Police: Tornado sirens didn’t go off in Anderson

Tornado siren (WTHI Photo, file)

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — Some people in Anderson were concerned Thursday night, after they say tornado sirens were not activated, despite the severe weather.

A tornado warning was issued for southeastern Madison County on Thursday. According to a NWS Weather Alert Bulletin, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located near Anderson and moving southeast. The alert did not mention law enforcement had spotted a funnel, even though NWS did have that information.

Joel Sandefur, spokesman for the Anderson Police Department, confirmed the sirens didn’t go off and said that Madison County Emergency Management Agency is looking into the issue. Madison County EMA spokesman Todd Harmeson said the city of Anderson is responsible for tornado sirens in the city, not the county.

24-Hour News 8 went to the city and asked about severe weather protocol. Public Safety Board member Frank Dick said the city didn’t sound the sirens because the funnel cloud showed no threat to the city. Dick said the city only activates the siren if a trained city worker spots a tornado on the ground in the city, the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning that shows a threat to the city or if the mayor decides to sound the siren. In all cases, the city workers can use their best judgement on whether or not to sound the alarm.

“The city was never threatened. By a tornado or funnel cloud. There was no need to operate the sirens,” said Dick.

Dick said he heard about the funnel cloud sighting through an internal radio, and realized the storm was outside the city and headed away from Anderson.

Still, many people in Anderson worried that the storm could have easily changed directions and headed back toward Anderson.

“People should know. Even if it’s in the surrounding cities you never know where it’s going to go,” said Anderson resident Que Green.

24-Hour News 8 also asked if it would have bee possible to alert a portion of the city that was closest to the funnel cloud, instead of the entire city.

“You don’t know which way the tornado is going to go. You can’t rack it on radar but it could take a turn at any time. So if you set off sectorized sirens, And it takes a turn those people would not have been alerted,” said Dick.

Harmeson said a police officer saw a funnel cloud form and reach toward the ground near Ind. 236, in between County Roads 200 East and 300 East, which is southeast of the city of Anderson.

Initial reports were that a tornado had formed, however after investigating officials say they were unable to confirm the actual touchdown. There were trees down and other minor damage that is being attributed to strong winds from the thunderstorm.


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