Lightning, Field, Idaho
Credit: LisaKidd/Getty Images

It’s estimated that about 30 people die every year from lightning strikes, but one company could reduce that number to zero.

Thor Guard has developed a system that predicts lightning before it has a chance to hit the ground. Kind of.

Lightning has long been considered one of the most sporadic and unpredictable weather forces. And although Thor Guard’s system can not tell users exactly when and where lightning is going to strike, it sends alerts every time it determines that an area is at an immediate risk for a lightning strike.

The system is also able to predict the “out of the blue” deadly lightning strikes that occur seemingly out of nowhere, when there’s not a cloud in the sky.

By measuring electrostatic charges in the atmosphere and ground, the technology can tell when conditions within the surrounding miles are ripe for a lightning strike. The system then can either flash a bright light or issue a loud siren to warn people to seek shelter.

But Thor Guard says it is also perfecting a system that could be used to predict tornadoes. Tornadoes also create an unusual electrostatic pattern as they approach. Thor Guard’s system might one day be able to detect tornadoes when they're still 10 miles away, and not fully formed.

The implications of the system are wide-reaching for both companies and consumers. The system is currently used by airlines (including American, Delta, Air Canada and United), national parks, public universities, and more. By using this technology, not only can companies keep their customers safe, they can eliminate unnecessary closures by only cancelling when dangerous conditions are approaching.