Sirens Cause Confusion

9 years 5 months 3 weeks ago April 04, 2007 Apr 4, 2007 Wednesday, April 04 2007 Wednesday, April 04, 2007 5:58:43 PM CDT in News

During Tuesday's severe storms, Cole County activated its warning sirens causing many people to think a tornado was nearby. But, one sound can indicate different disasters.

Many Cole County residents were alarmed when they heard the sirens go off thinking tornadoes were in the area.

"In Wichita when the sirens go off it's serious. There's a huge wall cloud, there's rotation," said Annette Cook of Jefferson City.

But what is the case in Wichita, is not the case in Cole County.

"The sirens are not just for tornadoes. They are outdoor severe warning sirens," said Doug Shoemaker of the Jefferson City Police Department.

Police say when strong winds blew a car off the road Tuesday, the chief activated the sirens.

"Here I couldn't see any tornado warnings so I was confused about why they were going off," Cook said.

There's no statewide standard for turning on the sirens. In Randolph, Moniteau and Callaway Counties only a tornado warning will set them off. In Cole, Boone, Audrain, Cooper and Howard Counties, officials could activate them for things like severe thunderstorms.

Jefferson City is looking into a new warning system that may be able to sound different tones for different weather warnings. The police department says when there's any kind of outdoor warning sirens it's important to turn on a television or radio for more information.

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