News Flash

Waukee City Newsfeed

Posted on: May 26, 2020

Outdoor Warning Sirens and Severe Weather Information

tornado siren newsflash

Outdoor warning sirens are considered an outdoor warning system that prompts anyone outdoors to seek shelter. Outdoor warning sirens are not intended for citizens indoors; rather, the Waukee Fire Department recommends citizens utilize a weather radio and tune into their local news channel for up-to-date weather information. Members of the public can also sign up for weather alert text messages at nixle.com or by texting ’50263’ to ’888-777’.

Waukee Fire Chief Clint Robinson notes that the May 26 tornado spotted in Waukee came with little to no warning. Sirens were activated within two minutes of the first 911 call reporting the funnel cloud. "It’s important that businesses and family have tornado plans in place so they can act quickly," Chief Robinson said. "Sometimes these weather situations develop rapidly. Being prepared can allow people to take proper shelter quickly." 

See tips below as well as more information about Waukee’s outdoor warning sirens.

Activation Criteria

The City of Waukee shares the same outdoor warning siren criteria that our neighboring cities use. Outdoor Warning Sirens will be activated by Westcom Communications for any Tornado Warning that is in the Waukee Fire Department’s response district when:

  • Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service
  • Tornado or funnel cloud reported by a trained spotter (law enforcement, fire department official or emergency management agency).
  • Sirens will also be activated for straight line winds (70 Miles per Hour or Higher) in the Waukee Fire Department’s response district, as issued by the National Weather Service.

Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service (Johnston, Iowa) and are received by Westcom Communications who notifies the Waukee Fire Department via radio.

Testing

Outdoor warning sirens are tested on the first Saturday of each month at 12 p.m. (noon).

If a severe weather watch or warning is in effect for the Waukee area during the monthly noon test, the sirens should not be tested that day. Outdoor warning siren tests will resume on the next scheduled monthly date. Testing may be suspended during the winter months (December-February) when ice or sub-zero temperatures could damage the siren system.

NOAA Tornado Safety Tips

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration offers these tips for staying safe during a tornado:

  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or television for tornado warnings and instructions.
  • If you hear that a tornado or a storm threatens, seek shelter immediately.
  • If you are in a building, go to the designated shelter, the building’s basement, or an interior room, such as a bathroom, or closet.
  • If you are in an automobile, do not try to out-drive a tornado. Abandon your vehicle and seek shelter in a ditch or depression.
  • If you are in a mobile home, leave it for a more substantial structure. You should plan on heading for the storm shelter at the first sign of severe weather. As we all know from countless news stories, mobile home parks are often the scene of numerous deaths or injuries.
  • Protect your head and body from flying debris.

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