By Randy Bell
New technology should make Traceway Park a safer place as storms move through. The Board of Aldermen on January 17 voted to spend more than $26,000 for an updated lightning detection system to provide warnings to players, coaches and spectators at the park’s soccer, baseball and softball fields.
Parks and Recreation Director Courtney Nunn says they’ve used the Thor Guard system for several years.
“It’s been due for an upgrade for a long time,” Nunn says. “It will allow for the weather detection to be a little bit more accurate.”
In addition to being able to know when to move people to safety as a dangerous storm is approaching, Nunn says the upgraded system will allow the all-clear to be sounded more quickly when the lightning threat has passed.
“With the new technology that they’ve advanced to, I think this is really going to help with lightning detection.”
Thor Guard promotes its lightning prediction capabilities, using algorithms to provide warnings before the first strike. On its website, the company says, “Our typical warning time is eight to twenty minutes before lightning arrives close to your area.” It also says all-clears are sounded based on “scientific measurements onsite” instead of waiting thirty minutes since the last strike.
Also coming to Traceway: new surveillance cameras. The Board approved spending $18,500 to upgrade cameras around the maintenance shop and to add cameras across the park.
“Our main focus is watching the concession stands,” Nunn says. “We’ve had a lot of concession stand break-ins or attempts. Now, we’ll be able to see actually what’s going on.”