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West Plains Police Department to test 17 tornado sirens today

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The West Plains Police Department will test 17 outdoor tornado sirens at 11 a.m. today.

West Plains Police Department dispatcher Corby Redburn said the department tests the sirens at that time on the second Wednesday of every month. 

“We will always have the tornado siren test unless there is pending weather coming in or an ongoing emergency incident,” he explained. 

Redburn said the city’s 17 sirens are all located within city limits. They can be found at Richards School, the intersection of Rhonda and Ginger drives, the intersection of Debra Drive and Lexington Avenue, and the corner of Kentucky Avenue and Imperial Drive, covering the central northern part of the city. Sirens are also located at Cambridge and Oakwood drives, covering the west-central part of the city in the Country Club area, and North Utah Avenue and West Broadway Street, covering the city's west-central parts. 

In the southwestern parts of West Plains, sirens stand at County Road 6300 and the Stoneybrooks and Quail Run subdivisions off K Highway, and at the intersection of Air Medical and Worley drives. Another is behind Shoe Sensation and next to Walmart in the Southern Hills Plaza, and sounds for the southern part of the city. 

A siren on Anderson Drive, directly behind Dairy Queen, covers the city's southeastern side, and another stands at the corner of Hickory and Lanton roads, right beside United Free Will Baptist Church. Also covering the southern part of the city is a siren at Gene Jones Park, next to the big blue water tower off of Aid Avenue.

The Missouri State University-West Plains campus has a siren onsite at the corner of Franklin and West Cass avenues, and the West Plains R-7 Schools campus, as well as neighboring residents, are served by a siren on Allen Street next to West Plains Elementary School.

Covering the northeastern part of the city is a siren at North Terra Golf Course, 1724 N. Terra St. off of BB Highway, and in the eastern part of the city, another stands at the corner of Washington Avenue and East Abe Taylor Street. Finally, the 17th siren is located on Old Airport Road next to the West Plains Solid Waste Transfer Station.

“When we conduct the test, and you do not hear a tornado siren at 11 a.m. in your neighborhood or your work, and you believe it may be malfunctioning, give us a call at the West Plains Police Department,” he said. 

In that event, residents should call 417-256-2244 to speak with someone with the department. 
The city also has an internal system that alerts them when a tornado siren malfunctions. 

“Remember, tornado sirens are meant for folks who are outdoors only,” cautioned Redburn. “They are not meant for folks inside the residence or workplace, and they can malfunction, so always have a second way of receiving notifications of a tornado warning.” 

He recommends the public check cellphones, the internet, the television, the radio or listen to the weather radio to see if there is a tornado warning in the area. 

 

WATCH VS. WARNING

Redburn said a tornado watch can be issued by the National Weather Service hours before a severe storm arrives. 

The tornado watch is intended to inform residents about the potential for a tornado in the area. The Storm Prediction Center uses it for counties where tornadoes may occur. 

The National Weather Service recommends residents review and discuss emergency plans, check supplies and look for a safe room during a tornado watch. 

When the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning, that means a tornado has been seen or radar has indicated a tornado in the area. 

“A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground. Tornadoes are capable of destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees and hauling objects through the air like deadly missiles,” according to the National Weather Service.

Redburn said that when a warning occurs, the public should seek shelter immediately: Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building or in a basement.

Do not stay outside, Redburn noted.

If in a mobile home, a vehicle or outdoors, the National Weather Service recommends people move to the closest substantial shelter to protect themselves from flying debris. 

The local forecast office in Springfield will issue tornado warnings.

 

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