Weather

Are tornado sirens effective?

In any given year, the state of Missouri can expect to see roughly 30 tornadoes, with half of those occurring during the months of March, April and May. So, Missouri is no stranger to tornadoes especially when you consider the fact that five of the 25 deadliest tornadoes in the country, occurred in the state. It's for this reason it's always important to make sure you remain weather aware and for many people their only form of remaining aware is a tornado siren. That begs the question of just how effective they are and if you should have other forms of communication available.

Outdoor sirens or tornado sirens truly only have one goal,--to alert those outside of inclement weather and/or emergency situations and to seek safety.  The sirens themselves are not meant for those indoors and many may not hear them blare, as the sound only travels about one half of a mile from the point of origin. Just in Boone County there are 67 tornado sirens serving about 165,000 people. That's one siren for nearly 3,000 people.

Because they are only effective at warning those outside, there are more efficient ways to make sure you remain alert when severe weather strikes your area.  Keeping you ahead of the storm and safe is ABC 17 News' top priority when it comes to inclement weather, but you should still remain aware.  

Two of the most efficient ways of doing that are through our ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather App and a NOAA weather radio.  

Using these, along with your ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team, you will always remain alert in case of a weather crisis.


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