Peak tornado season in Tennessee is April and May and you need a NOAA Weather Radio. There have already been a couple of tornado warnings issued for Gibson County this year. Most recently in the early morning hours of April 30, Dyer was in the predicted path of a storm capable of producing a tornado.
The County and City tornado sirens were activated, but I didn’t hear them until I left the house on the way to the tornado safe room. Tornado sirens are a holdover from as far back as WWII — the technology they rely on was developed for air raids and cold war drills. Modern home construction along with high winds and rain mean you might not (and often times won’t) hear the tornado siren from inside your house. Don’t rely on a tornado siren for your family’s safety!
Here are things I don’t rely on for tornado warnings:
- My Cell Phone (it’s supposed to alert me of severe weather, but it doesn’t always)
- My friends / family (you know those folks who sleep through everything)
- Just Waking Up (I sleep hard — and if it’s raining, I sleep even better)
- Television / Radio (it’s great for updates when you’re awake, but it’s not magically going to wake you up)
I DO RELY ON A WEATHER RADIO.
You can purchase a NOAA Weather Radio inexpensively from local stores. I use a Midland WR-120 weather radio that I purchased for less than $40. Whichever radio you purchase, I recommend buying one with “SAME Localized Reception“. SAME allows you to specify for which counties you want to receive warnings (and even sometimes what kind of warning you want to receive). If you program it correctly, you won’t be woken up for warnings that don’t pertain to you.
If you need help programming your radio, contact a friend or contact the manufacturer. Most have online guides or telephone help lines. If you still have trouble, contact local Emergency Management.
I can’t stress this enough: If you care about your safety or your family’s safety, don’t rely or count on hearing a tornado siren during a storm or high winds. Buy a weather radio and program it for our area.
Nathan Reed is the City Recorder for the CIty of Dyer, Tennessee.