Clinton County officials say storms that moved through the area overnight June 16 and 17 did not meet the criteria to require storms sirens to be activated.
Several area communities reported damage to outbuildings, trees and power lines because of the high winds and heavy rains that accompanied those storms.
Clinton County Emergency Management Coordinator Chance Kness says confusion and questions followed the storms, after residents realized storm sirens did not sound there.
Sirens are only triggered by severe thunderstorm warnings from the National Weather Service that include possible wind speeds of 70 miles per hour or greater, a tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service and/or a tornado spotted and reported by a trained weather spotter. Sirens may also be activated if conditions appear to be life-threatening or if there are reports of significant damage happing due to weather.
“Overnight June 16th into the 17th, there were several severe thunderstorm warnings issued for Clinton County by the National Weather Service,” Kness said. “None of those warnings included 70-mile-an-hour wind or greater. This is why the sirens were not activated.”
Kness said they did get reports of damage after the storm had passed, which was too late to activate the outdoor warning sirens.
“Outdoor warning sirens are intended to warn people who are outside that it is not safe to be outdoors,” Kness said. “When sirens are activated it simply means it is not save outside, go inside….Outdoor warning sirens are not designed to warn people in their homes of impending danger. Weather radios, cell phones, television and internet are all ways to receive warnings inside the home.”
(editor’s note: Mr. Kness’ original statement referred to the storm as happening in July; he later corrected his statement to refer to the storm in June.)