SA Weather Services assures residents accurate Lightning Detection Network in place

SEPTEMBER 16, 2015

Following reports that a house in St Francis Bay was gutted by fire after it was hit by lightning during an electrical storm early on Tuesday morning, the Port Elizabeth office of the SA Weather Services has released a statement assuring residents that it has systems in place to monitors all lightning activity in the country.

"The SAWS monitors lightning 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for the whole country, via the Lightning Detection Network," Garth Sampson, spokesperson at SA Weather in the Eastern Cape, said in the statement.

"We investigated the lightning strike at St Francis Bay yesterday morning, which caused a reported R6 million damage to a house. We always like to evaluate our systems to verify its accuracy."

He said that the SA Weather Services' Lightning Detection Network specifications claims accuracy up to 500 metres.

"We must note that Google co-ordinates are not 100% accurate, for a variety of reasons. As can be seen in pictures below, Google puts the house slightly off its position," he said.

"Be that as it may, the close up picture shows the strike on the said houses back garden.

"If one measures the distance from strike to middle of house, it is let than 25 m."

Samson said that this is 100% accurate by any measure.

"For anyone requiring Lightning Reports for insurance or other purposes contact the SAWS.

"The address for the Eastern Cape is [email protected] or [email protected] for other regions," he said.

Main Image: The house that was struck by lightning in St Francis Bay. Photo: Nevil Hulett via St Francis Chronicle.