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The Way We Live Now: Black Flags Coming to BA Beaches

By | [email protected] | December 10, 2014 8:31pm

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Remember the beachgoers who died last January in Villa Gesell after being struck by lightning during a summer storm?

Well, earlier today the Buenos Aires provincial government confirmed a measure to which will put up black flags on the province’s Atlantic Coast beaches to act as a thunderstorm warning. When the flags are on display, the beaches are to be evacuated pronto.

Although this may sound like something off a bad pirate movie, government officials say the measures will improve both the “communication and prevention” of lightening damage. The procedure will work alongside the National Weather Service to give early warning and whip up some contingency measures.

The Service will also be collaborating with the Civil Defense and nearby towns to give fair warning to the local area. It makes use of some swanky shock sensors which monitor the distance of lightening strikes and send out alarms using either visual or auditory signals.

The new resolution is a belated reaction to the storm disaster from last January on the Afrika beach in Villa Gesell. So… better late than never?

Although, according to eyewitnesses, no one was in the water at the time the lightening struck, the storm left four dead between the ages of 17 and 20, and another 21 injured, including a 7 year-old girl.

Hugo Bilbao, Executive Director of the Provincial Organization for Sustainable Development (OPDS), suspects the recent storm activity (this summer has already seen freak rainfall, thunderstorms and floods) owes just a little something to global warming. He argues that it is because of “climate change, which has come to stay, that Daniel Scioli [the province governor] is urging us to make decisions in order to adapt society to these new situations.”

Bilbao has assured us that “this resolution has a scientific basis brought to us by the greatest experts in the country, many of them of great international renown,” and hopes to show off the new procedure with regards to this week’s UN climate change summit (COP20) which is taking place at Lima, Peru.

With increased communication between local communities and provincial organizations, as well as some new gadgets, the Buenos Aires government hopes that the latest addition to their warning flag repertoire will actually save lives.