Evendale, Ohio—18 year old Brent Newman has a rare ability that some residents are calling “a gift from God.” It started towards the end of last summer, locals claim, when Newman detected thunder for three straight days though forecasters hadn’t called for severe weather. When management checked the radar online, there wasn’t a blip on the map.
After each, incident, the pool was cleared of swimmers as a precautionary measure. This uncanny ear for danger continued into this summer.
“I had just gotten in to swim laps about 45 minutes before closing. After I dove in, I heard the long whistle that signals patrons to empty the pool. The thunder must have rumbled when I was under water,” swimmer Jason Berger said. “I wouldn’t have known there was severe weather if it weren’t for him.”
The National Lightning Safety Institute recommends that swimmers wait to re-enter the water 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder or visible flash of lightning. Evendale Pool follows this recommendation, even if the storm isn’t directly overhead.
“It could be a clear sunny day, and I’ll bring my kids to the pool, and all of a sudden, I see him blowing his whistle,” says resident Amy Mitchell, “Right when the pool is most crowded.”
When asked about the existence of thunder and lightning on otherwise cloudless skies, Newman told our reporter, “I don’t know. Crazy right? I saw this show on cable about a dude who got struck by lightning from a mile away even though it was sunny where he was. Goes to show you, you know?”
Dr. Janine Reynolds, an Audiologist at the University of Cincinnati, has her doubts: “It’s rare to find a person who can regularly hear such low sounds imperceptible to other humans, especially with such consistency and in these conditions.”
Lifeguards on staff, however, expressed their appreciation for and their belief in their co-workers keen senses.
“Man, he’s a freaking legend,” lifeguard PJ Barrett said, “That’s all I’ll say about that.”
At the time of publication, Evendale Pool has had 50 distinct severe-weather related closures this summer alone, 45 of which happened during Newman’s shift. Other pools in the area have only had ten.
Pool management has not responded to requests for comment.