TPS uses lightning detection system for football safety

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Reported by: Janna Clark
Updated: 9/20/2013 6:00 pm Published: 9/20/2013 5:29 pm

Players cleared the field when it started pouring Thursday night at the Booker T. Washington home game against East Central.

The game didn't end because of rain, but because of lightning.

There's a lightning detection system and it went off at Thursday's game, but not everyone knew it. Most people were looking away watching the game.

Helen Reddell was focused on her two godsons, both Hornet linebackers, in a rivalry game between Booker T. and East Central.

"I didn't even realize that existed," she said, but she paid attention when she saw lightning getting closer.

FOX23's Chief Meteorologist James Aydelott texted a co-worker at the game that the lightning was 1 mile away. Then seven minutes later, he texted, "You are in danger now. Lightning may occur at any time."

Right after that, the district said the detection unit at BTW went off.

But the game was so loud fans said they never heard it. Behind the scenes, the district was monitoring.

TPS Emergency Manager Bob Roberts said the district chose the Thor-Guard System because it predicts when lightning could strike.

"When lightning is expected to start, not after the event," he said.

He said lightning often comes before the rain, when people are outside.

When the light on this screen turned from yellow to red last night an email alert went out to BTW school officials and the game was canceled.

But fans at the game say they didn't know.

"Didn't really know until the boys started running of the field. The band was here. Nobody said, 'Take shelter, get off the aluminum bleachers,'" said Reddell.

The district told FOX23 it will follow up and figure out a way to notify fans.

Roberts say the lightning detection system has been here several years. It cost the district about $250,000.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Unwashed Mass - 9/21/2013 4:02 PM
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$250,000 must have included considerable kickbacks for a system this rinky-dink.
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