Miss. residents learn the hard way not to rely on tornado sirens

People in Tupelo, Miss. are up in arms about the fact that they didn’t hear tornado sirens when a an EF-3 tornado hit that town Monday, April 28. As a news story on a TV station’s website indicates, there’s some controversy over whether the siren system worked right.

One of the best quotes in that story comes from Mississippi State Climatologist Michael Brown: “Tupelo learned a good lesson – that you shouldn’t rely on sirens.”

As frequent readers of this blog know, I’ve been beating that drum as well. Today, I found a PDF file online that shows graphically how much of Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana are not covered by tornado sirens. These dead spots are places where you might not to hear a siren, even if you’re outdoors and even if all the sirens activate properly. A reduced version of that map appears below.

So, don’t rely on tornado sirens. A tornado could be bearing down on your house and you might never hear a siren. There are plenty of other ways to be warned and I think the best is a weather alert radio. These devices are available at a discount right now at several retail stores in the Fort Wayne area, including Walgreens. If you don’t have one, get one. Program it to remain silent unless a warning includes your county. Put it someplace in your house where it will wake you if an alert goes out. Put fresh batteries in it every six months, so it will wake you even if a storm takes out your power. And above all,
stop relying on outdoor warning sirens!
If you have friends or family members who don’t yet have a weather alert radio, please use the sharing buttons below to share this post via Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Allen County, Indiana outdoor warning siren coverage map
Outdoor warning siren coverage map for Allen County, Indiana (see a full-size map as a PDF file). If you are not in one of the colored circles, you might not hear anything when the county activates the siren system. Even inside a circle, you might not hear a siren unless you are outdoors. That’s why you must have another means of knowing about weather dangers.