By Deb Patterson
Misconceptions of a severe weather or tornado siren still abound in the area and was brought to light Monday evening, May 27, when those sirens were activated in various communities, including Syracuse.
The biggest misconception is when the siren ceases to sound, the threat is over. This is far from the truth.
“The warning does not end when the three-minute activation is over. The amount of time before the warning is over can vary widely, dependent upon the size of the storm,” stated Turkey Creek Fire Territory Chief Mickey Scott.
Each community in the area has its own severe weather sirens or tornado warning sirens. North Webster and Syracuse are activated by members of the local fire department. While Milford’s warning system can be activated by fire officials, it can also be activated by Kosciusko County’s central dispatch.
These sirens, while sounding the same as when activated for fire calls, are much different in length. In the case of a tornado warning, the sirens are activated for three minutes — either a solid three-minute siren, or three one-minute sirens.
These sirens are activated when notification is received by the National Weather Service of a tornado warning. But according to Scott and Sarah Lancaster, director of Kosciusko 911 Communications, notification from NWS is just one of multiple sources that could result in the warning sirens to be activated.
While the May 27 tornado warning was primarily directed more for the southern portion of the county, Turkey Creek Fire Territory activated its storm warning system. “The sirens were activated Monday evening (May 27) due to the fact that there was a tornado warning issued for Kosciusko County, as well as a second storm system that was tracking east along US 6. We were between two very active systems that had the potential to very easily result in a tornado in our area,” stated Scott.
There are various means for the general public to obtain weather-related information such as a weather radio and numerous free cellphone apps, including a NOAA Weather app.