Detection Technology Helps Schools with Lightning Protection

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The lightning delays and eventual cancellation of the University of Nebraska-Akron football game demonstrates how many schools respond to dangerous thunderstorms.

Various versions of the detection system that alerted a Nebraska official at the season opener on Sept. 1 are being employed by schools nationwide. Some schools use weather-alert apps loaded onto smartphones.

The university’s WeatherSentry system detected a strike within 8 miles (13 kilometers) of Memorial Stadium, which required a 30-minute delay in play. Subsequent strikes restart the 30-minute clock.

Athletic director Jeff Novotny at Abraham Lincoln High in Council Bluffs, Iowa, told the Omaha World-Herald that he sets his phone app to alert him when lightning is within 30 miles (48 kilometers) of an event. That lets him tell game officials that play might have to be suspended.

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