There are numerous questions regarding why the outdoor warning sirens were not activated during Monday’s storm. The outdoor warning sirens are just one of several methods of notification. Designed for outdoor notification and is not intended to be heard indoors; numerous other methods of severe weather notification are activated and were utilized during Monday’s storm.
The decision not to activate the sirens was made when the National Weather Service warned only of a radar indicated tornado over Grandview, Mo. There were no reports of rotation or a funnel reported by trained spotters in the area.
As the storm moved through the City, it momentarily intensified and spawned a brief (EF1) tornado in the area of Chipman Road and Olive Street where it did significant structural damage to a business and other structures in the area. As it moved eastward, the storm weakened, but not before doing structural roof damage to an apartment building and several townhomes.
Although the sirens were not utilized, other methods of notification were. Those notification systems included NOAA All-Weather Hazard Radios, which is your best method of severe weather notification at home; text messages and media notification. The Lee’s Summit Fire Department stresses that the public stay aware of possible severe weather and have at least two methods of severe weather notification. The most reliable method of notification is your own senses. If the weather conditions outside appear threatening, take shelter.
The Lee’s Summit Fire Department and the City of Lee’s Summit will re-evaluate its policy regarding severe weather notification.