LIGHTNING SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS
THOR GUARD has over 45 years of experience analyzing millions of hours of atmospheric electricity. THOR GUARD has studied how various ground and air charges work together to create lightning as well as different levels of Severe Storms. This body of data has enabled our Engineers and Meteorologists to actually see what makes lightning tick, both before and after a storm event. The suggestions put forth in the content of this document are based on these observations. All of these suggestions are data-driven, not subjective recommendations.
ANTIQUATED 30/30 RULE
Prior to 2010, the so-called 30/30 rule was used for lightning safety throughout the country. This method assumed that if lightning was six miles from you, it was safe to conduct your activities. The initial 30 part means that if you count thirty seconds from the time you see the strike to the time you hear the thunder, that strike was six miles away. Sound travels about one mile in five seconds, so thirty divided by five equals six. Of course this is assuming you actually see the flash and actually hear the thunder from that same strike - which both tasks can sometimes be very difficult to do in the middle of a rainstorm or when there are multiple storms in your area confusing those both watching and listening. In 1998, there was a study by Holle & Lopez which clearly stated that lightning can routinely travel from storms more than eight miles away. Utilizing this method for lightning safety is like Russian Roulette! If you have no system in place, the best method is to clear the event whenever you see any lightning!
It may be hard to believe, but the second thirty is even more dangerous. This “rule” assumes that no strikes can come back from a recently passed storm if you wait thirty minutes after you see the last strike eight or ten miles away. There is no data to support this safety guideline. It is more of a feel-good idea because there are really no methods to measure the local danger other than by utilizing a THOR GUARD system. The thirty minute delay could be dangerous or the danger may have already passed twenty minutes earlier. Even a Professional Meteorologist on his/her own can’t be sure it is safe. When it comes to lives and safety, a good guess is not sufficient. Incidentally, all detection systems use this 30/30 method to declare the environment is either dangerous or safe! This is because they have no way to confirm whether energy at your location is building or has gone away - they can only give you an estimate of where lightning has struck, after it has struck!
ATMOSPHERIC ENERGY GOVERNS LIGHTNING
This may sound basic, but lightning at its core is created or made possible by the friction of oppositely charged concentrations of ions in the clouds and on the earth’s surface that get forced to interactive and collide. Eventually streams and columns of ions form and it is this change in atmospheric energy that can be measured and profiled with real-time storm data sampling of the local ionized atmospheric conditions in fine detail. All lightning and storms begin with small amounts of measurable energy, eventually peaking during the strongest part of the storm. THOR GUARD systems measure these energy migrations and provide a warning when the level has reached critical levels as determined by actual storm and lightning data. Whether a lightning strike comes from a storm fifteen or fifty miles away, or a first strike is forming overhead, these systems advise you of the dangerous conditions proactively - this is objective science! What about the so-called back-end of the storm? As a storm passes through your area, there is an enormous amount of energy being transferred between the clouds and the ground. More often than not, some energy is left behind on the earth’s surface. If these pods of energy do not dissipate, there may be an area of energy large enough to connect to the storm that has just passed, resulting in a back-strike. Similar to the energy build-up before a storm, the same principles apply to a retreating storm. Unless the local energy has dropped below a dangerous attractive level, it is not safe to resume activities. THOR GUARD is the only system that can provide a truly safe All Clear. Without this technology, any other All Clear method is a guess! With no such system in place, you must wait and hope you make a good decision.
SAFETY IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY
The United States Government has been keeping records of lightning-related injuries and deaths since 1952. In an effort to mitigate these tragedies, various methods of warning have been advanced from the simple to the complex. One fact that science proves is that human beings can’t see the lightning-producing ionized air columns in the atmosphere or on the ground. If an individual is very close to one of these ground-based streamers, he or she may have their hair stand on their arms or head. This is a very dangerous condition which could be an indicator to a lightning strike about to occur. No detection system or network can see these areas of dangerous electrostatic build-up. The bottom line is that the last strike is not an indicator for where the next strike will occur. Based on our 45 years of experience, a facility without a THOR GUARD system should evacuate the area and seek shelter whenever lightning is seen in the area. If you were to think that this is a terrible way to manage weather safety concerns for a game, you would be right. However if you are in the position of making a lightning safety decision, you can't afford to be wrong - people's lives are at stake and our technology rules supreme for the safety of all!