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Old 04-02-2008, 06:30 AM   #31
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wow, do you name all cyclones there Bilby? If we named all the tornadoes here we'd run out of names!!
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Old 04-02-2008, 06:35 AM   #32
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I live in a rural area and when we moved here, I was sure there was no sirens. However, on the next hill over from us there is a fire station and they have a siren. We can hear it when it goes off. It always freaks me out when the sirens go off! In this area, they sound the sirens for thunder storm warnings AND tornado warnings so I usually immediatley go down to the basement and try to figure out which it is.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:13 AM   #33
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I live in a town of 3500 and we deifinitely have them; they are tested the first week of every month. We also have weekly tests on the TV for the purpose of any kind of storm warning. Luckily the former has not been used in the years I've lived here for other than test purposes. In Hawaii we also had them (hurricanes, tsunamis), also were tested regularly (I cannot remember if it was weekly or monthly).
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:06 AM   #34
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We have sirens here in Missouri, in town. I can't hear them from the house, but I generally have the weather radio on if I am worried.

I think every house should have a weather radio. I can set mine so that a warning tone comes on when there is a thunderstorm/tornado warning for my county. It has battery backup so if the power goes out, the radio still works. It is also a regular FM radio, so I can listen to local stations for news.

The police department will definitely know if there is a tornado warning. They are often deployed as spotters during a storm, and are the first to know of bad weather.

Tornado warnings may seem like a pain, and going to the basement a chore, but lots of lives have been saved by the warnings. Take them seriously--head for cover when you hear one, or be prepared to head for cover. (I usually hang out on the front porch, watching the sky, 10 feet from the cellar door. I am not going down in that damp nasty place til I see the funnel.)
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:06 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrThunder88 View Post
Wow, every Wednesday? Up in Oakland Co, ours are only tested on the first Saturday of every month during tornado season. On test day it's a bit of a chore as officers are posted to make sure the sirens are all working. What's worse is that people will still call wondering if there's a tornado (which the police department is not likely to know) or if "we're under attack."

Fortunately, I don't think I've heard one sounded for a storm in the last 10 years.
When I lived in Jackson, MI, they tested their sirens 12 noon the first Saturday of the month. I had the misfortune to be DIRECTLY UNDER ONE for the April 2006 test. Needless to say, I almost had to change my shorts. A couple months later, there was a small F0 tornado that came through almost at the Jackson Co. / Washtenaw Co. line, damaged a barn and a couple trees I think. Because of the way the sirens were wired, for a small piddly twister on the eastern border of the county, moving into another county, they had to blow the sirens for THE ENTIRE COUNTY. I mean, get with it! Can't you rig the sirens so only the towns / townships that are under the gun (or is it cloud?) actually get the alert? That's how it's done here in OK.

It's interesting to see that most places that have Tornado sirens actually test them on Wednesday. Here in the Tulsa suburban area of OK, most cities test their sirens with an audible test 12 noon every Wednesday, and an ultrasonic test (inaudible to humans, but testing equipment and dogs hear it) on some other day/time. I first heard about the ultrasonic tests 10 years ago. I'm not sure if they still do those or not.

Where I live, I'm not sure if we have a siren close by. However, you can hear those things from miles off. Besides that fact that when the weather gets crappy, we're automatically tuning in to the weather, as my wife is paranoid about tornadoes, whereas I'm used to sirens going off. She panicks if there's a t-storm watch.

I've never seen a tornado. I've lived in OK for most of my life, and only seen ONE wall cloud. It passed over the house I was taking shelter in at the time, but luckily didn't have a funnel hanging down from it.

I would encourage everyone to do some research and learn to identify the following weather phenomenon:

"gustnadoes" a.k.a. "front line tornadoes" : These form on the LEADING edge of a storm or gust front, and often are just really strong whirlwinds or dust devils. They do relatively little, if any, damage. A true tornado usually forms on the back side of a storm, usually indicated by a "hook", "comma", or "notch" in the radar return for that storm.

"gust front" (I'd have to look that one up myself)

"Wall cloud" : the lowered section of cloud that actually produces a tornado. This is part of the meso-cyclone with the storm that generates the rotation. Wall clouds are often visibly rotating, which is a key difference to to cloud formations, which don't seem to rotate visibly in front of you.

