Why sirens were silent

Local News

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — There’s now more information about why storm sirens weren’t sounded as two tornadoes touched down this weekend. Both were rated EF 0; the weakest category.

Despite the ranking, homes were damaged and trees uprooted in the Copper Ridge neighborhood. Tuesday, the county was asked about its policy for sounding the sirens.

Officials say they’re activated if one of three things happen:

  1. A storm spotter sees a tornado
  2. A tornado is confirmed on radar
  3. There are significant damage reports leading up to the area

The county’s EMA coordinator says Sunday, spotters didn’t see the funnel cloud and NWS stated radar didn’t indicate there were any.

Sheriff Dan Walsh oversees the EMA. He released this statement, in part:

When we sound the sirens, we want people to take immediate shelter. If we being using sirens any time storm conditions are such that a tornado could develop (as opposed to when there is an actual tornado), I believe it is likely the public will soon begin to ignore the warning.

Walsh says county officials are reviewing what happened and will talk with meteorologists to determine if the siren procedure needs to be changed.

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