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WeatherBug Lightning Detection and Alerting System Coming to Florida School District

Earth NetworksSM, the owner of the popular WeatherBug® brand and the operator of the largest weather monitoring, lightning detection and climate observation networks, announces that Lee County Public Schools in Fort Myers, Florida, selected its lightning detection and severe weather alerting technology. Beginning this fall, weather stations, lightning sensors and outdoor alerting sirens from Earth Networks - WeatherBug will be deployed on the rooftops of 13 high schools in the county to help protect more than 25,000 high school students from lightning and other forms of severe weather.

“We are bringing this technology to Lee County to help protect our students,” says Ron Davis, Principal of Assignment for Zone Operations and Athletics, Lee County Public Schools. “Lightning will always be a serious concern in our district, which informed our decision to install technology for advanced warning. It will help take the guesswork and the human element out of when to stop outdoor games and activities and go indoors when lightning and severe weather approaches.”

Every year, hundreds are seriously injured or even killed by cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. Yet the majority of lightning takes place in the clouds. This in-cloud lightning often provides a critical, early indication of severe weather, such as dangerous lightning strikes, high winds, hail and even tornadoes.

The outdoor alerting system coming to Lee County High Schools automatically produces a high-decibel, attention-getting signal when in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning enters a predetermined radius, such as 10 miles, surrounding the school. The lightning sensors that will be placed on each school will be part of the world’s largest total lightning network, which is operated by Earth Networks – WeatherBug.

Thirteen Lee County high schools will also have a WeatherBug weather station onsite. These stations are connected to the Internet and measure temperature, wind speed and direction, precipitation, and other variables, every few seconds. Four of the 13 schools currently have WeatherBug weather stations, and the remaining nine schools will have weather stations installed.

As the weather stations and lightning detection sensors are deployed, the Lee County High Schools will become part of the ABC7 WVZN WeatherBug Schools Program. The schools will be able to provide weather data for meteorological teams at news station WVZN, and other stations across the country, to broadcast online and on-air. The schools’ weather stations will also provide real-time weather and lightning alerts to people in the community who use WeatherBug apps on their iPhones and Android smartphones. In addition, the equipment will also be used to enhance the science, technology and math school curriculum at the schools using WeatherBug Achieve web-based software.

“With the lightning detection and alerting technology available today, there is absolutely no reason to remain in harm’s way when lightning and severe weather is in the area,” says WeatherBug Director of Enterprise Solutions, Frank McCathran. “It is about ensuring peace of mind by knowing that you are helping keep your students, athletes, coaches and fans safe through advanced warning. We are proud to be helping the Lee County Schools’ staff and community with this important initiative.”

WeatherBug solutions will be deployed at the following Lee County, Florida, High Schools: Cape Coral High School, Cypress Lake High School, Dunbar High School, East Lee County High School, Estero High School, Fort Myers High School, Ida S. Baker High School, Island Coast High School, Lehigh Senior High School, Mariner High, North Fort Myers High School, Riverdale High School and South Fort Myers High School.

About Earth Networks - WeatherBug

As a provider of comprehensive atmospheric data for nearly 20 years, Earth NetworksSM is Taking the Pulse of the Planet with the world’s largest weather observation, lightning detection, and greenhouse gas monitoring networks and is establishing a network for collecting data within the planetary boundary layer. The company’s popular WeatherBug® website, desktop application and mobile apps for major smartphone platforms provide real-time neighborhood-level weather and advanced severe weather alerts to millions of consumers. Enterprise solutions from Earth Networks enable organizations and markets, including energy and utilities, agriculture, schools, sports and recreation, emergency operations and government entities, to safeguard lives, prepare for weather and climate events and improve business operations. Founded in 1993, Earth Networks (www.earthnetworks.com) is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with additional locations in Mountain View, Calif.; New York, NY; Milan, Italy and a local presence in 50 countries worldwide.

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