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City of Carrollton Implements Advanced Lightning Detection System at Outdoor Recreation Facilities

Post Date:02/13/2019 2:37 PM
Perry Weather Unit insetThe City of Carrollton has implemented nine lightning detection units at outdoor recreation facilities to alert citizens and visitors of dangerous weather in the area. 

The Perry Weather Outdoor Warning System was installed last year at McInnish Sports Complex, Josey Ranch Sports Complex, Rosemeade Rainforest, W.J. Thomas Splash Park, Oak Hills Splash Park, and Oak Creek Tennis Center. The system is powered by both cellular data and solar energy to detect lightning within a 25-mile radius, eliminating the possibility of losing power or signal during a storm. 

“Accurate lightning detection and warning is critical to protecting our citizens and visitors at the City’s outdoor facilities,” Emergency Management Coordinator Elliott Reep said. “Since the first three units were installed last spring, we’ve seen a significant improvement in the accuracy and effectiveness of notifications sent out when lightning is in the area. I’m confident that this system will serve the community well as we prepare for thunderstorms in the spring season.” 

The units are equipped with both siren and strobe notifications, as well as personalized voice recordings to provide a customized message when lightning is detected. The Perry Weather System will give one 15-second notification blast when lightning strikes within 10 miles of the recreation facility. Upon hearing the blast, individuals should immediately stop current activities and seek appropriate shelter. After the initial blast, a yellow strobe light on top of the system will flash until safe conditions return. After the area is clear for 30 minutes from the last strike, the system will provide an “all clear” by giving three 5-second blasts. Regular activities may resume at that time. 

“This new warning system will make our outdoor recreation facilities even safer for both adults and children in Carrollton,” Parks & Recreation Director Scott Whitaker said. “The City strives to be the community that families and businesses want to call home, and this system supports that vision by enhancing public safety at the City’s high-quality athletics fields, aquatic facilities, and tennis courts.” 

Perry Weather additionally provides the Pocket Perry Platform, a cloud-based emergency management tool that syncs to the outdoor warning system to provide City staff with real time updates, alerts, and remote manual triggering if needed. During inclement weather events, the software can send alerts to staff at other locations throughout the City that could be susceptible to weather threats. 

One of the units within McInnish Sports Complex and one within Josey Ranch Sports Complex are equipped with weather stations, which provide live readings of precipitation, wind speed, turf temperature, and a live camera view.

The City of Carrollton is one of the first cities in the DFW Metroplex to implement the Perry Weather System. Grapevine, Lewisville, Mansfield, McKinney, The Colony, and Wylie have also recently worked with the Dallas-based company to implement lightning detection units at their respective facilities. 

The Perry Outdoor Warning System is a separate system from the City’s all-hazard emergency sirens, which do not provide warning of lightning events. The City of Carrollton reminds citizens that everyone should immediately seek shelter any time lightning is believed to be a threat, even if a signal has not sounded. 

Texas ranks 15th in cloud-to-ground flash densities by state. Statistics from the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) show that Texas experienced over 3 million lightning flashes in 2017, more than any other state. Texas’ average flashes per year from 2008 to 2017 is also higher than any other state at over 2.9 million flashes. The NLDN is operated by Vaisala, an electronic measurement systems and equipment manufacturer that specializes in meteorology and environmental science. 

For more information on all of Carrollton’s alert systems, visit cityofcarrollton.com/emergencymanagement
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