Code Red Weather Alerts Available In Sand Springs

Monday, March 23rd 2009, 5:34 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

SAND SPRINGS, OK -- When severe weather threatens, weather warnings are possible and in some communities, they'll come by telephone.  Sand Springs is the latest community to alert people by phone in addition to activating storm sirens.  They've already used the system twice this year.

Artie Palk turned a hobby of monitoring the weather into a part time job helping warn people in Sand Springs.  He works for the Emergency Operations Center.  Now, he's advising people to sign up for a free, telephone weather alert system called Code Red.

"A flash flood warning, tornado warning or severe thunderstorm warning, that will activate it automatically," said Artie Palk with Sand Springs Emergency Operations Center.

The system calls people who have registered their phone number on the city website and selected the weather alert option.

"More or less get your ears on, and eyes out, start looking.  There are some things on the horizon you may be interested in," said Greg Fisher with the Sand Springs Emergency Operations Center.

The system doesn't provide a specific weather forecast, just a notification of a warning from the National Weather Service.

Sand Springs has plenty of tornado sirens, but only people who are outdoors are usually able to hear them.  The Code Red system has the advantage of being able to notify people no matter where they are.

"Code Red is a supplement to the sirens.  The sirens are good for outdoors and they're not designed to be heard inside a building or house," said Artie Palk with Sand Springs EOC.

The city has 19 sirens that cover most of Sand Springs, while only 2,000 people have signed up for the Code Red alerts.

With severe weather season here, Palk believes more people need to sign up so they'll get the alert, no matter where they are.

The Sand Springs version of Code Red is available only to people who live there, but several other communities offer a similar free service.      

A weather radio provides the same alerts with the added advantage of relaying specific information about the threat and forecast.