Anyone who has visited the Summit Bechtel Reserve knows that the weather can change very quickly. West Virginia, and the Summit’s, unique topography creates beautiful vistas — and rapidly evolving forecasts!
Since the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, leadership at the Summit has been working to better predict, and prepare for, inclement weather. There have been a few incredible changes made to how weather is dealt with at the Summit, which are sure to make the 2017 National Scout Jamboree more enjoyable for everyone!
The Summit operations center has developed their own internal weather forecasting ability during that time, and has been using it during the high adventure season to understand the weather patterns of the summit. During the upcoming jamboree, the National Weather Service (NWS) will be on-site to augment these internal resources.
Most activities at the Summit receive a warning if there is a lightning strike within 12 miles, and must be cancelled for participants to seek shelter if the strike is within eight miles. With the NWS on-site, though, all-clear announcements to resume activities will be issues faster than ever before. That means less down-time for activities, and more chances for Scouts to participate in all that the Summit has to offer.
Of course, weather is weather, and there’s nothing anyone can do to prevent a few drops of liquid sunshine during the jamboree. That’s why the Summit has been busy over the past four years building a total of 25 new shelters across the site. That means more places to stay warm and get some cover while Scouts are waiting for a storm to pass.
The final improvement related to weather preparation are changes to communication. Weather will be available in the Summit and Jamboree apps, with updates on program area closures or limitations. And JamboLink will keep everyone up to date in real-time through social and web posts on upcoming schedule changes or inclement weather warnings to ensure everyone is ahead of the curve.
All told, the lessons learned in 2013 and over the past several summers of high adventure have been well-heeded. The 2017 National Scout Jamboree won’t be able to control the weather — but the steps are in place to ensure the weather doesn’t control the amount of fun everyone has next summer!