The Town of Flower Mound Parks and Recreation Department operates six lightning detection systems throughout town. These locations include the Community Activity Center/Gerault Park, Bakersfield Park (2), Jake’s Hilltop Park, Glenwick Baseball Field, and the Chinn Chapel Soccer Complex. When lightning is detected within 10 miles of the Earth Networks detection system, the unit will give a 15-second blast from the on-site horn that can be heard up to a half mile away. At the same time, a yellow strobe – visible from most areas of the park – will activate and stay on until the danger has passed, or 30 minutes after the last detection of lightning. Once the potential for a lightning strike has passed, the system will activate the horns to give the all-clear signal – three, five-second blasts – and the strobe light will go off.
However, if weather conditions appear unsafe and the system has not sounded the alarm, common sense should be your guide and activities should cease despite the absence of a Earth Networks warning. Due to the unpredictability of weather patterns, it may be possible for the alarm to sound multiple times within an hour or even sound when there appears to be no danger (i.e. clear skies).
While stopping and restarting athletic activities due to Earth Networks' warnings may result in some frustration, it is important to remember that the Earth Networks system’s warnings must be heeded at all times. If the Earth Networks system sets off the alarm on a sunny day, it is not malfunctioning. There is a chance of being struck by lightning if the alarm is not heeded (“a bolt from the blue”).
It is worth noting that many of the lightning deaths and injuries that occur each year are from the first lightning strike from an incoming storm or from the rear of a storm that appears to have passed through an area.