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Sirens NOT tested today due to stormy weather; Next testing will be June 4

With stormy weather in the area, the City of Joplin Emergency Management Office stated that the outdoor weather warning siren testing normally scheduled for today at 10 a.m. did not occur. This was in accordance with the City’s policy to not test them if Joplin is experiencing inclement weather.

Citizens should be aware that the next scheduled testing date would be on Monday, May 21, but in respect to our community and the proximity of that date to the one-year anniversary of last year’s EF-5 tornado, City officials will not be sounding the sirens that day. The next regularly scheduled test will be on Monday, June 4. Storm sirens will be sounded at 10 a.m. on that day, weather permitting.

City officials do remind citizens of the storm siren testing practice and policy.

• Siren testing will now be conducted only on the first and third Monday morning of each month, (weather permitting) at 10 am. This testing is for one minute and is NOT conducted when threatening weather is in the area.

• When activated for due to storm alerts, the siren consists of a steady tone for duration of three minutes. A second siren activation will now occur IF the initial warning had been sounded more than ten minutes prior to the warned storm system’s arrival to the city. The second activation will be another three-minute sounding.

• The City reminds residents that there will be NO “all clear” sounded by the sirens.

Outdoor warning sirens will be activated when the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for Jasper County, Newton County and/or Cherokee County, Kansas with a storm path including the City of Joplin/or when receiving a report from a trained spotter of a funnel or tornado sighted in or approaching Joplin.

Outdoor warning sirens will also be activated when the National Weather Service reports a storm system approaching Joplin producing sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (mph) or greater.

Keith Stammer, Emergency Management Director, reminds people that the siren warning is an alert for people who are outside, and is not designed to be heard from indoors.

“The sirens provide a warning for anyone who is out of doors to go indoors, if possible, and take shelter,” he said. “People indoors cannot always expect to hear the outdoor warning sirens.”

Stammer encourages residents to utilize a NOAA Weather Radio that provides a warning signal when the area is under a watch or a warning. “The advantage of having a weather radio is that you hear the alerts directly from the National Weather Service, and are kept current of the warning status.” Weather radios are available at local retailers and are priced at approximately $30.

Stammer also encourages people to watch the local television channels for updates and information about specific locations of storms. For more information, call 417-623-5858.

Important Safety Information:

  • TORNADO WATCH means watch the sky! TORNADO WARNING means seek shelter immediately.
  • SHELTER: Immediately go to an interior room with NO windows on the lowest possible floor. If you are at school or work DO NOT GO to a cafeteria, gymnasium or large interior open space because the roof might collapse.
  • LEAVE MOBILE HOMES IMMEDIATELY -- seek shelter in a nearby building or in a ditch.
  • DRIVING: Take shelter in a nearby building, in a ditch or low-lying area away from your car. If you are outside, remember to cover your head with your arms, coat or blanket to protect yourself from flying debris. Also watch for flash flooding. Never try to out drive a tornado.
  • OVERPASSES Are NOT Safe -- An overpass’s under-the-girder-type construction can cause a dangerous wind tunnel effect. This may cause the winds to be stronger and more focused underneath. This can also cause the overpass to be a collector of debris.
  • FLASH FLOODING OR WATER ON THE ROAD: During a thunderstorm, low-lying areas are prone to flash flooding. Never drive into water on the road. If your car stalls, get out of your car immediately and seek higher ground. It takes less than two feet of water to make your car float. Once floating downstream, your car can overturn trapping you inside.