Spring in Oklahoma City brings a lot of activities that we look forward to each year – the blooms at Myriad Gardens, patio season at our favorite restaurants, the start of the OKC Dodgers season – but it also brings with it an increased likelihood of severe weather. Since OKC recently changed its tornado siren policy, it is important for both long-time residents and OKC newbies to review the changes.
Oklahoma City’s new tornado siren policy makes it more important than ever to immediately take shelter and get more information when you hear a siren. In previous years, OKC sounded all of its sirens within a county affected by a National Weather Service (NWS) tornado warning. For example, if the NWS issued a tornado warning in Cleveland County, Oklahoma City sounded all of its Cleveland County sirens. As a result, people could hear sirens far away from tornado threats.
The important new policy change divides OKC into zones. When the NWS issues a tornado warning, only the sirens in zones covered by the warning will sound. Residents and visitors don’t need to know what zone they’re in, only to immediately take shelter and get more information if they hear a siren. Oklahoma City will continue to test its sirens every Saturday at noon unless there is a threat of severe weather.
Emergency management officials recommend you have more than one way to get warnings and other information about storms. Information sources include NOAA weather radios, smartphone apps, television news, traditional radios and online news and weather websites.
People with disabilities can receive alerts and warnings from the city’s Accessible Hazard Alert System (AHAS). Go to okc.ahasalerts.com to learn more.