Lightning Detectors Come to New Jersey

You can know when to bolt with a jolt of technology.

A growing number of New Jersey municipalities and counties are relying on lightning detection and warning systems to give their populace a heads up on imminent lightning strikes.

In East Rutherford, sirens and flashing lights are set up in two community parks. An antenna sitting atop the fire department links the local system with a national network of lightning sensors.

These keep track of approaching lightning and when it gets within a pre-determined distance the automated system kicks in. "it went off one day last week while we we're playing and we had to leave the field, said one adolescent girl.

"We don't want anymore tragedies," commented East Rutherford Mayor Jim Cassella.

He was referencing the deaths of two teenagers struck by lightning on a Montvale, New Jersey, soccer field four years ago.

Indeed, Bergen County is set to renew its three-year cooperative purchasing program for local governments.

"It cost us about $25,000 for the system," said Cassella.

Residents can also opt for personal notification of alerts via email and text-messaging. Similar warning systems are also proliferating on golf courses, private and public. Looks like Mother Nature just got some new competition.

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