Posted at: 07/24/2013 9:09 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4
New Mexico has the unfortunate distinction of having nearly two deaths per million people due to lightning strikes. That's the highest in the country. So when people are enjoying outdoor events in Albuquerque, is there a plan to protect them?
Outdoor venues, such as Balloon Fiesta Park, are extremely vulnerable to lightning storms due to lack of shelters.
Balloon Fiesta Park hosted the Freedom 4th a few weeks, which was the same day as a very strong thunderstorm rolled through Albuquerque, producing plenty of lightning. Is there a weather safety protocol during such events?
Paul Hysa, Parks and Rec Marketing Manager for the City of Albuquerque, says yes, at least for Balloon Fiesta.
"Our park management will blow a horn to let people know that there's lightning within a certain radius,” Hysa stated.
“If they see it, they're going to blow the horn and that'll let them know what's going on."
There are also plans for the future regarding safety. Hysa says that Balloon Fiesta Park is working on getting a system that's similar to the golf course warning system where there's a little stinger outside that picks up on the electromagnetic activity, which then sets off an alarm, and let’s everybody know that lightning is a threat.
If you would like to find out how your community can be better prepared during lightning storms, click on the below.