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May 28, 2009

New Storm Siren to be Sounded on May 29th

Inclement weather preempted the official test run for the new emergency warning siren in the city of Memphis. The siren sounded on May 13th, just weeks after installation, when a series of tornadoes hit across northeast Missouri.

The new system, which is located adjacent to the HUD housing complex on the west side of Memphis, can broadcast a series of audible messages in addition to the standard warning siren.

Scotland County Emergency Management Director Bryan Whitney stated that a number of citizens were confused by these messages, following the storm warnings earlier this month, prompting this system wide test on May 29th.

The new system will announce “Tornado Warning” or “Siren Test Only” when the siren is initially sounded. When the emergency or the test has completed, the siren will again sound with a message stating “All Clear”.

Whitney said, for example in a time of emergency, the siren will sound three times, with the audible message “Tornado Warning” played three times. Once the storm has passed, the siren will again sound with the “All Clear” message played three times.

“We hope this test will clear up any confusion citizens may have experienced after last week’s storm,” Whitney said.

He did note however that the first run of the system produced positive results, with a number of area residents reporting receiving the warning in areas that were not normally reached by the city’s other warning siren.

The May 29th test will begin at 10:00 a.m. It will last approximately eight minutes. The new system allows the warning signals to be controlled from the dispatch center.

Whitney indicated the test would be postponed if the area is experiencing inclement weather, which might cause the test to be misconstrued as an actual weather emergency.

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