Tornado Warning Issued for Morgan County, but Sirens Remain Silent

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On Sunday, May 13th, North Alabama came under the gun, temporarily, when weather spotters reported seeing rotation in the clouds over Decatur.

Meteorologists put Morgan County under a tornado watch, but the Emergency Management Agency Director decided not to sound the warning sirens.

Viewers called WHNT NEWS 19 to report a storm system passing through showed signs of something worse possible.

“There was a funnel cloud spotted over the river in that area by the Highway 31 bridge and it was tracking into Limestone County,” said Eddie Hicks.

The National Weather service fired off a tornado warning, which included Morgan County, but Hicks kept the county’s 36 sirens silent.

“There was no reason to sound the sirens in decatur, because it was not going to affect any of the areas in Decatur,” said Hicks.

Viewers who called WHNT NEWS 19 wondered if the sirens were working.

Hicks insists, not only are all of them working, but half of them have battery-backup and the other half will have battery-backup within one month.

He said since the storm was moving out of Morgan County and into Limestone County, there was no need to alarm residents who were clear from the storm.

“We want our citizens to be trained that if they hear a siren, there is a reason why that siren is going off and they need to pay attention to it,” said Hicks.

There were no reports of weather damage from the storm warnings that Sunday night.

Hicks mentioned the Wireless Emergency Alerts Service — or WEA — is now in operation, free and doesn’t require users to sign up.

It comes thanks to the National Weather Service and participation of wireless providers that cover 97% of all subscribers.

The providers allow text alerts of life-threatening events to be communicated to their customers free of charge.

It’s location-based and wireless users receive text alerts about the impending danger.

The alerts are for warnings–not watches–and aim to steer people to seek additional information from local authorities immediately.