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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weather Siren Policy

We have talked about the use of weather sirens in Campbell County in previous posts and on the Facebook page.  While the topic may seem a bit dated now that balmy summer temps have moved in and the stormy weather from last week seems like a distant memory.  However, an observation from last week that we failed to discuss was the absence of sirens on the night there was an actual tornado within 50 miles of Fort Thomas and even some damage in the south end of the county.  There were no tornado warnings but there was a severe thunderstorm warning in conjunction with a tornado watch.

Keep in mind that the policy was to sound the sirens if there was a tornado watch and a severe thunderstorm warning or a tornado warning.  We have been critical of this policy in the past because it creates a situation that waters down the impact of a warning in the event of an actual emergency.

It now appears that this policy has been changed.  I could not get a confirmation of a change but the absence of a siren this past week seems to indicate a shift.  If a shift has occurred or is about to occur this would be following a trend in the region and in the country.  Two recent examples:

1. The NY Times explores the high number of deaths from tornadoes this spring.  Many possible reasons were cited but one of the featured reasons is this very 'boy who cried wolf' mentality.

2. Hamilton County's shift in policy similar to that suggested for Campbell County

As a side note the poll for May regarding this policy has been archived on the polls page - the clear winner was a change in policy at 54%.

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