Tornado siren should not be relied on as your source for weather - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Tornado siren should not be relied on as your source for weather warnings

Posted: Updated:
A tornado siren in the city of La Crosse A tornado siren in the city of La Crosse
La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -  When the siren sounds, a dangerous storm is approaching the area. National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Todd Shea says "most people may only have a minute or two." It is time to take shelter, and it may be too late if you don't already have a plan.

 La Crosse Emergency Management Coordinator Keith Butler says "it's better to be prepared, so you should be monitoring weather forecasts long in advance. So, if they tell you 2 to 3 days out that severe weather is possible, you should already be taking those precautions, and making sure you have some way of being alerted."    

 Those sirens might not be the best way to receive your warning.

 Butler says, "you're not likely to hear it inside a building, and that's not what they're intended to do. Sirens are only intended to be an outdoor warning. Inside your home, you need another source to receive the alert.

 Shea adds, "there's so many different ways for people to just keep up on the weather and that's really the main story, I think, is find a good source of weather information you trust and utilize it."

As for the best way to receive a warning, Butler says, "certainly local radio stations, local television station is where you're going to get the local information that's specific for where you are- that's the best source. if you don't watch television all night long, you don't have a radio on, the next thing you could do, possibly, is have a national weather service alert radio just in your house. They're great little devices, they just sit there; they don't make a sound unless there's an alarm."

 In addition to all these sources, if you live in Onalaska where there aren't any sirens, you can sign up for their Code Red program.

 Onalaska Fire Chief Don Dominick describes the code red system. "We have prerecorded messages, to save time, to get the message for tornado warnings to our residents." Code Red can quickly call everyone on the list, and you can sign up for it online.

 The best way to make sure you receive a warning, you should make sure you have access to multiple warning sources. Now that you know how you're receiving the warning, it's time to make sure you know what to do. Butler says that "everybody should at least be doing something to dust off those plans, go over that with your family: if a tornado happens in our neighborhood, what room are we going to go to, what are we going to do to take shelter, and how are we going to get information?"

With this being severe weather awareness week, it is the perfect time to make those plans to make sure your family is storm ready when the warning sounds.

Powered by Frankly