Weatherford Independent School District

Weatherford ISD campuses and offices will be closed November 19-23, 2018 for the Thanksgiving Break. Classes resume on Monday, November 26.
Safety and Security » Severe Weather Information

Severe Weather Information

LIGHTNING ALERTS  

 

The following plan is based upon information from the National Weather Service and National Athletic Trainers Association

 

Weatherford ISD utilizes a district online weather notification system as well as other weather outlets when evaluating weather conditions. The district shall use the following criteria when evaluating lightning conditions:

 

Lightning Indicators

Strikes with 15-30 mile radius of facility

Advisory

Outside Activity Allowed

Strikes within 10-15 miles radius of facility

Caution

Outside Activity Allowed

Strikes with 0-10 mile radius of facility

Warning

No Outside Activity

 

Warning “All Clear” Guidance – based on information from online weather notification system

During Day

Clear for activity 30 minutes after last lightning strike

At Dismissal

Bus and car riders - Clear for dismissal 30 minutes after last lightning strike

Walkers – Clear for dismissal 30 minutes after last lightning strike

 

 

Lightning Advisory / Lightning Caution

 

Indicates lightning has occurred within a 10 - 30 mile radius of a campus or district area, and the potential exists for the storm to move closer to the area. The Advisory or Caution will stay in effect until the threat of lightning is no longer within indicated range.

 

When an Advisory or Caution is issued during the school day, the following shall occur on the campus:

  • Notice by office staff shall be issued to all staff members with students outside (playground, PE and athletic fields, ag barn, band marching field, and other learning areas) that an Advisory or Caution notice has been issued.
  • Plans should be made to bring students into safe shelter if the alert goes to a warning
  • Admin and specified teachers for the campus should receive a text message from the Perry Weather program. The text will say: “Lightning within the Advisory or Caution Range.”

 

Students and staff are allowed to stay outside in their activity during an Advisory or Caution.

  • Campus administrators may choose to move students and staff indoors during an advisory notice.
  • Athletic trainers and head coaches may choose to move students and coaching staff indoors during an advisory notice.

 

Lightning Warning

 

Indicates lightning is now moving within 0-10 miles of a campus or district area.

                   

When a warning is issued during the school day the following shall occur on the campus:

  • Notice by office staff will be issued to all staff members with students outside (playground, PE and athletic fields, ag barn, band marching field, and other learning areas) to immediately move all students and staff into safe shelter until the warning has been removed.
  • Organizations that conduct outside activities before and/or after school hours will immediately move into safe shelter until the warning has been removed.
  • Admin for the campus should receive a text message from the Perry Weather Program. The text will say “Lightning within the Warning Range.”
  • Admin will hold staff and students inside until given the “All Clear” from the Perry Weather Program or the Director of Safety and Security or district level administrator. The warning will stay in effect until the threat of lightning has moved outside the 10 mile range and there have been no lightning strikes for 30 continuous minutes.

 

If a warning occurs at the end of the school day, each campus under the warning shall adhere to the follow procedures until the warning has been lifted:

 

  • Keep all staff and students in the building.
  • In the event that we need to shelter in place for dismissal, an announcement should be made over the intercom.
  • Teachers need to hold their students in the classroom and not allow students to leave the school building.
  • Buses will be held at the campus and students shall not be loaded onto them.
    • If buses have been loaded, have students remain on buses. Do not attempt to move them inside where they would be out in the weather
  • If parents walk up to the door, bring them into the building. Inform them that, “The campus is under a lightning warning and it is not safe to be walking outside at this time. Students are not being released until the warning has been lifted.”
  • If a parent requests their child be released to them and campus staff has gone over all the information with the parent/guardian, the student should be released to them.
  • The warning will stay in effect until the threat of lightning has moved outside the 10 mile range and there have been no lightning strikes for 30 continuous minutes.
  • The district Communications Department will produce emergency SchoolMessenger callouts for parents and guardians when a warning occurs that will delay dismissal. The message will be sent to all families in the district due to impact of bus service, car riders, and students who walk.
    • The initial message will detail the lightning warning, the affected campus and include directions to parents at affected campus:
      • Recommendation to stay in car during warning
      • May walk in to pick up child if they so choose.
      • Buses will be delayed
    • Final message – notify parents that warning has been lifted.
      • Minutes buses will be delayed
  • The Director of Safety and Security or EDSS will work with Director of Transportation if bus routes will be impacted by a delayed release from school.
  • The same 30 minutes “All Clear” warning requirements will apply to all bus operations (unloading and loading of children at the beginning and the conclusion of a school day).
 
The Director of Safety and Security or district Admin will be in communication with a meteorologist as necessary and utilize multiple weather sources to obtain and disperse current information to campus and District administrators.


Lightning Information


What is lightning?

Lightning is a giant spark of electricity in the atmosphere between clouds, the air, or the ground. In the early stages of development, air acts as an insulator between the positive and negative charges in the cloud and between the cloud and the ground. When the opposite charges builds up enough, this insulating capacity of the air breaks down and there is a rapid discharge of electricity that we know as lightning. The flash of lightning temporarily equalizes the charged regions in the atmosphere until the opposite charges build up again.


Where does lightning strike?

Tall objects such as trees and skyscrapers are commonly struck by lightning. Mountains also make good targets. The reason for this is their tops are closer to the base of the storm cloud. Remember, the atmosphere is a good electrical insulator. The less insulation the lightning has to burn through, the easier it is for it to strike. However, this does not always mean tall objects will be struck. It all depends on where the charges accumulate. Lightning can strike the ground in an open field even if the tree line is close by.


Weather Sentry
allows us to monitor both GROUND and CLOUD lightning in the notification areas. 

 

What is Ground Lightning?

 

Ground Lightning will zigzag downward in roughly 50-yard segments in a forked pattern. This stepped leader is invisible to the human eye, and shoots to the ground in less time than it takes to blink. As it nears the ground, the negatively charged stepped leader is attracted to a channel of positive charge reaching up, a streamer, normally through something tall, such as a tree, house, or telephone pole. When the oppositely-charged leader and streamer connect, a powerful electrical current begins flowing. A return stroke of bright luminosity travels about 60,000 miles per second back towards the cloud. A flash consists of one or perhaps as many as 20 return strokes. We see lightning flicker when the process rapidly repeats itself several times along the same path. The actual diameter of a lightning channel is one-to two inches.

 

What is Cloud Lightning?

 

Cloud flashes sometimes have visible channels that extend out into the air around the storm (cloud-to-air or CA), but do not strike the ground. The terms sheet lightning or intra-cloud lightning (IC) refers to lightning embedded within a cloud that lights up as a sheet of luminosity during the flash. A related term, heat lightning, is lightning or lightning-induced illumination that is too far away for thunder to be heard. Lightning can also travel from cloud-to-cloud (CC). Spider lightning refers to long, horizontally traveling flashes often seen on the underside of stratiform clouds.