Sunday Story: Tornado Sirens

Your workweek forecast.


I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday! After these early morning showers move out, we should be in good shape the rest of the day. Expect a high near 70 with partly cloudy skies.

This week’s Sunday story deals with tornado sirens. We won’t be hearing those anytime soon, thank goodness. Still, we need to be aware of the shortfalls of these sirens.


Severe weather has already led to a lot of damage and injuries this spring in the U.S., and there are always those who claim they didn’t get the warning. With today’s technology, warnings are easier than ever to receive.

One issue that tends to cause headaches for forecasters is the use of outdoor air raid sirens, also known as tornado sirens. These systems are meant to be sounded only during a tornado warning and are only intended to be heard by those who are outside. The sounding of the siren means to take cover, because severe weather is imminent.

Arguably, these systems hurt more people than they help, and there is research to back that up. People mistakenly believe they can depend on the siren to sound, though that often depends on an individual to sound the siren.   

Pouring rain, wind, and hail can make the siren difficult to hear. You should never rely on a tornado siren alone for your warnings.

In fact, none of us should rely on one single way of getting our warnings. Have a NOAA weather radio. You can program it to only sound if a warning is issued for your county or surrounding counties. Also, have a reliable weather app. There are plenty on the market.

Perhaps the best way to stay safe is to stay aware. Check the forecast and know when severe weather is expected. Significant severe weather can be forecast days in advance.

Finally, have a plan. Know what you would do and where you would go if a warning is issued, before a warning is issued.  Being prepared for the storm will keep you safe in the storm.

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