Why the Sirens didn't blow
So, many people in the area didn’t even know that a tornado touched down last week; and those that did are wondering why the sirens didn’t blow to warn the community. Michael Lyons, Emergency Management Director and Assistant Fire Chief for Plainview, has answered this question for all of us.
On Wednesday, May 17th, around 4:30pm a small tornado touched down in the city of Plainview. This tornado was rated by the National Weather Service as an EFO-the weakest Tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. These tornadoes usually have wind speeds between 65-85 mph. EF0 tornados’ are hard to detect on radar because of their small size and can drop out of clouds at anytime without warning. The area was actually in a tornado watch that day until 11:00p. No warnings were issued when the tornado hit. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Plainview was monitoring the weather at the time.
The EOC center is set up at the Plainview Fire Station with a computer that has Radar along with a direct channel to the NWS in LaCrossse. All Firefighters in Plainview go through the required training classes for storm spotting.
Michael would also like to remind residents that there is emergency shelter at the school in Plainview in the event of a tornado warning. On the north side of the building, residents would enter through Door J which will be open, and a firetruck would be by it as well. Michael also stated that the sirens are for outdoor use only, and many individuals may not hear it if they are inside their homes - so he encourages in the event of severe weather watches, if you are indoors, to please keep an eye on the weather, or even get instant alerts on your electronic devices or cell phones.
The power outage which was experienced last Wednesday was due to a snapped power line, which took out power for part of the city.
Michael Lyons has been the EOC Director since 1998 and encourages individuals who witness severe weather to call 911 immediately to report it.