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Silent sirens: no warning for parts of Marshall county

After last Friday's rounds of severe weather, some ABC 57 viewers wrote to our ABC 57 Weather Facebook page that they had trouble hearing the tornado sirens around the Lake of the Woods and Bremen area or didn't hear them at all. This is the same location where an EF-0 tornado was confirmed by the local National Weather Service office yesterday morning. 


At the best and when they're working properly, these sirens can only be heard from a couple miles away.

These tornado sirens, when working properly, only can be heard about 2 miles away from the source, and that's without loud thunderstorms with heavy rain, hail, and lightning getting in the way. Their activation and deployment works through a network, but different counties use different networks. 

Our Chief Meteorologist Tom Coomes wrote an article this past April as a part of our "Inside the Storm" series explaining how the standards for activating these tornado sirens change from county to county. You can see the full article right here: https://abc57.com/news/inside-the-storm-siren-standards.

Townships and cities in orange are under the Marshall County sheriff's jurisdiction. Towns in purple dots are under their own, local control.

For Marshall County, where the tornado touched down, their network is "decentralized with multiple agencies running sirens with different standards for deployment." Around the Bremen/Lake of the Woods area, that responsibility falls on the Bremen Fire Department. But, in different areas of the county, other organizations and agencies their own set of sirens. It's easy to see that it can be difficult to deploy the sirens in time of give those of you in harm's way enough of a warning.

For smartphone users, download our app! For those without smartphones, a NOAA weather radio is a great secondary option.

But, luckily in 2018, with the power of technology and smartphones, there are at least a couple of ways to get severe weather alerts when it matters, without relying on sirens. First, download our ABC 57 First Warning Neighborhood Mobile Weather App. This will give you the latest updates on our forecasts, as well as watches and warnings when severe weather rolls in, 365 days a year. But, if you are a non-smartphone user, be sure to get a NOAA weather radio. Those provide the same up-to-date information on watches and warnings and updates during severe weather as our app.

More information on how to purchase a NOAA weather radio can be found here: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/info/geninfo.html.

Video about typical siren acoustics here:

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