Damage in Hollister from a May 29 storm that triggered the use of Outdoor Warning Sirens. The sirens are a welcome technology to inform individuals who, otherwise, could be caught outside during dangerous conditions.

Shortly after storms hit the Tri-Lakes area on May 29, I was with someone who thought a tornado must of been in the area because a “tornado” siren sounded.

On social media, there seemed to be some similar confusion about why storm sirens sounded when there was no report of a twister.

So, in the Saturday, June 1 issue of the Branson Tri-Lakes News, we featured a story about the criteria under which the Outdoor Warning Sirens, as they are correctly called, are activated.

The story, “To siren or not to siren? Fire chief discusses use of storm warning sirens,” can be found on our website, or in the June 1 print edition. In short, about two years ago, several agencies got together and came up with some guidelines that would be consistent across communities. As a result, the sirens are sounded if there is severe weather, a tornado, or life-threatening winds of 70 mph.

So there it is. If you hear the sirens, there is a good chance of some life-threatening weather. Maybe that’s a tornado, or maybe that’s 70 mph winds, or otherwise dangerous conditions.

Most of us might be indoors and have a good chance of being notified of severe weather through various media. However, the Outdoor Warning Sirens are for those people who are outside and might otherwise miss such a warning.

The advice is, if you are outside and you hear a siren, get inside and get information.

These sirens are a welcome technology. It makes sense that they should not be limited to tornadoes. We all know that when it comes to severe weather, a tornado is only one possible deadly threat.

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