Friday, January 2

Excuse Me... Turn Off The Tornado Sirens, I Have Some TV To Watch!

Okay, I am going to take a deep breath before I start this. I must profess my weather geek status, too, before I begin because it might taint my perspective. Okay, the disclaimer is out of the way now... here we go...

There was a letter to the editor in a local newspaper today that really got me fuming. The letter writer, whom I will refer to as Jo to keep his or her good name from being tainted by their lack of understanding about public safety, believes that we should not blow tornado sirens for the duration of a warning. Yes, you read that correctly... Jo believes that you should sound the siren for a few seconds and then not sound it again unless they see rotation or a tornado on the ground. So far I am giving Jo the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he/she feels that the sirens make people cry wolf or are ineffective, or some other logical argument. Nope...

Let me quote Jo: "When they blow the sirens I can't hear my tv . . . or worst of all, I couldn't hear a tornado if it was right on top of me. " (Does Jo live in a bird nest? I live close to a siren and I am pretty sure I can still hear my tv. Besides that, I am not for sure that finishing up the last five minutes of Days of Our Lives is as important as taking shelter! It is a tornado warning for heaven's sake! Besides, the person in danger at the end of the show always is rescued in the first five minutes the next day. Save yourself the time, won't you?)

But Jo isn't finished. "I understand that you need to let the people know about the possibility or threat of severe weather, but to constantly blow the sirens is, in my opinion, overkill." What a novel idea! Let's just blow it for thirty seconds or so and then shut it off. That wouldn't confuse people! No!!!!! No one would think the threat was over and head on with their lives. But wouldn't that 30 seconds of sirens interrupt the introduction of Today's Special Value on QVC? I bet tornado sirens have contributed to the recession we are in today. Darn those annoying things!

But I digress. Here is my point. In May 2003 the city of Monett had the policy that they would only blow the sirens during a Tornado Warning if there was rotation spotted, much like Jo suggested in his/her letter. By the time spotters relayed the information that a tornado had touched down in Pierce City and the sirens began to sound, that same tornado was traveling just a mile north of the city limits. Some of the sirens couldn't sound because the power had already been lost. Had that tornado have traveled one mile further south, lives would have undeniably been lost because of the city of Monett's decision to only blow the sirens once they saw something. After May 4, 2003, the city revised its policy (and for good reason).

Tornado sirens aren't designed to be the only method of warning, but they have become an essential component to warning the public. I am sorry that Jo's priorities lies in his/her favorite programs and not on the safety of the public. Well Jo, here is a suggestion... why don't you invest in DVR? Then you can find out what happens to John, Marlena, Bo, and Hope whenever those noisy sirens aren't interrupting your precious tv time.

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