Weatherford Democrat

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May 17, 2013

Do outdoor sirens work?

That is a question city officials are asking after Wednesday’s North Texas tornado outbreak

(Continued)

Blaisdell said the system will be looked at and a reason determined for the failure.

Manning was a little closer to the Granbury tornado than most, as he was on the phone with his daughter, who lives in Granbury, when the tornado there hit.

“We were talking and she looks up and sees the cloud rotating,” Manning said. “She goes in the house and sees the tornado touch down on the other side of the lake there,”

Emergency preparedness is something the city departments, in coordination with the county, look at from time to time. He said Wednesday’s tornado allowed the city about 15 minutes to prepare, but even preparation time is no guarantee in any storm.

“We positioned units all over town so we could be ready, but there was no way of knowing where or if it was going to hit,” Manning said. “Fortunately, we were able to dodge the bullet.”

Manning said reactions to early warning are really human nature.

“With any kind of early warning system, human reaction is to go outside and see what’s going on if we can’t see it directly,” Manning said. “If we’re not hearing anything we associate with a storm, we go outside and look to see what the danger is.”

Departments and entities must deal with such things as home construction, which is different than they were 30 years ago.

“It’s a comfort to know the sirens are there but with the way houses are insulated and structurally sounder today, you may not hear them,” Manning said. “We seal up our homes so we can’t hear the air conditioner outside or the dogs barking, so the chances of hearing a siren aren’t as great as they were years ago.”

Manning said dealing with weather in which you may or may not have a warning is something that departments contend with and will continue to deal with.

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