Outdoor Warning Sirens Protect Safety During Severe Weather

Clay Center, KS- Severe thunderstorms hit the KCLY listening area on Saturday, and in response to the severe thunderstorm warning, parts of Manhattan had outdoor warning sirens sounding off. In that severe thunderstorm warning, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a warning that included damaging straight winds of 70+ MPH.

The sirens come from civil defense days when we were concerned with air raids, according to Laurie Harrison, the Riley County Emergency Management Coordinator.

Sirens are sounded when an imminent threat is expected, including hail larger than golf ball size, wind speeds greater than 75 MPH, a wall cloud, or a rotation has been spotted in person or indicated by radar.

Harrison, said people associate the sirens with tornados, but that isn’t always the case.

Harrison stated no matter what sound you hear, the sirens are to notify people that there is something happening and that they need to check with the local media as information is getting pushed out to determine how to take shelter.

Riley County Emergency Management understands that there is confusion when it comes to the sirens and they want to push more information out after the sirens are started so people will understand where and what the threat is.

If you happen to hear sirens going off, Harrison asks that you do not call 9-1-1 to find out what is going on, but instead turn to a reliable source and save the emergency line for emergencies.


Janet Schnell covers state and local news for KFRM and KCLY. You can follow the KCLY or KFRM Facebook page for more stories.

KFRM covers news from across the state of Kansas, the Northern part of Oklahoma, and Southern part of Nebraska.

KCLY coverage area includes the nine counties of Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Geary, Marshall, Ottawa, Riley, Republic, and Washington.

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