While it's often the case that those who attend sporting events can be caught off guard at times by fast-moving storm systems that are able unleash dangerous lightning, that's not an issue in the slightest for those taking in an event held at the Strider Field Complex.
Armed with a lightning detector, a device that can detect over a wide radius lightning produced by thunderstorms, officials at football, baseball, softball, soccer or, as was the case on Friday, track, are well-aware of what's on the horizon well before any of it is visible.
The device is able to calculate both the direction, and severity of lightning; allowing spectators and athletes to find shelter before the danger rolls in.
The lightning detector near Strider Field sent out plenty of alerts, which led to the cancellation of the event. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Rob Tucker
In fact, it was that lightning detector, which is located on the lower concession stand roof (near the soccer and baseball fields) at the Strider Field Complex, that was used to help Jamestown track and field coach Steve Sipior with his decision to cancel this year's edition of the Joseph Paterniti Memorial Track & Field Classic.
"We knew that if we couldn't start the meet by 5:30 p.m., then we were sunk," he said. "And I believe it was 5 when we got another bit of thunder."
That's when the detector sound once again, forcing a 30-minute delay (each time the alarm sounds the 30-minute countdown restarts), and by then, it was too late to get started.
And while the cancellation of the event was disappointing - this was the second time in the past three years that it was called due to lightning - Sipior is glad to have the device handy.
"It keeps the kids safe," he said. "It detects lightning from far away, and the district invested in it with the safety of the the kids in mind. It's necessary."