Contact Us
Make My Homepage

Who Decides When to Sound the Tornado Sirens? (It’s a Little Complicated)

Yellow Siren
Alenate/ThinkStock

Ever wonder who decides when to sound the tornado sirens? The answer is, ‘It depends.’ According to the National Weather Service; individual counties and cities own the sirens, and decide independently how and when to activate them. The NWS does not control the sirens.

Because of that, each county or city may have different guidelines as when to activate the sirens. Some will activate sirens across the entire county for tornado warnings only.  Others will activate sirens countywide for tornado warnings and all severe thunderstorm warnings. Some will activate sirens across the entire county for tornado warnings and severe thunderstorms that have winds of at least 70 or 75 mph. Others will activate sirens only for portions of counties.  Local officials may also sound the sirens anytime they believe severe weather is a threat, even if there is no warning from the National Weather Service.

WEATHER

Stearns County will sound the sirens when a tornado warning is issued by the National Weather Service, OR when there have been reports of 70+ mph wind gusts or golf ball sized hail, OR a funnel cloud has been reported by a public safety official to be halfway to the ground from the could base, OR a tornado is within 10 miles and approaching.

When Stearns County sounds the sirens, they will run for three minutes. When they stop, it doesn’t mean the threat is over. You’re urged to get weather conditions from local media to know when it’s safe again. If sirens sound a second time, it’s not an all-clear. It means the National Weather Service has issued another warning.

Additionally, the sirens are sounded statewide at 1:00 PM the first Wednesday of each month as a test.

When severe weather watches or warnings are issued, tune to 98.1 Minnesota’s New Country for all the latest information. We’ll have you covered all spring & summer long.

Get the '98.1 Insider' Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest Minnesota & music news in your inbox a couple times a week. If we're not awesome, drop us like a hot potato.

Best of 98.1

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://minnesotasnewcountry.com using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for 98.1 Insiders quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive 98.1 Insiders Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.