Although fall sports finally returned last month, the hot and humid summer weather decided to stick around just a bit longer. For the University of Nebraska-Akron football game on September 1, that meant the chance of severe thunderstorms threatening the teams and everyone in attendance.
Thankfully, the Huskers’ staff at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., had the WeatherSentry Sports Edition by DTN on hand. The system detected a strike within eight miles of the stadium, leading to a 30-minute delay, and frequent lightning strikes thereafter ultimately led to the cancellation of the game.
Statistics show that roughly 300 people in the United States are struck by lightning every year, and dozens don’t survive. The mere thought leaves athletic directors everywhere on their toes. “Safety has become a much bigger issue over the years,” John Jensenius, National Weather Service lighting expert, told the Midland Reporter-Telegraph. “(Schools) are taking action to try and keep people safe.”
The WeatherSentry Sports Edition is also helping other high school and collegiate athletic departments across the country. In Omaha, Steve Eubanks, Supervisor of Athletics at Omaha Public Schools, says the WeatherSentry has been helpful during the fall season in determining when to suspend play, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegraph.
Jeff Novotny, Athletic Director at Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa, keeps the app on his phone, which warns him when lightning is detected within a 30-mile radius. That way, he can alert game officials of the potentially dangerous conditions headed toward the field, as reported in the same MRT article.
These are just a few examples of how vital the WeatherSentry Sports Edition has become to athletic directors everywhere. Combining the best global lightning detection networks with automated intelligence, DTN’s technology takes the guesswork out of making the call could save lives. “We can make the right decisions and have the advance time needed to clear any outdoor sports venue before severe weather hits the location,” confirms a spokesperson of the Lone Star College Athletic Conference.
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