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Weather sirens sound in Trumbull Co.

Published: Sun, June 6, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

Staff report


Sirens wailed in mid- afternoon Saturday after the National Weather Service issued a short-lived tornado warning for Trumbull County, but no tornado damage was reported.

After Windham firefighters called the Trumbull County 911 center, saying they saw an eastbound tornado along state Route 303 in Portage County, the center activated all Trumbull County emergency warning sirens and notified the National Weather Service, a 911 supervisor said.

The NWS issued a tornado warning for Trumbull County at 2:27 p.m. and canceled it at 3:15 p.m.

Callers to the 911 center from Niles, Warren and Howland reported seeing an eastbound funnel cloud along state Route 82. Warren Sam’s Club management told everyone in the store to gather at the center of the store.

Heavy rain fell at the same time, filling some residential yards with water, but not causing any major flooding. Some basement flooding was reported in Braceville and Bristolville, the 911 center reported.

A flash-flood watch is in effect through today for Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties in Ohio and in Mercer and Lawrence counties in Pennsylania.


1Lifesnadir(164 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

From as early as April, local weather sirens are activated. Siren buttons are pushed so frequently, it decreases their effectiveness as a reliable indicator of "danger".

Residents of Girard get a mighty blast from no less than 4 main sirens: Girard, of course, and those in Niles, McDonald, and sometimes Liberty. Obviously, Niles is wary after being struck in 1985. Theirs is the first siren Girard residents hear, the low wail coming in waves down Rt 422 past the cemetery and into the city limits. Liberty sirens, as well, waft and wane down to Girard. McDonald, just over the bridge, adds a stronger tone to the incessant "call to action". Girard's siren, of course, forms the main orchestra, with the low-high screech penetrating the old, weak frame houses built as long ago as 1900 or so. To be a downtown Girard resident means living with a good set of earplugs, or at least strong coping skills to mentally withstand the recurring blast of the tornado siren's "tune". I imagine people living next door, behind, or across the street from Girard VFD buy industrial strength ear protection to save their hearing--and sanity.

Further, in one rainstorm, Girard might set off their siren repeatedly. When these sirens started being used consistently after the 1985 Niles tornado, I called the Girard VFD to ask them the meaning of repeated sirens: What message is intended for the populace? How are citizens to interpret a siren going off every 15 minutes? Is it that the tornado is bearing down, ever closer, and the siren keeps "time", like a nervous new father timing the contractions of his laboring wife? Is the tornado forcing itself through houses and down streets, advancing, as a baby's head in the birth canal?

I was told that the siren goes off with every new report of a funnel cloud or tornado. So if a police cruiser parked up in Vienna reports a dark billowing cloud he believes could be a tornado, the siren goes. If 10 wary citizens also call with a NEW report and position, another round of the siren. When the National Weather Service makes more credible warnings, the siren - again - goes - wailing. One day, Girard's siren blasted about every 15 minutes! And of course, Niles, Liberty, and McDonald lent their background percussion-mix to the melee.

The warning sirens have an intended effect: to induce enough wariness to take action. Yet, the sirens have an unintended effect: to induce enough personal panic that a person's heart begins racing, breathing increases yet is more shallow, and the person doesn't know how to respond to the constant adrenaline as he/she tries to decide whether to "fight" by protesting the siren or begin "flight" away from the so-far-imaginary tornado.

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2Lifesnadir(164 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

As residents trapped in city dwellings, eventually, the "fight or flight" adrenaline response is dampened: We learn to IGNORE the false warnings that drone on and on. The science behind the "adrenaline rush" confirms that repeated exposure to a "danger" stimulus results in acclimation to the adrenaline---as well as to the stimulus (here, the siren). Without adrenaline-dampening, police and firefighters could not do their jobs 365 days a year; Instead, they'd succumb to the over-production of adrenaline and reaact in panic or the "fight or flight response".

WHY can't the NWS and Emergency Disaster officials recognize that these sirens are effectively immunizing whole communities and multiple generations who are learning to simply IGNORE the fight or flight response? We are powerless to fight the long-wailing sirens....and we have too often fled to our basements or an interior hallway, only to feel mightily stupid when all we get--maybe--is heavy rain. So now, the majority of us after 25 years of hearing that piercing, penetrating wail simply turn up the TV louder and grab another cold drink from the refrigerator! Wall-to-wall TV coverage backfires as well---we turn the channel to block it--- and thus, decrease the panic-we-can-do-nothing-about arising in our chests!

My solution would be to place the siren at more strategic locations, say on or near the bridge between McDonald and Girard. That way, both cities would hear it and be protected, but citizens would get relief from constant adrenaline. As well, the rules for activation need reviewed: how often, when, and through what reports? If the officials used better criteria, they might reverse the "adrenaline dampening" that has occurred in citizens over the last 25 years.

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3Billybob21(96 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree with u Lifesnadir it;s starting to be like the boy who cried wolf nobody knows nowadays why the sirens are going off every time it rains anymore its a tornado warning. The nws needs to get a better system.

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4dblbogey(17 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

We were awakened at 5:15 A.M. Sunday morning by the surrounding tornado sirens. Girard, McDonald, Niles, Mineral Ridge. That was a warning for bad weather in Orwell, Kinsman, Johnston, etc. Northern Trumbull Caounty and Geauga County. Was it really necessary for Girard, McDonald, Niles, and Mineral Ridge to sound their Sirens? I do appreciate the warning of impending bad weather to the local area, but I don think notifying people who aren't in the bad weather zone is quite necessary.

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