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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 06/12/2008

How Not to React to a Tornado Siren

By Dan Stillman

Could this lady be any less panicked? (make sure to watch with sound)...

By Dan Stillman  | June 12, 2008; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Thunderstorms  
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Yes, this woman is an idiot!

When the really severe weather came through with the reports of tornadoes in Falls Church and Annandale, our family in the Midwest called to check on us.

In the discussion they asked about whether our warning sirens hadn't gone off and I had to explain that we don't have tornado sirens. I've always assumed that was because we don't have as many tornadoes here, but in the last few years, I've begun to wonder. Between the hurricanes (that can spawn tornadoes) and other severe weather, why *don't* we have a system to warn of such dangerous weather?

Posted by: HM | June 12, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I suspect it's because of the Cold War. Back then we had sirens, tested the second Wednesday of the month (IIRC) at 10:30 AM. If they went off any other time then you knew the Russian ICBM's were inbound.

So having them go off for anything else wasn't going to happen.

Posted by: wiredog | June 12, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

As a Chicagoan, I can say that our warning system was designed for both purposes -- as cold war warning as well as severe weather warning. That's exactly how it was presented to us as school children. Also tested once a month. I think it's pretty clear when which is which. In certain places (farming areas and lake communities), the siren goes off daily at noon (called a noon whistle) to let farmers know to come in for lunch or pleasure boaters to know how long they've been on the water.

Posted by: Christopher | June 12, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

If the tornado sirens were going off and the sky looked like THAT, I'd book it underground faster than a runaway metro train...(bad analogy...sorry)

But I did like the Wisconsin accent though, don't get to hear it too much. Heh.

Posted by: weatherdudeVA (Lake Ridge) | June 12, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

hahaha her accent was priceless. "Look at that onnne"

Posted by: Peter | June 12, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh man. man oh man oh man. *hangs head in shame*

Posted by: Camden, Capital Weather Gang | June 12, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

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