XENIA — Several Xenia residents called the city administration building after the April 3 tornado wondering why the sirens ran so long in Xenia.
City Manager Brent Merriman answered that question during the April 12 city council meeting.
“Our dispatch center dispatches for not only The City of Xenia or Xenia Township but most of eastern Greene County, southern Greene County,” Merriman said. “It’s about half to two-thirds of the county that we dispatch for. Our sirens are actually … hard wired to launch together.”
Old protocol used by the National Weather Service was to issue a warning for an entire county.
“Under that format they would sound sirens simultaneously,” Merriman said.
But the NWS now issues warnings for only portions of a county or counties, which was the case April 3.
“In that instance, even though Xenia proper was no longer under a direct tornado threat, portions of eastern, northeastern Greene County were still under a tornado warning, that’s why our tornado sirens still sounded. We did get some complaints because of the duration that those sirens were continued.”
Merriman said the city has begun to look at ways to disconnect the sirens and have the ability to launch all of them or individual sirens as needed.
“Right now we don’t have that option,” he said. “Once we push the button, it’s for the whole region.”
Merriman also said another question city officials hear at this time of the season is, “I can’t hear the tornado sirens in my home.”
He said tornado sirens are not designed to be audible in homes as they are actually an outdoor warning mechanism.
“Often times you will be able to hear them indoors, but they are not designed to do that,” Merriman said.
He encouraged residents to use apps, weather radios, or local TV/radio stations when inside.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.