Lightning Alert System

Lightning 2The City of Portland’s lightning alert system is now operating at Municipal Park and the Sports Complex. It is designed to alert those in the parks that lightning has been detected in the area. The system will be active every day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., when people are most likely to be using these city parks. 

When lightning is detected within a 10-mile radius of the parks, an alert horn will sound for 15 seconds. Anyone in the vicinity should seek shelter immediately. The system will sound an all-clear with three short bursts when the danger of lightning has passed, which is typically 30 minutes after the last detected lightning strike.      

When you hear the lightning warning alert: 

·  Stop all activities and clear the park and athletic fields and seek shelter immediately. Weather experts advise that “a sturdy, enclosed building or a car is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm.” 

·  According to the Insurance Information Institute, if you shelter in a car during a storm, know that most vehicles are safe because the metal roof and sides divert lightning around the passenger area. Note that convertibles, motorcycles, bikes, open-shelled outdoor recreation vehicles, and cars with plastic or   fiberglass shells offer no lightning protection. The rubber tires have little to do with safety during lightning events. 

·  Avoid metal pipes and materials, including the splash pads and play equipment. 

·  Never seek shelter underneath a tree. Being under a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties. If lightning does hit the tree, there’s a chance that a “ground charge” may spread out from the tree in all directions. 

Be aware that that just because a thunderstorm is far away does not mean that you are safe from lightning. A bolt of lightning can strike people, places, and buildings as far as 10 miles away from where it is raining.