Can you hear your tornado sirens?

The severe weather that hit Missouri this week has a lot of people asking questions about warning sirens.

When are they activated? Does it always mean a tornado is near? Why can't we hear them indoors?

So KRCG's Facebook Crew spoke with emergency management officials in Boone and Cole county Thursday to find out the answers.

Most everyone throughout Missouri has heard warning sirens this week.

But how do emergency management officials know when to sound the sirens?

"When a tornado warning has been issued by the national weather service is one reason why we activate. If we have severe thunderstorms that have a high probability of damage is another reason, Boone County Emergency Management Director Zim Schwartze said. A third reason is when we have wind gusts that are 70 mph and sustained."

Schwartze said Boone County has a little more than 80 sirens, and when severe weather strikes, the county now turns on all sirens at once, regardless of where the storm actually is.

"We activate these at one time the reason being is those that work and live here in Boone County are kind of in the central portion of our area. So if we would just do north or south as we did in the past, it would be very confusing for people because of the range of some of the sirens, Schwartze said.

Schwartze told me when tornado sirens go off it's to warn people outside to take cover. So if you can't here it inside your house, don't worry because you're not supposed too.

"They're called outdoor warning sirens for a reason. Those are meant for folks who are outside, Schwartze said. So those are so that they can get either inside to a TV or radio so they can hear what's going on."

Cole County has 18 sirens, which are also triggered together no matter which area is threatened.

"The National Weather Service will put out an alert that goes right into the 911 dispatch center. If the alert basically says we are in that warning area the 911 dispatch sends a message to the sirens to activate them, Cole County Emergency Management Director Bill Farr said.

Farr said there are other ways you can be notified of severe weather.

"Citizens from the city or county can sign up on the Cole County Sheriff's Office website and they can receive text messages as they get the alerts from the National Weather Service. It's free of charge, Farr said. All you have to do is go on the website and sing up for it."

So can you hear warning sirens at your house?

Tell us if you can.

Preview Story

The severe weather that hit Missouri this week has a lot of people asking questions about tornado sirens.

So today our Facebook Crew talked with emergency management officials in Boone and Cole County to find out exactly when they sound the tornado sirens.

They told KRCG they trigger the sirens once the National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for their county.

Tonight at ten find out more about the sirens in these counties.

Tell us about your sirens. Can you hear your tornado sirens?