February 9, 2016

Tornado warning sirens should be louder

Linda Rothwell
In the aftermath of the tornados in Branson, Mo. and to the east, I have talked with people who live and work there, who said, “We slept through it.”
As the (Johnson County) sirens were tested today, I am wondering if they should/could  be louder. I can hear them inside my house but rather faint at times. I realize that they rotate around as they are sounded. I also realize they are designed to be heard outside. That just isn’t good enough.
When we lived out on the farm south of town, we could not hear sirens going off at all.  If a tornado was to hit our area in the middle of the night or the wee house of the morning, I am not sure the sirens would wake us up.  I feel like better warnings are needed.
Just saying.


  1. SeverePlains says:

    It sounds like you are very concerned about the potential of not being warned of an impending tornado or for the potential for one. As you’ve obviously read, tornado sirens are not made for those that are indoors or for those more rural populated areas, rather for those that are outdoors and likely not close to secondary forms of warning (tv, radio, etc.). There are many reasons for this, if you don’t mind, how close are you to the nearest tornado siren? To make sirens loud enough to be heard within a house would cause them to be way too loud for those closest, as obviously in the economy that we are in there is not money to add in new sirens by the dozens (likely what it would take to make this idea possible). In fact, several smaller cities and municipalities have older/outdated sirens and when they break they have no funds to repair and therefore do not have a siren at all. The town of Harveyville, KS that was recently struck actually did not have a working tornado siren per reports.

    There are plenty of other options for you that would be both more economical and reasonable. Do you own a weather radio? There are also several smartphone apps that will warn you similar to a weather radio, or several services that will send you a text message or even call your home phone in the instance of severe weather that is in your path. Information is widely available for the public to be warned of whichever phenomena they want to be warned about, they just need to take initiative to protect themselves/family and use them.

    To end, I’m glad that you are concerned about this. As many are stating how they hear them too often and are ignoring what they signify rather than worry about their safety.

  2. Gardnerite says:

    Programmable weather radios are the way to go for indoors. Set it for your county code (Johnson County SAME # is 020091) and neighboring county if you live close to a county line. Put it in the bedroom so it will wake you up during a tornado warning.

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