"Rain wrapped" : is a phrase used to describe a tornado that is completely encircled by rain, and NOT visible to the naked eye.

"Micro-burst" : This is a weather phenomenon that can actually look like a wall cloud. However, it DOES NOT ROTATE. You may not actually see the cloud moving with your naked eye, but if you look at the cloud, look away, look back after a few seconds, and repeat, it will look something like a "mushroom cloud" from an explosion, only it moves from the cloud cover towards the ground. Micro-bursts contain a strong down-draft of cold air, often containing heavy rain and maybe hail. When they reach the ground, the wind from the micro-burst will radiate out along the ground in all directions away from the center of the micro-burst, often at high velocities (I know, because I've driven through one). Imagine turning on a garden hose, hold the hose about 6" above your driveway, and point the nozzle straight down. The water will fan out in all directions. The micro-burst I drove through was only about half a mile in diameter. I'm not sure how big they get, but the "micro" part of the name tells me they don't get too terribly big. A micro-burst occuring on the final approach path or take-off path of an airstrip can and has lead to aircraft crashing.

Bilby, suziequzie, I think you all have the term "cyclone" mixed up. For our Austrailian brethern (and sisters), a "cyclone" is what we consider a hurricane, or what southeast Asia calls a "typhoon".
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:41 AM   #36
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Ours are tested 1st wed of the month also. 1 pm.
Last month I was at the post office.
Apparantly the one in town is on top of city hall, across the street from the post office.
Which reminds me i have to go to town today...... better go soon I think it's wed #1 and I doubt the 2 yr old would care to be there next to the siren.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:46 AM   #37
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Dang, I forgot a couple things.

In the same newscast that mentioned the ultrasonic test for tornado sirens, they also mentioned the alarm klaxon that would sound off in the event of a nuclear attack (this was back in the early 90's). If I remember right, it was some sort of pulsing, on-off type of sound. Maybe a call to your local civil defense and asking a question could get an explanation of what it would sound like.

Another weather phenomenon to learn about is called a "landspout". This is basically the same thing as a waterspout, but occurs over land. These aren't really a classic tornado (although tornadoes that move over water are called "waterspouts"). They are formed when tropical weather conditions are present; i.e. hot, humid air with little to no wind. Updrafts formed by the surface heating air will sometimes develop a rotation. These are like BIG dust devils, they're only visible when there's something in the air, like dust or leaves, and the track on the ground as the rotating wind flattens the grass. I've experienced two, and was called about a third once. I was working drive-through at a fast food joint, when a phone call came in. I answered it, and it was the fire captain of the fire station down the street. They had recieved a phone call of a "tornado" at my location, and since they couldn't see anything, they wanted confirmation before rolling out to respond. I opened the drive window, looked out, and told the officer that the skies were most sunny, with an almost non-existent breeze. No funnel clouds in sight. It wasn't until later that night on the local news that I learned there was a "landspout" in my area.

Some of you all mentioned "doppler" radar. Around here, that's old-hat. We got doppler radar 10 - 15 years ago. The radar for the local news stations has the usual rain return, doppler for wind direction/speed, an indicator for meso-cyclone (rotation within a storm), reports of the size of hail (if any) within a storm, as well as rain-fall radar estimates.

Here's some links to the websites for the local weather:
Channel 2 Works for You Weather - KJRH.com
NewsChannel 8 - StormTracker | NewsChannel 8
NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com | Weather
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Old 04-02-2008, 07:26 PM   #38
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We have sirens but the trouble is, if they go off at night, I don't hear them. I have slept thought lots of warnings.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:00 PM   #39
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[quote=AllenOK;578968
Some of you all mentioned "doppler" radar. Around here, that's old-hat. We got doppler radar 10 - 15 years ago. The radar for the local news stations has the usual rain return, doppler for wind direction/speed, an indicator for meso-cyclone (rotation within a storm), reports of the size of hail (if any) within a storm, as well as rain-fall radar estimates. [/quote]

Allen, I am in my 60's, and anything 10-15 years old is new to me.

Also, you should look cyclone up on Wikipedia.
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:15 PM   #40
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Yes, have them here in Champaign.

Had one across the street where I used to live. Forget about trying to hear a tornado when that thing is going off.
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