Archive for Saturday, May 24, 2008

Quick response

Officials did a good job of responding quickly to public concerns about the county’s emergency siren policy.

May 24, 2008


This is government in action. Congratulations to Douglas County officials for responding so quickly to public requests to re-examine the county's emergency siren policy. County residents registered concern about the sirens not being sounded during a storm in the early morning hours of May 2. The National Weather Service later confirmed that a tornado touched down in Douglas County during the storm.

This week, less than three weeks later, county commissioners received a recommendation from the emergency management advisory board and supported a new policy that responds to the public's concern. All that remains is formal adoption of the policy.

The previous policy of requiring visual confirmation of a tornado before sounding the sirens probably made sense at one time when weather monitoring equipment was less sophisticated and a visual sighting was the best way to confirm a tornado was on the ground. Sounding the sirens whenever the weather service reported a likely tornado might have resulted in so many false alarms that the public would have quit paying attention.

With today's sophisticated radar systems, however, the new policy, which calls for sirens to be sounded whenever the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, is a good one. Tornado warnings are only issued an average of about twice a year, according to county records, and the ability to detect tornados with radar is far more precise than it once was. Especially at night, when visual confirmation is difficult, following the weather service's lead is sound policy for the county.

The quick action on this policy should reassure residents that county officials are willing to listen to concerns and implement positive changes when they are needed. Good job.


KsTwister 9 years, 11 months ago

We have the weather radios, they serve us well at home. People on their jobs or out of doors in areas without outlets probably don't have that luxury of the instant alerts. Much like myself when Lawrence dodged the last bullet with limited damage. I looked right at that cloud overhead,pitch dark and running because the sound it made told me I probably be dead before I reached cover as well as those running with me. So much for the weather radio assist, I was putting more stock in our county alert system. I will never make that mistake again.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 11 months ago

good coverage of northern OK tornados on fox news channel, mostly running local station's work, including chopper. it is looking really bad down there!

bearded_gnome 9 years, 11 months ago

editorial is right, quick action...bravvo!however, this appears only to revise the policy with respect to 'radar dection' of 'tornado.' what about siren warnings for the approach of high straightline winds? on the early morning in question, it was these that caused the lawrence damage.

Fort_Aubrey 9 years, 11 months ago

"So quit ragging on the weather-radio-deprived folks"I would feel most concerned about those who don't have premium cable.

Ben Henick 9 years, 11 months ago

The folks who keep on nagging the rest of us about weather radios are really getting on my nerves. I also find it annoying that no-one's bothered to mention prices: I just went to Amazon and found that the price sample mode seems to be in the $30-35 range. Then I went to OreSci and saw that their entry-level rig retails at $50.(For those who don't know that "Wx" is jargon that makes some people squee, Oregon Scientific is top-of-the-line when it comes to weather sensor gear.)Translation: a weather radio is affordable.The other issue with weather radios is that they need to stay juiced up. Given how much sturm and drang goes over the airwaves about keeping home fire warning gear up to spec, you've got to imagine that the problem would be even worse with respect to weather radios.Good sirens are to most of us Somebody Else's Problem that when solved will just work. That's why they're important.So quit ragging on the weather-radio-deprived folks, already. Maybe work on a grant application to get such gadgets into the hands of low income folks who live in slab-on-grade houses?

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