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View Full Version : New "weather sirens" policy in Hamilton County



dougdirt
05-27-2011, 03:16 AM
I really think this is going to get someone hurt or worse.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110526/NEWS0108/105270329

Warning sirens will sound less often in Hamilton County.

Up until early Thursday, the sirens wailed automatically if there was a simultaneous tornado watch and a severe thunderstorm warning.

Now it's up to emergency management officials to decide when to sound them - the result of complaints from residents, increasing frequency of bad weather warnings, and a fear of complacency. It also puts Hamilton County's system in line with Butler and Warren counties, which have long left it to emergency officials' discretion.

"People say they don't listen because they're going off constantly,"

I want to find those people and ask them why they don't value their life or the life of others.

Yesterday a tornado ripped the roof off and destroyed the second floor of a house in Liberty Township with a person on the second level when it happened and no sirens were ever sounded. Liberty Township is in Butler County where they have a similar policy to the one just put in place in Hamilton County.

I just wanted to post this in the hopes that word can get out. I simply can't believe that they are changing the policy, but also changing it in mid-severe weather season.

reds44
05-27-2011, 03:27 AM
I really don't think it will get people hurt. That's the first county I've heard of that sounds the sirens when you have a tornado watch and t-storm warning. I know here in DeKalb County (and I'm pretty sure all counties in Illinois) they only sound if there is a tornado warning. The Hamilton policy seems like overkill.

Caveat Emperor
05-27-2011, 09:30 AM
"People say they don't listen because they're going off constantly," [/I]

I want to find those people and ask them why they don't value their life or the life of others.

They do go off too frequently -- we were just talking at work the other day about no one pays attention to them because they seem to blare whenever it starts clouding up badly. They should be emergency warnings to take shelter immediately -- not "hey, it's going to rain heavily and thunder a lot."

I think siren overuse is far more dangerous than underuse.

edabbs44
05-27-2011, 09:47 AM
Up until early Thursday, the sirens wailed automatically if there was a simultaneous tornado watch and a severe thunderstorm warning.


Is there ever a tornado watch w/o a severe thunderstorm warning?

Roy Tucker
05-27-2011, 10:09 AM
They do go off too frequently -- we were just talking at work the other day about no one pays attention to them because they seem to blare whenever it starts clouding up badly. They should be emergency warnings to take shelter immediately -- not "hey, it's going to rain heavily and thunder a lot."

I think siren overuse is far more dangerous than underuse.

Seems to be a common comment. I feel the same way.

And its even started to get that way with tornado warnings. It used to be if you heard "tornado warning", it was because someone spotted a funnel cloud, it is on the ground and it is coming your way, and you *better* seek shelter pronto.

But now its Doppler radar detected some rotation so we think there is a tornado. Where I live was in 3 separate tornado warning "boxes" this past week and nothing was ever close to us. My neighbor cut his grass through the whole warning time.

I understand the NWS being cautious and erring on the side of being safe. But the problem with that is that the words "tornado warning" have lost some of their impact now.

dougdirt
05-27-2011, 10:50 AM
Is there ever a tornado watch w/o a severe thunderstorm warning?

Absolutely.

But I still can't believe the sentiments that I am reading on the warnings. I have seen severe thunderstorms, ones that didn't produce a tornado, absolutely rip apart large trees and take off the roof of a house. Those storms deserve a warning. If you are too dumb to turn the tv on when you hear the sirens because you hear them too often, well then you can risk your own life. The fact that so many people are willing to take that chance and now my life or the life of someone I know could be further impacted because of that really bothers me. Maybe it is because when I was younger I grew up in a trailer park so the danger was always more present given the living conditions, but I would much rather be safe and prepared for what might come, than learn all too late that it already came for someone else and that it might be coming my way.

RiverRat13
05-27-2011, 11:05 AM
I have to disagree with you, Doug. I live 90 minutes north of you, but we're in a similar situation. The sirens are getting to the point of crying wolf. People are starting to tune out the sirens as they go off so frequently. I'm afraid when an actual tornado is spotted people will ignore the sirens.

dougdirt
05-27-2011, 11:44 AM
So because some people don't care much about their safety, those of us who do, have to suffer?

