Lightning Prediction Systems Minimize On-Course Danger

Thor Guard Advises Course Operators To Understand The Danger of Lightning and Manage The Risk

Sixty percent of lightning victims are struck under blue skies after a storm has passed. What's more, 30 percent of lightning victims are struck under blue skies before a storm arrives in their immediate area.

Keeping golfers safe while keeping their courses full may be golf course operators' most delicate -- and critical -- balancing act. "Operators want to allow golfers to stay on the course and not interrupt their rounds, but there comes a time when weather conditions and safety concerns override everything else," according to Greg Quinn, director of weather for Thor Guard, which manufactures lightning prediction systems for golf courses and other businesses. The key to prioritizing safety while maximizing participation, Quinn said, is to understand the dangers lightning presents. "Our biggest challenge is educating people on some basic lightning information." For example, Quinn said, most people think it's safe to go back on the course once a storm has cleared the area. Studies have shown, however, that 60 percent of lightning victims are struck under blue skies after a storm has passed. What's more, 30 percent of lightning victims are struck under blue skies before a storm arrives in their immediate area.



Thor Guard advises operators who want to minimize weather delays while maximizing safety to heed warning signs and to take advantage of the latest lightning prediction technology. "If we just paid better attention to weather conditions -- and if we really knew what to look for and what to listen for -- we would instinctively know when conditions were getting bad and could reduce a lot of injuries," Quinn said.

Unlike lightning detection systems, prediction systems, which monitor the atmosphere's electrostatic field, have the advantage of being able to issue a warning before lightning is detected or present in a specific area. 

Quinn also recommends a lightning management plan for every course. "If you don't have a plan to act on the information the technology is giving you, you're wasting a large part of your investment," he said. "You should have well-defined roles for staff members, so they know what to do when the system gives you a warning. The more comprehensive the plan and the better it is communicated, the less you're going to affect play on the course and customer satisfaction."

For more information visit www.thorguard.com or contact Robert Dugan, (888) 571-1212, or bdugan@thorguard.com.


 

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