What Were the Weather Conditions Like Building Up to the State Fair Stage Collapse?

By Curtis Smith, Chief Meteorologist

August 15, 2011 Updated Aug 15, 2011 at 7:59 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Weather was to blame Saturday night, as strong winds blew over the stage at the Indiana state fair, just moments before "Sugarland" was set to perform a concert on it.

In many ways, the storms were not out of the ordinary for early August thunderstorms rumbling through central Indiana. While there was no rotation, there were strong straight-line winds and the stroms were powerful enough to prompt the National Weather Service to issue a Severe Thunderstorm Watch and several Severe Thunderstorm Warnings. The main impact of the storms was from a gust front or an outflow boundary. It's a large surge of cooler air moving down and then out ahead of the main line of precipitation. Those winds were estimated at 70 miles per hour.

Winds from a gust front are often as strong as tornadic winds and as difficult to anticipate as torandoes themselves.

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