Warning siren use explained

Were you suprised by the sounding of the county’s outdoor warning sirens yesterday given that no tornado was being forecast?

The Emergency Management division of the Sheriff’s Department has found itself explaining that a lot today. Here’s the explanation offered by Sgt. Bill Beth, KCSD public information officer.

Outdoor warning sirens are activated for three conditions : 1) A tornado has been sighted by trained spotter/law enforcement 2) The National Weather Service sees rotation and believes the formation of a tornado is highly possible and/or 3) Severe Thunderstorm Warning with Hurricane Force Winds (winds at or in excess of 74 mph).

Yesterday, we had a situation of Severe Thunderstorms with winds in excess of 74 mph. The sirens are re-activated if there is an extension of the warning.

The sirens are not only used for tornadoes. If anyone is thinking that the sirens should not have been used yesterday because there were no tornado warnings, they are not fully understanding the use of the sirens.



  1. Kelly Powell says:

    We were glad they were used! It is good to use them so people know you are supposed to take shelter. If they were not used and someone “claimed” to get hurt because of it the Sheriff’s Department wouldn’t have heard the end of that either.
    Thank you for sounding the sirens.

  2. If someone with knowledge that I says:

    If someone with knowledge that I dont have, decides to communicate with me via the siren to batten down the hatches (not only to protect not those things but the items they could fly into), move the family and animals to safety and to prepare for a multiple day period without water, electricity, and other ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY ITEMS, I will TAKE THAT KNOWLEDGE.
    It could be for a tornado, high winds or any severe storm or emergency.
    I know that I would have had broken glass on my home from items left out after a day on the deck if the siren hadnt sounded and I acted by cleaning up the loose items. I had the candles out and water bottled where i could get it at easily. It took a small amount of time but would have been a GodSend if we had had to use it any of it. Beth and the County Emergency Officers were right on.

    There were lots of Fire and EMS sirens too. Thank you to all of those folks who left their homes and family to be of service to others. I dont know about you’all but winds by my house were treacherous. I would not have been comfortable outside. There was a lot of crashing about and trees bent severely. People we know left safety for the unknown.

    There are people in this world who would have loved to have had 10 minutes or more notice of emergencies in their hometowns. We should be glad to have the sirens and glad to have the people manning the desks where the information is compiled and decisions are made. Good Decision!

  3. jak says:

    Tornado warning should be reserved for just that.

    The NWS estimated these winds to be hurricaine force. They were not.

    Next time, people will ignore the warning thinking it’s just wind when in fact it will be a tornado.

    Could do w/o the pompous attitude of our police officials as well.

    BTW, I am trained weather spotter and there is widespread disagreement on the use of this criteria.

    But, hey, I am just a dumb taxpayer.

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