SOUTHLAKE (CBSDFW.COM) – The Carroll school district in Southlake tested a new lightning detection system Thursday that will provide advance warning of storms at every campus in the district.
The new warning system will detect lightning within 10 miles, and use audible alert messages, a horn and a light to indicate potential danger until the area is lightning free for at least 30 minutes.
Carroll ISD plans to install 13 of the units, including at every elementary school in the district.
“It covers pretty much all of the city of Southlake,” said executive athletic director Steve Keasler. “We didn’t want to leave anybody out.”
While detection systems are often used in municipal parks with multiple athletic fields, installation at schools is somewhat unique.
At Old Union elementary, principal Jon Fike said teachers and staff generally would watch forecasts and use apps to prepare for approaching storms. He expected the new system to take the guesswork out of deciding when it was safe for students to be outside.
“You hear that horn you know something is in the area, which is great,” he said.
Carroll’s school board approved the purchase of the Perry Weather Alert System last month at a total cost of $211,214. Other North Texas districts use different methods to monitor for lightning.
Dallas ISD has an alert system at centralized athletic facilities like stadiums and staff receives notifications of approaching weather on their phones. Fort Worth ISD uses hand-held detectors at outside events. Keller ISD has all its coaches and trainers use a lightning detection app.