Davidson County’s tornado sirens could get upgrade

Weather

Since the Davidson County tornado siren system was implemented in 2003 and upgraded in 2012, all of the system’s sirens would sound even if only one part of the county was affected.   

Currently, Metro has ninety-three sirens placed strategically throughout the county. 

In 2007, the National Weather Service began issuing “polygonal” warnings for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding, which would target only those parts of counties that were in harm’s way. 

In November of 2017, some Davidson County residents complained when a tornado warning for the far southeast part of the county sounded in unaffected neighborhoods, prompting Bellevue Councilman Dave Rosenberg to sponsor a resolution for a feasibility study to upgrade the sirens to only warn the part of the county in danger.   

It would be done using modern GPS technology. The resolution passed unanimously.  

News 2 Meteorologist Davis Nolan spoke with Councilman Rosenberg on Tuesday.  

“Out here, there’s been a lot of frustration about ‘blue sky tornado warnings,’ where there’s a storm that’s already passed through Bellevue, the sun has come out here.  But there are tornado sirens going off because there’s something going on on the other end of the county.  That’s frustrated constituents from the perspective of them being concerned there’s something going on, but also them doubting the validity of the tornado sirens all the time.  So many false positives tend to make people ignore the sirens entirely.  And that’s dangerous and not a place we want to be.” 

Councilman Rosenberg said the study showed the upgrade would cost about $500,000 and has support from most of the council, Mayor David Briley, and Vice Mayor Sherri Weiner are all supportive of the idea.   

The question is, will it make it into this year’s capital spending plan? 

News 2 contacted the Mayor’s Office and they said, ” The Mayor’s Office has worked with the Office of Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, academic partners, and Councilman Rosenberg to explore best practices in tornado siren usage and area targeting. We are reviewing Metro’s capital needs and will be making recommendations to the Council in the fall.  We are looking at all of Metro’s capital needs, and we haven’t decided what those recommendations will be yet.” 

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