What If It Rains During the Pope’s Visit?
More than a million people are expected to make the pilgrimage into Philadelphia to witness Pope Francis’ historic visit to the city. But what if there is bad weather during his time here, when almost all of his public events are to be held in the open air?
As of right now, the forecast for pope weekend in Philadelphia is sunny and clear, no matter which weather prognostication service you trust. And that is why you haven’t heard the local news stations conjuring up silly terms like Popecipitation, Francis Flood, or Papal Downpour. (Sorry, but you know they would.) And Mayor Michael Nutter recently joked that the pope has offered a personal guarantee for positively perfect weather.
But a lot can change in a week, and the fact is that there is going to be a heck of a lot of people — many of them slow and old and sick — crammed into the city, and there needs to be a contingency.
The New York and Washington events are mostly indoors, whereas the big pope events in Philadelphia are outside, on the Ben Franklin Parkway and Independence Mall. All of the Philadelphia events are being held rain or shine, but evacuations would be ordered in case of severe weather, reports the Associated Press.
So where would all the people go? Good question.
“Officials will direct people to nearby parking garages because of their ease of access,” reports the AP. “They also will encourage people to seek cover on their own at hotels, restaurants and other closed spaces.”
Normally, officials would direct fleeing attendees to large indoor spots, like the museums that flank the Ben Franklin Parkway. But these places will be closed, thanks to the insanity surrounding the pope’s visit.
Philadelphia’s emergency management director has said that most of the shelter locations are actually outside of the papal perimeter that will be in place. If there’s a severe thunderstorm and you have to evacuate, you’ll probably have to leave that perimeter and then go through a security screening again to regain entry.
In other words, pray for sun. We’re sure that’s what the pope is doing.
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