Atlantic Beach commissioners vote to buy lightning prediction systems

By Jennifer Ready - Reporter

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. - Atlantic Beach city commissioners on Monday night voted 5-0 to purchase lightning prediction systems.

It will cost about $26,000 for two systems, one at Sixth Street and another at 16th Street. As part of the system, when the atmosphere is right for lightning, a siren will go off to alert beachgoers.

There will also be signs warning beachgoers that, if the sirens go off, they need to go inside.

An exact date has not yet been set, but the systems should be in place by this summer. 

According to the city manager, if the city is happy with the two systems, it will look at putting one in Russell Park next year. 

The systems are a response to lightning strikes that occurred last year, including one that injured a man in Atlantic Beach just south of the 19th Street beach access and another the same day that hit a home and started a fire.

According to weather.gov, lightning strikes have killed nearly 300 people in the U.S. over the past decade with 20 deadly lightning strikes last year.

Forty people lost their lives to lightning strikes in 2014, the most of any year in the last decade.

So far this year, there have been no deadly lightning strikes.

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