While weather forecasters and officials have started to point fingers, it is for the rest of the nation watching this tragedy to realize that the National Weather Forecasters gave their warnings; that most outdoor stages across the U.S. are inspected and approved after setup, before use, and that while human error may have been in play for not evacuating the fairgrounds earlier, it is up to us to realize that nature can't be predicted. No one could have noticed this sudden gust approaching, no more than we can see flash floods on their way in. While the fairgrounds were paying attention to the worsening weather and were prepared for 40-mph gusts, no stage is built for sudden wind attacks of that velocity.
It is, in fact, surprising to me that this sort of disaster does not happen more often. While we say a prayer for those who died- 4 immediately, and one stagehand later on Saturday evening- we can also give thanks that many more people weren't killed.
Working in theater is a dangerous business. Every day we face fly systems with thousands of pounds of scenery and lighting that, if weighted incorrectly, could fall; we hang scenery and lights from very high, hard-to-reach places, which can be scary for the person on the ladder or in the genie lift, as well as for those below. Many places use harnesses and hard hats. Carpenters face power tools on a daily basis; electricians risk shock and electrocution often. It's a career path that requires careful work, quick thinking, and nimble hands and feet.
For more information on the deceased, visit here.