Monday, May 6, 2019

Congratulations Sedgwick County Emergency Management

Yesterday's threatening sky
We had multiple tornadoes in Kansas yesterday evening. But, a one point, we had something new in the Wichita Sedgwick Co. area: silence. Below is an illustration of why this was so important.
The red polygons of the two tornado warnings for Sedgwick County. In the bad old days, the tornado sirens would have been sounded in all of Sedgwick Co. because they were set up on a system where the emergency manager (EM) had to sound them all or none. This was partly because of technical issues and partly because we had, for a period of time, an emergency manager who didn't think meteorologists knew what they were doing so he would intentionally "over-warn" because, as a politician, it was better to be "safe than sorry."

Fortunately, Sedgwick Co. moved to professional emergency management and installed sirens that could be sounded in and near the warning polygons rather over the entire county. So, when tornado warning #1 was issued, the sirens were silent at my home -- no false alarm!

When the second tornado warning was issued, the sirens did sound in our neighborhood.

This approach will improve the credibility of the warning system with fewer unnecessary false alarms. Congratulations Sedgwick County!!

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