WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) — In August, one person was killed and nine others were hurt when a violent summer storm rolled through the Poconos and deadly lightning struck.
The victims were attending the NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway.
But now, one local school that’s now part of KDKA’s WeatherBug Network is making sure its students and thousands of others in Washington County are warned of severe weather before it’s too late.
Students in the Trinity School District are learning the science of weather, and Jeanette Hartley has a new tool to use in the classroom.
“It’s all in one place. It’s not all over. You don’t have to do your own search. You don’t have to do a Google search,” says Hartley, of Trinity West Elementary School. “You go straight to that WeatherBug, and it is all right there for you.”
The school district in Washington County just got its WeatherBug installation last month. It’s the first in the area with lightning detection.
“When we really looked into some different research about lightning, sometimes you don’t see it until it is right on top of you,” said Dr. Michael Lucas, the assistant superintendent of the Trinity School District. “So, at least this way we will be able to notify the referees, the athletic director and show them through WeatherBug the radar, the lightning strikes, here’s how many times the lightning has struck, and most importantly, here’s how close it is to you all.”
While the middle school is home to hundreds of students each day, many athletic events happen outside these halls.
“We do host the varsity sports such as soccer, football; so even at night with a lightning strike, even though you might not be able to see… still the alarm is going to go off to let the officials know that, hey, we need to stop and move indoors until the alert is over,” said Pete Keruskin, the middle school principal.
There is no mistaking the sound of the siren.
“Basically, it will let us know if lightning strikes within a 10 mile radius of our school,” said Dr. Lucas.
And it will not sound the all-clear until there is no lightning for 30 minutes.