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Rogers County Implements New Tornado Warning System

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Terry Butcher stood on the steps of his underground storm shelter, as a tornado bore down on his Rogers County ranch house. Terry Butcher stood on the steps of his underground storm shelter, as a tornado bore down on his Rogers County ranch house.
Rogers County Emergency Management Director Scotty Stokes bought Rogers County's first county-wide alert system on May 1, but didn't activate it until the day after the Moore tornado. Rogers County Emergency Management Director Scotty Stokes bought Rogers County's first county-wide alert system on May 1, but didn't activate it until the day after the Moore tornado.
The emergency alert system automatically sends notifications to phone numbers listed in the white pages. To get alerts to your cellphone, you have to sign up on the county website. The emergency alert system automatically sends notifications to phone numbers listed in the white pages. To get alerts to your cellphone, you have to sign up on the county website.
ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma -

Oklahoma's deadly tornadoes prompted one county in our area to immediately implement a new tornado warning system for its residents.

It's something the county had started, but didn't finish until after last week's tornadoes.

"I started the job March 11, and knowing we didn't have any kind of notification system going into the storm season really worried me," said Rogers County Emergency Management Director Scotty Stokes.

Stokes bought Rogers County's first county-wide alert system on May 1, but didn't activate it until the day after the Moore tornado.

The same day, a twister touched down in Talala, in the far northern part of Rogers County.

5/21/2013 Related Story: Talala-Area Tornado Captured By Police Chief

"I'm here in our EOC monitoring things, and not being able to get a warning out to citizens was a major concern of mine at that point in time," Stokes said.

The emergency alert system automatically sends notifications to phone numbers listed in the white pages. To get alerts to your cellphone, you have to sign up on the county website.

Sign Up For Alerts From Rogers County Here

From there, you can pick different weather alerts, like snow, storm or tornado warnings.

"This does not replace tornado sirens, but it does add an added safety net," Stokes said.

A single tornado siren costs $30,000. The early warning system is significantly cheaper, at $28,000 per year, and it will reach far more residents.

5/22/2013 Related Story: Talala Man Captured EF-1 Tornado As It Headed For His Home

The system doesn't only focus on weather events. You can also sign up for community alerts from the police or fire departments, or for hazardous road conditions.

"I really urge the citizens of Rogers County to get online, get on the Rogers County website and add those additional lines," Stokes said.

Claremore and Catoosa already have emergency alert systems, as do Wagoner County, Broken Arrow and Sapulpa.

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