As of Friday, July 22, the majority of Wilton athletic fields and Merwin Meadows Park will have an extra layer of protection for residents. With the exception of Miller-Driscoll fields (217 Wolfpit Rd.), Gilbert & Bennett Fields (49 New St.) and Post Field (34 Whipple Rd.), all other town athletic fields and Merwin Meadows will be equipped with an Earth Networks lightning detection system to assist with the protection of players, coaches, spectators and visitors. A list of athletic fields is available online.
Anyone using a Wilton field or Merwin Meadows Park is asked to note the location of the detection device. When lightning is detected within 10 miles of a field or Merwin Meadows Park:
• A strobe light will be activated and remain on
• A horn will blast for 15 seconds
• A 30-minute countdown clock to resume operations will activate. The countdown clock will automatically reset if additional lightning is detected.
When the detection system signals the alerts for lightning, all individuals must leave the field or park immediately and take cover. Failure to leave will result in the future loss of field use.
Individuals may return to the field/Merwin Meadows Park once the strobe light has shut off and the horn blasts three times for five seconds each.
The status of the lightning detection system for fields, with a detection system, and Merwin Meadows Park is viewable online.
Town officials said in a press release that the Earth Networks lightning detection system helps “assess the threat for lightning.” They also caution that neither the warning nor the system is intended to guarantee that conditions are safe. If the weather is threatening and no warning signal is heard or seen, residents are asked to use good judgment and clear the field immediately. Do not wait for the warning signal to activate, as the system can malfunction. “No system is infallible, common sense should still be followed,” according to the press release.