Beyond the Green Screen: Severe Weather Sirens Clarified

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When severe thunderstorms are occurring in your area or are close by you will likely hear the sirens blowing. There has been a big debate over why sirens are sounded at specific times, what do they mean, and what is the difference between them? There is no difference.

Often people mistake severe weather sirens for “tornado” sirens. Just because a siren is going off in your area doesn’t always mean there is a tornado.

The same tone of siren will be sounded for one or all of the following threats: tornadoes, thunderstorms with winds 70mph or greater, and golf ball sized hail or larger. All of these are life threatening. The sirens are tested every first Tuesday of the month.


The point of the siren is not to tell you which of the three threats are happening but it is a warning that something is coming and you need to go inside and find out what is headed your way either by T.V., radio (including severe weather radios!) or the internet (preferably!).

For more answers to frequently asked questions regarding sirens in your community, check out the following website.