NORA SPRINGS, Ia – Several local communities may be hearing their alert sirens sound more often.
That’s because they are now warning residents about more than just tornadoes.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Linda Froning is talking about her community’s change to their alert system.
Citizens of Nora Springs, Rockford, and Rudd will all be noticing alarms sounding for wind speeds 65 miles per hour as well as tornadoes.
All three towns recently purchased new equipment to better monitor outside activity since they are between national weather stations.
“We get our weather out of LaCrosse and west of here in Cerro Gordo county they get theirs out of Des Moines so we decided that we needed to know a little bit more accurately right here in Nora Springs so we decided to go ahead and purchase the equipment,” says Assistant Fire Chief Tom Alden.
The equipment measures everything from wind gusts to rain totals, and now they are putting it to use. City officials tell us this will be more of a precautionary measure so those threatened by severe weather can take action.
“We figure at 65 miles an hour, that’s when you can start having physical damage to buildings, mobile homes, we have a mobile home court here and by having this we can alert people east of us what’s coming ahead,” says Alden.
“You know make people aware that there is something that is coming and to stay away from doors and windows,” adds City Administrator Deborah Gaul.
But a tornado drill might not always be necessary. So it’s important that community members know what’s going on around them.
“As long as everybody knows and you get it out there so people aren’t scared when it goes off,” says Froning.
That was one concern folks had, the extra sirens may instill unnecessary fear. Others are worried about people getting so used to the alarms they wind up ignoring them.
“If the sirens are going off I’m hoping they do take it seriously we don’t want to have them set off on every little gust of wind it’s something that the fire department as storm spotters are they are out there in the community and they’re seeing things going on and want to warn the citizens whether it be within or in rural areas,” says Gaul.
However most folks we spoke with are all for this change.
“If the winds are 65 miles an hour I think you kind of need to take cover anyway,” adds Froning.
These changes will be effective immediately in Nora Springs, Rockford, and Rudd.