New Early Warning Storm/Lightning Device For Cobourg

In Local, News

Cobourg is now utilizing technology to help give more timely warning of approaching lightning strikes.
Cobourg Emergency Planner Shannon Murphy showed the new device to Today’s Northumberland on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at the Cobourg Firehall.
Storm Pro 2 Lightning Detector is a device that tracks dangerous thunderstorm activity from over 200 kilometres.
“It sounds a little sci-fi, but the reality is this technology picks up on electromagnetic energy in the air. When it first turns on it calibrates what is supposed to be there, and then it follows a mapping process of looking for lightning, electromagnetic activity that is not supposed to be there,” said Murphy.
The range can be set for 100 kilometres around Cobourg, but Murphy said the ideal is to set it at a range of 24 kilometre radius. The reason for that is if lightning has hit in that 24 kilometre there is a chance it very well could hit our community.”
Depending on whether the storm/lighting gets closer to Cobourg will dictate what will happen in terms of alerting the community.
“There is two different settings on it. A light setting will tell if it is travelling towards us and is hitting that 24 kilometre marker or a full alarm that has a audible alert that will sound if it is directly coming at us.”
“We might find we have activity in the 24-kilometre radius but it might be travelling away from us. If that’s the case, we don’t need to do anything about it.”
“But if we can see it is actually coming directly at us we do need to take precautions, perhaps alerting people on the beach to seek shelter because of lightning in the area.”
Given the number of outdoor festivals like the Sandcastle Festival, Waterfront Festival, Northumberland Ribfest and others downtown, an early warning devise will give ample warning to people.
“We have a lot of people coming to the community. In some cases they are leaving their vehicles far away and walking in to festivals and events. We might know from a weather forecast that storms are possibly predicted or there is a chance of thunderstorms.”
“What this tells us is if that chance of thunderstorms is a direct threat to our actual town.”
Normally an Environment Canada warning gives a 12 minute warning of a thunderstorm hitting in the immediate area, but with the Storm Pro 2 there is upwards of 35 minutes warning.
In the event of a storm/lightning coming the town would call a “all clear” to clear the beach and shelter in place wherever possible until the storm passes.
“An alert would also go out on Cobourg Emergency Management twitter as well as the Town of Cobourg and all available avenues to get the message out as quickly as possible.”
“Time is of the essence, if you can’t get to your vehicle, shelter in place until the storm passes.”
Summer storms usually come fast, and the earlier we can advise people of the danger, the safer people will be.”

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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