Center Grove students protected from lightning by new prediction system

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GREENWOOD, Ind. (Feb. 12, 2015) -- It's hotter than the sun, and can kill you in an instant. Lightning can strike with little or no warning. Now, students in the Center Grove Community School Corporation in Greenwood have advanced warning of when to run for cover. The system is now in all of the schools, and it's called "Thor Guard." The job that it does that is extremely exciting and extremely important, it protects your kids.

With a 113dB horn and a yellow strobe light, there is no second guessing a life-threatening storm that is headed toward your children on the playing field. When the horn goes off, it's time to get in.

"This system is going to tell us when that potential for lightning to occur from cloud to ground is there before the lightning strikes," said Bryan Kilgore, who installs the Thor Guard system.

Kilgore says the system operates based on atmospheric conditions miles away.

"As the levels of energy start to climb, we will start to see a 'caution', 'warning' and then a 'red' alert," Kilgore said as he pointed to a computer screen associated with the prediction system.

When a lightning producing storm is with in a two-mile radius, the horns blare and the lights flash telling everyone to get off the playing field and into a shelter. The devices are now in all of the middle and high schools in Center Grove. Schools that don't have horns will get text and email notifications so adults can tell kids who may be out on the playground to get inside in a hurry.

"A lightning bolt can be as hot as 50,000 degrees and lightning happens so quickly that we don't see the first stroke, we see the return stroke," said Weather Authority Chief Meteorologist Chris Wright.

Wright says lightning is very unpredictable, in fact, you can be 15 miles away from a thunderstorm and still be struck.

"The more advanced warning you have, the better off you are going to be because you have more time to get to your safe place," Wright added.

Just in time for the spring sports season, the Thor Guard system will go on line March first.

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