City pursuing funds for new warning sirens
Severe Weather Week is March 14-18. Take warnings seriously. If a siren is activated, take cover immediately.
By Jan Rahn
In three days it will officially be spring, and having already sprung our clocks forward, the arrival of warm weather will surely follow—which means time for severe weather.
The City of Grant is preparing to replace the warning sirens within city limits, but it won’t be done in time for the beginning of bad weather.
City Superintendent Tyson McGreer is working on a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency which will provide 75 percent of the cost if approved. The remaining funding would come from the Grant Suburban Fire District and from the City of Grant.
Two new sirens would replace the one at Grant City Park and the one on top of city hall—which would be relocated to a site at the Perkins County Courthouse.
The noon and 5 o’clock siren will still blow from atop city hall. A warning siren on the west side of town would remain in place also as extra caution.
“I see no reason to take it out—the more coverage the better,” said McGreer.
Although the new sirens will be powerful enough to provide coverage throughout the city, wind is always a factor in being able to hear, so leaving the siren in place on the west side of town is added precaution.
It could be months before an approval for funding comes through.
Depending on how much electrical work needs to be done, the cost could go as high as $50,000.
The new sirens will be radio activated, include three tones, and will have a 15-30 minute battery backup—an important factor when an approaching storm knocks out electricity.
That was the scenario in March 2007 when a large tornado was nearly upon the town. The sirens blew for an extended period of time before being silenced because electricity was lost.
It was a critical time for residents to take cover and instead they assumed the storm had passed. Fortunately, the funnel cloud turned another direction before arriving at city limits.
2010 Severe Weather Stats
Several tornadoes were spotted in the state during the past year.
• Total: 38 tornadoes in 2010, 13 fewer than over a 30-year average.
• The first tornado occurred on April 29.
• The last tornado occurred on Sept. 13.
• Strongest: Two EF2 tornadoes occurred—one in Keya Paha County and the other in Nuckolls County. There were no injuries.