Tornado sirens up and running

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Installation of the city’s eight new tornado sirens wrapped up this week, giving Tupelo complete coverage in case of severe weather.
The sirens join seven existing warning signals that have dotted the city for several decades. The earlier models also got upgrades as part of the nearly $165,000 project.
“We have 15 up and ready and serviced to go,” said Tupelo Water & Light Manager Johnny Timmons, who has overseen the project. “The way the weather is acting, we’ll hit it just in time.”
Most of the region’s twisters occur between March and May. It was in April 1936 that the nation’s fourth-deadliest hit Tupelo, killing more than 230 people. Another brief tornado season occurs in the fall.
Sirens sound when a tornado is sighted, allowing people time to seek shelter. The city’s earlier sirens were scattered around the middle part of the community but didn’t reach into the outlying areas – most notably, those annexed into Tupelo in 1989.
Although people in outlying areas might hear the faint scream from one of the inner-city sirens, the best hearing occurs within a one-mile radius of the devices.
The sirens are maintained by the city but activated by Lee County E-911 whenever the National Weather Services issues a tornado warning for the area.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.