Changes Coming For Madison County’s Outdoor Weather Sirens

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - People in the Tennessee Valley understand the importance of staying weather aware. While the advent of smart phone weather alerts have certainly helped, many people still depend on outdoor weather sirens for a first warning, especially in rural areas.

While NOAA weather radios and local broadcast coverage are still the best line of defense, changes are planned for Madison County's outdoor weather siren system that would more accurately alert those in the direct line of potential danger.

"Our system is getting old," says Madison County EMA Emergency Operations Manager Jim Pockrus.  "You know, we've had problems with it over the years."

The EMA tests Madison County's 120 outdoor weather sirens the first Wednesday of each month. But Pockrus says within the next two months, the EMA hopes to make big changes to the way they activate weather sirens.

"What we hope to do is be able to is set off the sirens in the path of the storm," Pockrus said. "We're getting away from sounding them off county-wide. We get a lot of flack for that because there could be a tornado in the northern part of the county and down in the southern part of the county the sun is shining and people are saying why are the sirens going off?"

The face of outdoor weather siren alerts in Madison County is changing and Pockrus says that is a good thing.

"We are going to be updating and adding more sirens to the system as we grow and hopefully one day we might have full coverage for the whole county."