New lightning detection system up and running in Atlantic Beach

Some residents are already complaining about new warning device

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ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Atlantic Beach natives and visitors will soon have a heads up when lightning is about to strike. Sirens have been installed at the beach at Sixth and 16th Streets, and at the Adele Grage Cultural Center. 

The city is rolling out a newly installed lightning detection system that alerts people on and near the bech when lightning is imminent. Sirens installed in the area will sound the alarm. Click here to listen to the alarm. 

This Thor Guard system is designed to notify people about lightning with a loud horn. The system is activated when lightning is predicted within 2.5 miles -- typically at least 10 minutes beforehand.

The system relies on data based on static build-up in the atmosphere. It recognizes when the voltage or charge levels begin to neutralize and sends out a 15-second horn blast and a strobe light turns on.

According to the city, some of those residents have already sounded off, some saying the system is being activated too frequently while others have complained about the sirens’ volume.

Altantic Beach city manager Joe Gerrity says the system is here to stay, however, the city will consider some tweaks to it based on the feedback they receive. 

Though the city paid an initial installation cost of $26,275, it will take an additional $725 a year to maintain the system and ensure it's working properly.

The primary coverage area is the area along and near the beach. It is anticipated that the system will be expanded westward, perhaps in the upcoming 2019-20 fiscal year, to cover Russell Park. 

Meanwhile, please note that Atlantic Beach Country Club also recently installed a lightning prediction system. These systems complement each other.​