The Coppell Parks and Recreation Department has installed a lightning prediction system in some of its busier park sites and along some trails. This new system is designed to alert park and trail users that the conditions are favorable for lightning strikes.
Currently, the City uses a small hand-held device that detects lightning strikes as they occur. This improved system predicts the potential for a strike by analyzing the electrostatic field in the atmosphere. When the conditions are right, the system will sound an alarm. This is the signal for those in the area to seek shelter. The City will require sports associations to continue to use the detection device while at the same time utilizing the new prediction equipment.
How It Works
The Thor Guard system consists of a sensor designed to measure the atmospheric conditions that lend themselves to the formation of lightning. When the system determines that a hazardous condition exists, air horns and a flashing strobe light are automatically activated. This system can provide a warning 8 to 20 minutes before a potential strike occurs. The system monitors a 2-mile radius around the unit.
Hours of Operation
The lightning prediction system will operate during the hours park sites are open, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. Parks and recreation staff members will perform routine maintenance on the system on a monthly basis.
When Conditions are Favorable
When the system determines that a hazardous condition exists, air horns and a flashing strobe light are automatically activated. This system can provide a warning 8 to 20 minutes before a potential strike occurs. The system monitors a 2-mile radius around the unit. The system is mounted to a pole in the park, so that park users can see and hear the warning. Below is a listing of the locations where the system has been installed.
What You Will Hear and How To Respond
When the system detects the potential for a lightning strike, the air horns sound an uninterrupted 15-second blast and the strobe light will activate. Park patrons who hear the horn and/or see the light need to seek shelter immediately. When the system no longer detects a threat, three 5-second blasts from the horn will sound and the strobe light will stop working. This is the signal that it is safe to return outdoors.
No system is fool-proof. Park visitors should always assess weather conditions before going outside and always be prepared to take the appropriate action needed to ensure one's safety.
Andrew Brown Central – One base unit near the concession stand with three remotes at Andrew Brown West (near the concession building), Andrew Brown East (near the outdoor pool) and Moore Road (near the baseball practice fields). A total of four sets of horns and lights will cover all passive trails, pool and sports field users in this area.
Wagon Wheel Park – One base unit at the field #6 concession stand and two remotes at the baseball four-plex, between soccer concession and Tennis Center. Three sets of horns/lights for trails, fields and tennis center will alert patrons in this area.
MacArthur Park - One horn/light between playground and ballfields.
Pinkerton Elementary School – One horn/light between two ballfields (Girls Softball fields).
When the system does detect the potential for lightning or a storm is approaching, park visitors should quickly seek shelter.
- Move to a sturdy building or car.
- Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles.
- If lightning is occurring and a sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard top automobile and keep the windows up (information courtesy of the National Weather Service).
- If you are outdoors with no shelter available, find a low spot away from trees, bleachers, goal posts, and other structures.
- Make sure the area is not prone to flooding.