Cape Coral to discuss installing lightning detectors


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Cape Coral to discuss installing lightning detectors

By Sara Belsole. CREATED Aug 10, 2014

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Eight-year-old Sophia Kerns practices her shooting skills at the Pelican Soccer Complex in Cape Coral.

Although it's a beautiful day, her dad knows things can change in an instant.

"This is the time of year when we have storms and the rains," Todd Kerns, Sophia's dad said.

And that means the threat of lightning.

"Obviously this is one of the largest lightning capitals in the world," Kerns said. "We have so many lightning strikes here."

Southwest Florida has seen three deadly lightning strikes in the last three years. Last month, Scott Wilcox was killed when he and two other were struck on Fort Myers Beach. Teens Chelsea Gill and Zac Lataweic were injured. Lataweic was released from the hospital after spending more than two weeks fighting for his life.

Last year, 35-year-old Robert Wiley was struck and killed while working on a Golden Gate Estates construction site. 

Almost two years ago, 11-year-old Jessie Watlington was struck and killed during football practice for Southwest Florida Christian Academy in Fort Myers.

Although none of the recent lightning strike deaths happened in Cape Coral, Cape city leaders plan to discuss installing lightning detectors in city parks at Monday's meeting.

Beach goers at the Cape Coral Yacht Club say they think it's a good idea.

"If we are having lightning and people are in the water, at least we would know to get out and be safe," Christine Sprauge said.

And if lightning detectors mean helping kids stay safe, parents say they think it's a great use of their tax dollars.

"I don't think you can put a price on safety not just for my kid but all the kids," Kerns said.

All Lee County schools have lightning detectors and last year the City of Fort Myers voted to install lightning detectors in three city parks.

Fort Myers Beach Town Council is also discussing the detectors.