Clinton County Outdoor Warning Sirens
June 23, 2014
Officials in Clinton County are trying to clear up confusion about why residents didn't receive warnings before last week's severe thunderstorms. The wind and rain uprooted trees and destroyed farm equipment. Chance Kness, Clinton County Emergency Management Coordinator, says his team triggers outdoor warning sirens when it receives warnings for tornadoes or thunderstorms with 70 mph winds from the National Weather Service. But his agency didn't receive a report.
"We may have exceeded 70 mph winds when it happened, but we didn't know that until after the fact."
He says the agency determines its protocol by studying best practices. The team decided to sound the outdoor alarm for storms with 70 mph winds in 2009.
"We get criticized when we do sound the sirens and when we don't. And certainly, when we do find something that could be better, we adjust and change our protocols to reflect that. That's why we included 70 mph or greater winds in our protocols to reflect that, but it's not a perfect system."
Kness says it's too expensive to buy the technology that would make the sirens loud enough to be hear outside and inside, but he encourages residents to refer to weather radios and cell phones, which have up-to-date alerts.
(Photo courtesy of Clinton County Emergency Management Agency.)