This is a test of the local emergency warnings system.
I have just sent out a signal that has triggered the sirens.
And now they’re starting to report back.
Each month, Boone County and many other counties across Missouri test their tornado and severe weather outdoor warning systems.
Boone County’s 80 sirens are positioned throughout the county to maximize coverage in populated areas.
The sirens are activated at Columbia and Boone County Joint Communications.
We don’t always have to wait for the National Weather Service to issue a tornado warning if we are getting reliable information that we have a tornado or a funnel cloud.
The sirens are activated for tornadoes and potentially dangerous severe storms, but the purpose of the sirens is often misunderstood.
We will often have people say I couldn’t hear that siren inside my home.
I was washing dishes, I was running my vacuum cleaner, I couldn’t hear it.
Why couldn’t I hear the siren? It’s not meant for those that are inside.
It’s meant for folks who are outdoors.
According to the National Weather Service, the sirens are an alert to observe conditions around you.
If there is a visible, imminent weather threat immediately take shelter in the safest structure available.
If there is no sign of an imminent threat, go indoors and immediately get additional information about the storm from a local television station, weather radio or online.
When a siren stops sounding, it does not mean that the potential weather threat has passed.
Across Missouri, sirens are generally sounded for about three minutes, not until the threat ends and again the sirens are meant to alert those who are outdoors.
And keep updated with the National Weather Service.
That’s why we tell them to get a NOAA Radio and they can make a determination of when they feel it is safe.
Many areas of Missouri, particularly rural areas, do not have sirens.
But in areas with sirens, it’s important to know what it means when they’re sounded, the actions to take in response, and to be aware of the sirens’ limited capabilities.
It’s all part of being StormAware.