New lightning detection system provides new safety measure for outdoor activities

VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) – When we hear the sound of thunder, we know there is a storm in the distance. But when does that storm become a threat?

The officials at South Knox High School in Vincennes will no longer have to question when to postpone or cancel an outdoor event with their newly installed lightning detection system.

Chris Lancaster is the Athletic Director for the South Knox School Corporation, he is pleased to see the pressure taken off of the coaches to make those tough decisions. “I want the coaches to not have to make that choice. [When lightning strikes] We know what the protocol is. Let’s get the kids off the field.”

Lightning is responsible for 24 fatalities just this year here in the U.S. (Source: NOAA) By implementing the latest in weather technology from WeatherBug, South Knox can be confident their students and guests won’t become another statistic.

“This weekend, we have the South Knox Invitational. We have 1,344 runners coming to our campus, and if storms are located throughout the vicinity, we can get those students to safety immediately,” said Assistant Principal and Cross Country coach Matt Toothman.

Photos: South Knox Lightning detection system

With this new state-of-the-art lightning detection system, a sensor that’s on top of the school will be able to detect lightning within a 10 mile radius. Whether it be impacting the ground or simply within the clouds, you’ll be alerted by hearing a loud horn.

After a solid 30 minutes without any lightning being detected, an all-clear siren will sound allowing outdoor activities to resume.

“It’s exciting for me, in a “peace of mind exciting” to know that we have something there and there’s no questions about it. It’s there. It’s the safest thing that is out there, and we’re giving our kids the opportunity to go out and play and not have to worry about anything and if you hear it, you get off the field.

Funded completely by the athletic department, it’s a small price to pay, for the safety, of all.

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