In papal planning, contingencies for severe weather

Written by The Associated Press | Sep 17, 2015 2:41 AM

Photo by AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, Pool

(Philadelphia) -- A sudden thunderstorm moving in on one of Pope Francis' outdoor events could put a projected crowd of one million people or more in the path of potentially deadly lightning and dangerous winds. 

Organizers expect about 500,000 people for a festival and concert featuring Francis next Saturday and more than a million people at his Mass the following day.

The events are rain or shine, but lightning would trigger evacuations. 

The National Weather Service will provide real-time weather monitoring to the city's emergency operations center. 

Alerts will be sent via text message and broadcast instructions on video boards.

They'll encourage people to seek shelter in parking garages, hotels, restaurants and other closed spaces.  

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