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Updated: 6:52 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | Posted: 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Some popular outdoor destinations are getting a game plan in place for protecting visitors from severe weather.
Already this year, lightning has killed three people in the United States.
Chief meteorologist Stephen Cropper went to Kennywood Park and found that the park is equipped with wind monitors on taller rides and a lightning detection system.
“If lightning is detected anywhere in the vicinity of the park, we start to shut down our taller rides, our coasters, the Skycoaster, things like that,” said Kennywood spokesman Jeff Filicko.
Filicko said the park also works with private forecasters and the Pittsburgh National Weather Service to be ready before the storms move in.
In June the Constellation Senior Players Championship tees off at Fox Chapel Golf Club.
A meteorologist actually travels with the Champions Tour so officials at the course are prepared for storms, heat and wind.
"He also helps us clear for an evacuation if we have any issue with some type of thunderstorm or type of storm that will come through here," said tournament official Brian Goin.
That's exactly what happened at the 2007 US Open at Oakmont when severe storms brought the tournament to a halt and sent spectators scrambling for cover.
In Beaver County, they’re staying ahead of the severe weather game.
The Monaca Youth Baseball League Association is the first little league organization in the country to receive Lightning Safety Recognition from the National Weather Service.
Monaca Emergency Management coordinator Jeff McKay wears a lightning detection pager that lets him know if severe weather is on the way since lightning can strike eight to 10 miles ahead of a storm.
“Once it gets to the 0-6 or 6-12 miles then we put everyone on alert,” McKay said.
When the parents, players and coaches get caught in the strike zone, the game stops and everyone heads for the cars. It's all part of Monaca's storm ready community plan.
“With the youth out in the open, there’s a lot of danger with fencing, poles and bleachers,” McKay said.
To learn more or sign up for the Lightning Safety Recognition program email Charles.firstname.lastname@example.org.
To access the lightning safety toolkit, log on to lightningsafety.noaa.gov.
The toolkit can be found here.
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