Confusion Over Outdoor Warning Sirens

Outdoor warning sirens were activated Sunday after the National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm warnings for some counties.

Some people in Madison County told us they thought a tornado may be coming after they heard the sirens go off, but only a severe thunderstorm warning had been issued at the time.

Kelley McBride from the Madison County Emergency Management Agency says they use the same siren sound for a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado warning, followed by an audible message with basic warning information.

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Each county in Kentucky makes their own protocol for activating its sirens.

In Fayette County, Westminster Chimes is played when a tornado watch, severe thunderstorm watch, or severe thunderstorm warning is issued, followed by a message with warning information.

A 10 minute siren is played in Lexington when a tornado warning is issued, followed by a message.

Outdoor sirens are only designed to be heard by people outside, so they know to head indoors and take shelter.

When inside, a NOAA weather radio, local media, or smart phone applications should be used to receive weather alerts.

To find out what type of severe weather activates sirens in your county, call your emergency management agency office or visit its website.