To be honest I was a little disturbed by what showed up in the local news last week, mainly because of the amount of inaccurate information presented. For those wondering what exactly I’m referring to see: When It Matters Most, Tornado Sirens Don’t Sound – WOI or WRONG FORMAT: Madrid’s Sirens Faulty
About the only accurate information in either story is that people should have multiple sources for weather information be it TV, AM/FM Radio or a Weather Radio.
However, most of the explanation for the sirens failing to activate this week was not accurate.
“Boone county just changed their system to be completely digital” “The sirens are still in analog format, which is why they didnt go off”
False. The Boone County digital system went live last October. However, the channel the sirens receive on is still analog as it has been for years. The only change made to the system that affects that channel was to comply with the FCC narrowbanding rule, which took effect January 1, 2013. Boone County was granted a waiver by the FCC which granted an additional year to make the switch. The rule change was announced well in advance of the 2013 deadline, plenty of time for the city to have checked their equipment and see if it was compliant with the FCC requirements.
Similar incidents had been reported in other Iowa communities in 2011 & 2012 as well due to this same change, perhaps this should have been a clue to the city to check their equipment.
“The county should have taken more responsibility”
As pointed out by Polk County Emergency Management in the WHO piece the sirens are the city’s responsibility to maintain, not the county’s.
The city had a new storm siren that was slated to be installed behind the fire department a few years ago, but it was never installed.
The long and short of the matter is, the city had plenty of time to ensure the sirens were ready and did not do it.
Wow, I thought I had not posted in awhile. I looked back and it looks like my last post was during the chase day back in October. Oops. That said, there hasn’t really been much for interesting weather around here, aside from the suprise blizzard on January 16th. Those who follow me on social media may have seen the quick photo i snapped on my cell phone looking out across Urbandale from the building I work in. Hopefully for 2014 I will be doing a better job of posting on here. I have some travel plans in April and am hoping to purchase a new camera before I leave, or at least by chase season. I also would like to upgrade the RAM in my laptop before chase season, if not before my trip. I purchased a car adapter for the laptop so it should be interesting to see if that works any better than the inverter has. Hopefully I will be able to add to my weather software selection or maybe a couple books along the way, any suggestions?
Out chasing today, check the tweets & live feed for latest.
Severe Weather is possible across much of Iowa and portions of surrounding states today with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma placing roughly the northern half of the state in a Moderate Risk for severe weather. Tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds are all possible today. I will likely be heading towards northwestern Iowa to start and will hopefully update later as things progress.
SPC Day 1 Outlook
Its looking like severe weather could make a return to the state on Friday with all modes of severe weather possible. Anyone planning on attending high school football games on Friday night or other outdoor activities should pay attention to the weather. Here is a quick look at the SPC Day 3 Outlook and I’ll try to post more information later today.
With the extremely dry conditions this fall, the Fire Chiefs in a number of Iowa counties have issued bans on open burning. Bans are in effect for the following counties: Audubon (as of 8/31), Calhoun (as of 9/7), Clinton (as of 9/11), Greene (as of 9/6), Louisa (as of 9/12), Muscatine (as of 9/11), Scott (as of 9/11), and Webster (as of 9/5, excluding the City of Fort Dodge). These bans are in place until the Chief’s decide to lift them, I will try to keep a current list as I hear of them.
The AMBER Alert from the previous post has been CANCELLED. According to the Iowa State Patrol the child was located in Cedar Rapids.
Urbandale residents within a quarter-mile radius of 142nd Street & Oak Brook Drive are being ordered by police to evacuate their homes due to a gas main that was struck by a contractor working in the area. Those without anywhere to go are being directed to the Urbandale Fire Station 42 at 3927 121st Street according to the Des Moines Register.
Severe weather will be possible this afternoon and evening with all modes of severe weather possible. The outlook from the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma shows the possibility for severe weather exists over most of Iowa and into portions of neighboring states. Hopefully I will be able to post further updates this afternoon.
The Storm Prediction Center is expecting to issue a Tornado Watch for central & eastern Iowa within the hour. Stay tuned for updates.