When to sound tornado sirens

By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) - Thursday night Region 8 got a taste of weather that we haven't seen in quite some time. Although warnings were issued, no tornadoes ever touched the ground. However, the question remains as to why sirens weren't sounded all throughout Craighead County.

Some locations didn't hear the sirens due to the storms location and the way the National Weather Service issues warnings.

In October 2007 the National Weather Service implemented storm based warnings. They were designed to zero in on an area that would be impacted by the storm, rather than warn the entire county.

That was the case Thursday night when a tornado warning was issued and Bono residents did hear the tornado sirens.

Mayor Billy Stephens said it's because they wanted to give the citizens plenty of warning. But what is the protocol for sounding the alarm?

Stephens said, "We look like I say for the warnings to come out, but if we think we need to set them off a little before then, we will."

He said they would rather air on the side of caution than not air the sirens at all. However, if a storm is not near Bono, that's a different story.

"Normally speaking, if they are over in the eastern part we won't set them off," said Stephens.

The sirens in Jonesboro were quiet Thursday night. Office of Emergency Management Director David Moore said the sirens didn't go off for one simple reason.

"We didn't have a warning here in Jonesboro. We had a tornado warning that existed in the Bono area and going through to the county line into Greene County," said Moore.

There were strong storms moving through the Jonesboro but nothing was tornadic. So when does Jonesboro sound their sirens?

"Of course if we go under a tornado warning that's automatic. We need to send it out. Also we've got Craighead County Skywarn that's out there watching us all the time and relaying information back to my office," said Moore.

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