Saturday Storms Threatening Enough To Sound All Tulsa Sirens

Tuesday, May 19th 2015, 12:02 am
By: News On 6

There are 90 tornado sirens in the Tulsa City and County system. During the storms Saturday emergency management sounded the entire system, twice.

Even though the damage was mainly in Broken Arrow and into Wagoner County the storms this weekend were threatening enough for emergency management to sound the entire system.

5/15/2015 Related Story: City Working To Expand Storm Siren Network

Saturday was the second time this year that every siren in the Tulsa City/County system has been activated. The first was in March when a tornado ripped through Sand Springs.

“They are the last element of warning you're going to get. We hope no one is surprised when the sirens go off, we want you to be already monitoring the weather," said Emergency Management Director, Roger Jolliff.

He explained how the area is on a quadrant system and each siren can be sounded separately or altogether.

He said Saturday's storms were just too much of a threat to everyone to not sound them all.

5/18/2015 Related Story: Weather Service Rates Broken Arrow Tornado EF-2, Inola EF-1

“When these storms came through we were told they could spawn a tornado at moment's notice and we should be ready that they could pop up anywhere in Tulsa metro area,” Jolliff said.

And, as he points out, you can easily travel from one quadrant to another in minutes.

“That's a two-edge sword. Someone could drive out of an area and into a threat area,” he said.

They have brand new encoders that sound the sirens and a fully trained staff keeping in constant contact with spotters and emergency crews.

“If you're fortunate it didn't hit you, be happy it didn't, but the reality is these storms are hitting people and we need to take them very seriously," said Jolliff.

Every year is different. In 2014 Tulsa County Emergency Management didn't have to sound the sirens at all.

We also spoke with Wagoner County which does not provide county-wide sirens. Emergency Management said that is up to each city in the county.

The area where The Crossing neighborhood is located is an area that does not have sirens.