On Friday, Mayor David Briley announced that he would ask the Metro Council for $500,000 in equipment reserve funds to upgrade and modernize Nashville’s tornado siren system.   

This upgrade will allow the tornado sirens to sound only if they are in the actual “polygon” of the tornado warning.  Right now, all the sirens in Davidson County will go off, even if only one small part of the county is affected. 

The National Weather Service began using the polygonal warning system in 2007 to be more accurate in the areas that are warned, cutting down on false alarms and a “cry wolf” syndrome. 

In February the Metro Council unanimously passed a resolution for a feasibility study to look into the upgrade. 

Metro Councilman Dave Rosenberg spearheaded the drive to implement this type of system: 

“Right now, when a tornado siren goes off and it could be for something thirty miles away, not only is that annoying and inconvenient, but people become complacent and start ignoring the tornado sirens.  Then soon they become worthless when they are being ignored and mocked.  When we do this, we are enhancing public safety for a very small investment.  It allows folks to become confident in the tornado sirens.  And when they hear them, know that it means that they need to go find a safe place.” 

The resolution will come to the council a week from Tuesday, and there is widespread support amongst council members to push this through.