If some people want to continue to ignore warnings, whatever, it is their life. I like knowing that something is coming my way or even could be coming my way. I am not always in front of a tv or computer and able to see a radar map. But I could rely on hearing sirens and calling someone to ask "what is going on and where because I am out on the road and can't see everything". But now because people's time is just too precious for them to stop doing what they were doing and check out a tv/computer, I get my safety put in jeopardy? Sorry, but that rubs me the wrong way. Big time.

Brutus
05-27-2011, 11:48 AM
I am going to echo the comments that think this is a good thing.

I believe there's a lot to be learned from the parable "boy who cried wolf." I think sounding the sirens too often is far more dangerous than not sounding it enough because if you continue sounding it whenever there's a severe thunderstorm, people simply aren't going to heed the warning. What's the point of the siren if no one is going to take it seriously?

I think this is a smart policy.

edabbs44
05-27-2011, 11:50 AM
So because some people don't care much about their safety, those of us who do, have to suffer?

If some people want to continue to ignore warnings, whatever, it is their life. I like knowing that something is coming my way or even could be coming my way. I am not always in front of a tv or computer and able to see a radar map. But I could rely on hearing sirens and calling someone to ask "what is going on and where because I am out on the road and can't see everything". But now because people's time is just too precious for them to stop doing what they were doing and check out a tv/computer, I get my safety put in jeopardy? Sorry, but that rubs me the wrong way. Big time.

What do high tornado frequency areas like Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas do? They would seem to have this process pretty well established.

Caveat Emperor
05-27-2011, 12:30 PM
The fact that so many people are willing to take that chance and now my life or the life of someone I know could be further impacted because of that really bothers me. Maybe it is because when I was younger I grew up in a trailer park so the danger was always more present given the living conditions, but I would much rather be safe and prepared for what might come, than learn all too late that it already came for someone else and that it might be coming my way.

It's good public policy to have certain things which trigger a conditioned-response among the citizenry. Having sirens that blow less frequently but are heeded by 100% of the people will save more lives than sirens that blow too frequently and are ignored when real danger is present.

Unassisted
05-28-2011, 07:34 PM
I'm a trained Skywarn spotter. I've been through the training half a dozen times and I once radioed in a report that led to a tornado warning being issued for my county. If I lived in the midwest, I wouldn't trust my safety or my family's safety to tornado sirens.

Sirens are not universal and they are not perfect. In many parts of the country, they are maintained by government entities with shrinking resources, almost as an afterthought, so it's not shocking when they occasionally fail to go off. If you spend time in rural areas, someday you could find yourself in an area where there is no siren during a storm. If you're serious about protecting yourself from tornadoes, don't rely on sirens to warn you. Do these 2 things:

1. Invest in a weather alert radio with the SAME feature. You can program the radio to turn on automatically and sound an alarm for every watch and/or every warning that the weather service issues for your county and/or adjacent counties. If you don't want it to, the radio won't wake/alert you for storms that are 3 counties away.

2. Sign up for a text message alert service that sends watches and warnings to your phone. Your local TV stations may have one that's free. WeatherUnderground.com has a free service. Weather.com has a service with a monthly fee.

Between the two of these, you should never have to worry about missing a watch or warning.

jojo
05-28-2011, 07:44 PM
So because some people don't care much about their safety, those of us who do, have to suffer?

If some people want to continue to ignore warnings, whatever, it is their life. I like knowing that something is coming my way or even could be coming my way. I am not always in front of a tv or computer and able to see a radar map. But I could rely on hearing sirens and calling someone to ask "what is going on and where because I am out on the road and can't see everything". But now because people's time is just too precious for them to stop doing what they were doing and check out a tv/computer, I get my safety put in jeopardy? Sorry, but that rubs me the wrong way. Big time.

Get a good weather alert radio and you won't be left in the dark and stormy night (so to speak).