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Questions about severe weather

May 24, 2011 - Frank Robinson
The tornado warnings of Monday night certainly have been the talk of the town today. Maybe it was because of the recent devastating tornadoes in the South and the most recent one in Joplin, Mo.

Just about anyone I talked with relayed to me where they were and what they were doing when the sirens went off. I relayed my story, too.

Here are some commonly asked questions or observations I heard or witnessed:

-- People have become complacent about the warning sirens. They have heard them so many times over the years that they are slow to respond or don't respond at all.

-- People asked me, as if I would know or I'm some kind of meteorologist, if the sirens mean a tornado has been spotted or a tornado touched the ground. They also wondered if the sirens just mean severe weather (thunderstorms) is in the area.

-- Speaking of the sirens, in Howland they would go off for a little while and then come back on. I heard from a co-worker the same thing was happening in Mecca. That was a little confusing. The sirens came on in Howland and then went off a few minutes later repeatedly. I stepped outside and was thinking about letting the pets out of the basement when the sirens started again. I'm glad I went outside first without them, as it was hard enough the first time to get them in the basement.

-- I learned the hard way that a radio is a must in the basement. Once I got there, I was pretty much cut off from the outside world. All I had was my cell phone, and reception down there is lousy. I had to go upstairs to communicate with the folks in the basement at the paper.

These are just some of the bits of conversations I had. Some have solid answers, others perhaps not.


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