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Glen Ellyn parks deactivate unreliable lightning prediction system

Published: Saturday, June 8, 2013 7:20 p.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, June 9, 2013 10:55 p.m. CDT

GLEN ELLYN – The Glen Ellyn Park District has discontinued the use of its lightning prediction system at five parks due to unreliability, according to an announcement from park district officials.

The park district has experienced operational and technical challenges with the system, prompting its discontinuation at Ackerman Park, Village Green Park, Newton Park, Main Street Recreation Center and Lake Ellyn. The system will continue to be used at Sunset Pool and Maryknoll Park, where the same challenges have not occurred, officials said.

Physical impediments at some locations have affected the Thor Guard system's accuracy in predicting potential lightning, officials said. For example, the high electrical wires and property elevation at Ackerman Park are believed to have caused false readings and activations.

Officials also said the system uses outdated technology, with limited technical support.

The decision to end use of the system in certain locations also was influenced by the park district's desire not to provide the public with a false sense of security in the system, officials said.

With the discontinuation of the Thor Guard system, the park district is working with its various user groups, rentals and affiliates to address severe weather situations, officials said. The district's severe weather procedure is available online at www.gepark.org/par_SevereStormPolicy.html.

The park district also is exploring other lightning prediction systems for potential use at its parks, officials said.

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