(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)
Residents of Little Rock experienced a nerve-jarring experience when tornado sirens began sounding unexpedly around 11:48 PM Sunday evening. According to my friend Todd Yakoubian at KATV 7 this was the result of a malfunction. More information regarding the situation is available at his excellent weather blog, The Arkansas Weather Blog.
Hot Springs residents will be experiencing the sound of tornado sirens this Wednesday, June 7, at 12PM for a scheduled test according to the Sentinel Record. Since there is not a severe weather outbreak for Garland County and Hot Springs forecasted for Wednesday, Hot Springs residents can rest assured this is only a scheduled test and not a severe weather event notification.
This brings me to a point I want to make regarding tornado sirens. While tornado sirens can be somewhat-beneficial for being alerted to some form of severe weather event while outside, many of them utilize outdated technology which tends to sound countywide alerts, including alerts for people not in the actual alert. Some areas across the state are migrating to tornado sirens that are more locally-specific. Additionally, malfunctions can occur such as the issue that occurred in Little Rock Sunday evening. It is always a good idea to not rely on tornado sirens alone for severe weather alerts. It is always recommended to own a NOAA Weather Radio, utilize a service that calls one’s phone during severe weather such as CodeRED for residents in Hot Springs, WeatherCall 7 for residents in Arkansas, or Baron SAF-T-Net for residents across the United States (the service was originally launched in Alabama but is now free to residents across the US), as well as smartphone apps that alert residents of severe weather such as the Baron Critical Weather app for iOS and Android and the WDT Weather Radio app.