park Adventureland, found this on their website:

Adventureland was to open in July 1974 but damage from the tail end of a tornado caused the delay of opening day until late August. There was no charge that summer to browse the shops on Main Street. The Palace Theater Show, "A Salute to Iowa Music," could be seen for just $1.00.

In 1977, another "Tornado" rolled through the park as construction began on Adventureland's wooden thriller that opened on July 4, 1978. The “Tornado” was soon listed among the top ten wooden roller coasters in the world.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 4:43 PM
Roller Coasters aren't really built for tornadoes. They are built to be sturdy but they are no match for tornadoes. Parks probably have a plan if they are in a Tornado prone area but other than that I think most wouldn't know where to start.

I was at Busch Gardens Tampa about twpo weeks ago when a strong storm came in and surprised a lot of guests. There was a tornado not far from the park, and yet I had no clue until later that evening hearing about it on the news. The park made no effort to try to get us to safety.....I am not surprised though since Tampa isn't really a tornado prone area.

In NC and SC the beach parks have had to become careful about building due to the constant threat of hurricanes. Myrtle Beach Pavilion and Family Kingdom have been hit a lot. While in Wilmington Jubilee park has been slamed. These disasters may have someithing to due with not building a ton of new rides.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 5:21 PM
I remember one of the warning signs in the Texas Giant's station about Tornado's. There's a couple of good hiding places, such as Runaway Mountain, Mr. Freeze's station/queue, and the darkride whose name eludes me right now. But, what you would do with the rest of the people is beyond me.
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Thursday, July 15, 2004 6:52 PM
When we were at CP last year(early July) a very severe storm was approaching and they came on the PA and recommended (although they didn't make it mandatory) that the guests evacuate the park. As things looked very ominous and it was mid-day we heeded that advice and returned to our hotel. I'd say at least half the crowd did the same. As it turned out, tornadoes touched down somewhere south of Sandusky. We returned to the park late afternoon and had a very enjoyable evening at a half-empty park.

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Friday, July 16, 2004 1:58 AM
I remember a few years back in 97 or 98 (I think 98) many tornados hit the Pittsburgh area, including one that traveled along Mt. Washington. I remember reading TRs or talking to someone that when the tornado warning was issued for the area, Kennywood management sent people into the basements of the buildings until the storms passed.
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Friday, July 16, 2004 11:41 PM

Mamoosh said:
Well if it was a water spout than it would not have touched down inside the park but rather out on the lake.

On June 30, 1977, Tornado strikesj north west tip of Cedar Point,the park was open the next day the park was opern with 50 out of its 55 rides in operation, a total of 15 peopler were injured. Rides damaged included; Cedar Creek Mine Ride, CP&LE railroad, and ride in that area. At that time CP was planning on removing trees from were Gemini was going to be built and the tornado ripped all the trees out in the construction area. Also on June 30th a water spout was spotted off shore(1998)

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Saturday, July 17, 2004 11:44 AM

SLFAKE said:
Off the top of my head, coasters that have met their demise or at least severely damaged by the elements (not counting FIRE)...

- Wasn't Family Kingdom's Swamp Fox pretty much rebuilt after a Hurricane Hugo hit the SC coast in 1989.

- Canobie Lake's Yankee Cannon Ball had its first "hill" (not sure if this means the lift hill or the first hill after the lift hill) destroyed by Hurricane Camile (I think it was Camile... back in the 1950's)

- A coaster (I forget its name) at Lakemont Park in Altoona PA was severely damaged in 1936, so much so that it was removed instead of repaired. *** Edited 7/15/2004 6:57:27 PM UTC by SLFAKE***


Canobie Lakes Yankee Cannonball was struck by Hurricane Carol in 1954. But I'm not sure what hill was knocked over...

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