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Spann weighs in on tornado siren debate

After the decision by Randolph County Commission to no longer repair and maintain the outdoor weather warning sirens and instead go with a mass warning system, the article that was published in the Leader led to various opinions, comments and even some personal attacks on individuals showing up on social media.

The Leader contacted what some say is the expert in weather and especially severe weather for his thoughts.

James Spann, meteorologist with ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, shared his opinion with us about weather warnings and the outdoor warning siren systems. James’ comments are being used my permission.

“THE SIREN MENTALITY: After almost every major tornado event, the national media demands more sirens. WRONG. Yes, sirens serve a purpose. They reach a limited number of people outdoors. We need as many ways as possible to get warnings. But sirens are a last resort. The suggestion that sirens is the primary way people need to receive a warning is totally wrong. The siren mentality kills people.

You can’t hear an outdoor siren in a home or business during a raging storm. Sure, you might hear them being tested on a sunny day, but it doesn’t work that way during a tornado emergency.

EVERY home and business needs a NOAA Weather Radio. This is like a smoke detector in your home for tornadoes. They don’t rely on cell service and are extremely reliable. This is critical, and the baseline for getting warnings for those in homes and businesses.

Some low-income families can’t afford a 30 dollar radio, and we need to find a way of getting weather radio receivers to them. Don’t spend money on outdated sirens, but on getting a weather radio in every home.

Hate me all you want on this issue, but I have dealt with too many deaths involving families who honestly thought they would hear a siren before a tornado.  The siren mentality kills people. And it must change!”

Spann 2

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