County tornado sirens tested statewide during Ohio Severe Weather Awareness Week


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Tornado sirens were sounded statewide Wednesday morning at 9:50, part of the annual Ohio Severe Weather Awareness Week focus on storm safety.

Jeff Young, director of Franklin County Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security, said all but one of the county’s sirens tested successfully during the three-minute operation, which is the normal sequence during a tornado warning.

In 2007, the National Weather Service (NWS) adopted Storm Based Warnings for tornadoes and other severe weather hazards that specify portions within a county that will be directly affected by as severe storm. The goal is to improve quality and accuracy and to avoid over-warning, which could result in complacency in an event.

“Sound travels and there’s always bleed-over between counties, between quadrants,” Young acknowledged, which has not proved to be a concern, given the potential severity of a broadly rotating cell embedded in a line of severe thunderstorms.

“We had over a 99 percent fully functional rate” in Franklin County during this morning’s three-minute test, Young said. Only one siren malfunctioned and he said that will be remedied by Thursday afternoon, with storms expected in the evening.

A reminder: Tornado sirens are designed for outdoor use within a few miles, which means if you are sleeping, or in rural areas with spotty coverage, you may not hear the siren during a tornado warning. This is why downloading the Storm Team 4 Weather App and activating weather alerts on your cellphone are essential year-round.

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