Text-mail Alerts

SaskLightning runs a companion program called TSentry in addition to the NexStorm software. When thunderstorms are detected within a pre-set distance from the SaskLightning detector in Saskatoon, NexStorm initializes alarms. This triggers the TSentry program to send out email alerts of the approaching thunderstorm. One of these alert emails is to SaskLightning's Yahoo group.

The email alert would appear like this:

SaskLightning THUNDERSTORM ALERT Sun Sep 21 19:44:19 2008


ID:T-3785 BNG:190 RNG:66km CAT:WK SR:5 PR:15 TR:WKN

The last line of the warning gives information in short form:

ID: This is the number assigned by NexStorm for a thunderstorm being tracked. It will be the same as shown in the TRAC report.
BNG: This is the direction to the thunderstorm in degrees from the SaskLightning detector. 0 is North, 90 is East, 180 is South and 270 is West.
RNG: This is the range or distance to the centre of the thunderstorm in kilometres.
CAT: This is the storms catagory, in this case weak.
SR: The lightning Strike Rate/minute when the alert was issued.
PR: The lighting Peak Rate/minute since NexStorm first began tracking the thunderstorm.
TR: This is the trend for the storm. In this case, it is weakening.

The alert email is sent out in this format to allow as much information as possible within the 160 character limit for most text messages.

If you would like email alerts sent to you, simply join this group (SaskLightning's Yahoo group) and submit an email where you would like your alerts sent. This could include alerts sent directly to your cell phone! Always keep in mind, the SaskLightning detector is not precise and should not be used for the protection of life and property.

Not to be used for the protection of life & property

SaskLightning cannot guarantee the accuracy of the lightning detector. The accuracy of a Boltek detector is determined by many factors - placement of the detector, electromagnetic interference, distance from strokes, storm intensity, etc. Out to about 400Km, a Boltek detector is surprisingly accurate. Beyond that, it can sense direction and intensity but usually gets distance incorrect.

Seek proper shelter well in advance of approaching lightning whenever possible. It is important to remember that thunderstorms can develop quickly and with little warning. Lightning can be present in significant amounts even when NexStorm is not tracking any structured thunderstorms.

Environment Canada has a good page discussing lightning safety. A link to this page is provided under Quick Links to the left. They also have a pdf document available discussing Severe Summer Weather. I highly recommend you read that document.