WFMY Answers Storm Alert Questions

TRIAD, NC—Over the past two days, WFMY News 2 has received many phone calls about storm and weather related questions.

Does my community have tornado sirens?

Rockingham County is the only county in the Triad to use tornado sirens across the entire county. Surry County has only few in place that are still in use.

Guilford, Forsyth, Alamance, Davidson, Randolph, Stokes, and Caswell counties do not use tornado sirens.

Most emergency management directors told WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford that the cost is too tremendous to implement the systems, including the costly infrastructure of putting them up. They say the cost is not worth it. In 2009, Alamance County received an estimate of roughly $300,000 to put sirens up across the county.

Most of the counties rely on reverse emergency call systems that send out automated phone calls to citizens alerting them of a tornado warning.

In Rockingham County, sirens are used thanks to a grant.

"We had a tornado in 1998, since then we got a grant to provide the sirens for the county and now we use it to alert the citizens if we have a tornado warning," said Johnny Bowles, the Emergency Services Director in Rockingham County.

How do I use my weather radio?

Where do I get my weather radio?Chief Meteorologist Grant Gilmore explains all you need to know about NOAA weather radios. We went into the archives for more details: What To Look For When Purchasing A Weather Radio

Bad news here! WFMY checked with a dozen stores from Forsyth County to Alamance County. With the exception of two left at a Walmart in Kernersville, every store we checked was sold out! The lesson here: don't wait until the last minute!

Does my community have a pre-tornado shelter?

Triad counties do not offer area shelters or bunkers. Many will have Red Cross coordinators prepared to open post emergency shelters but the cost of a community shelter is not worth it. Some directors said they wouldn't even know where to put a shelter. How could everyone benefit? Dave Leonard, Emergency Management Director in Alamance said

the warnings happen so quickly, there wouldn't be enough time to get people there quickly. Many directors told me you'll be putting more lives in danger by telling people to get in their cars and go to a shelter. Instead, they suggest have your own shelter plan in place.

RELATED LINK: Have A Plan: Lessons From Tornado Survivors


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