Tighter Link for Weather and GPS Avoiding 'Lightnin' Strikes'

By Peter Bernstein July 19, 2012

For those of us in the United States this has been a summer of amazing weather extremes — severe drought over much of the country that is threatening crops, record heat in general and horrific thunderstorms. Driving through a torrential storm last night it struck me (pardon the pun) that it would be great if there was tighter linkage between my trusted GPS system and real-time and real close weather information.

The challenge/opportunity

In the midst of the storm I was attempting to safely navigate news came over the radio that radar in the New York metro area was recording up to 500 lightening strikes per minute. While this was a fact I could confirm by looking out the window, reality was that I had route choices to make. Should I take the fastest route over an old parkway that has a significant canopy of very old trees? Or should I go on a little longer route on an Interstate with no trees? I opted for the latter. The reason was the memory of a report only a few weeks ago that during similar violent weather event the driver of a car on my contemplated route was killed by a falling tree that had suffered a direct lightening hit.

In retrospect, it would have been great if weather information about the location and severity of lightening in the area could have been integrated into my GPS system which could have automatically warned me of the danger that loomed ahead and altered my route.

With the seemingly unlimited number of weather and location-based apps out there I looked for something that could do what I think many of us who live in densely foliated areas would deeply appreciate, i.e., as the popular Rolling Stones hit says, “Give Me Shelter.” Such an app may exist but I could not find it. If it does, particularly for an Android device, please let me know.

I will go a step further. Unlike most of the weather and GPS-based apps which are free, my suspicion is that people would actually be willing to pay for such an app. I realize that having been almost struck by lightning two times in my life, my desire not to make the third time the charm has me probably a bit more paranoid about such things than many of you.

However, as my experience demonstrates, being in an automobile, considered a safe place during electrical storms, may be good protection from a direct lightning strike but it is not protection from the collateral damage of being near an object that has been struck. 


I like being well-grounded not just to personally avoid electrical hazards of all types, but to also have the information I need to make good decisions. As the 1966 hit song “Lightnin’ Strikes” from Lou Christie intones in the embedded video I would like to avoid, “lightning striking, again and again and again.”

Any help would be greatly appreciated.




Edited by Braden Becker
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

For True Cybersecurity, Executives Must Become Hands-On

By: Special Guest    4/21/2017

Data security is so important that mishandling it can spell disaster for an enterprise. It is a potentially ruinous mistake for executives with non-te…

Read More

Facebook's Latest VR Cameras Offer New Freedom

By: Steve Anderson    4/21/2017

Two new VR cameras from Facebook, of all places, add an impressive new level of freedom for users to shoot video.

Read More

Facebook Working on Shocking New Interfaces

By: Steve Anderson    4/20/2017

A brain-computer interface? It may be coming soon from Facebook.

Read More

A Time Traveling Telescope? VR Makes it Happen

By: Steve Anderson    4/20/2017

With a new virtual reality based telescope, users can see back in time, in this case to the Seine in Paris in 1628.

Read More

Ex-Microsoft Execs Extend Bill Gates' Vision for a Better LinkedIn- One That Pays You

By: Rob Enderle    4/17/2017

One of the most interesting announcements last week was for a new service called Nextio (sounds like 'next to you'). This takes an idea that I first h…

Read More