From Shannah Hayley
City of Plano Communications Director
After last night’s storms, I want to let you know the City of Plano is transitioning to wail-only outdoor warning sirens. Confusion caused by the voice messaging warnings illustrates the importance of this transition.
Last night as a thunderstorm approached Plano, spotters, police officers and residents all reported a funnel cloud. The decision was made to sound the sirens. A voice message “tornado warning” accompanied the sirens. The National Weather Service did not issue a tornado warning, but later confirmed there was a low funnel cloud over the Legacy corridor that did not touch down.
The voice messaging can be confusing and/or difficult to hear. In many cases, our residents are going outside to hear the messages. That is the opposite of what they need to do. The wail sirens are designed to warn people who are outdoors to take shelter and seek more information.
The City does not have messages prerecorded to address the full spectrum of hazards in which sirens may be used in Plano. We are limited by the software used to sound the sirens by the number of messages we can prerecord.
The wail only warnings will be three minutes in length when sounded.
The siren system will be tested on the first Wednesday of the month, weather permitting. During the monthly test, the sirens will sound for one minute and announce test after the tone. You can learn more about the criteria for sounding Plano’s outdoor warning sirens here: https://youtu.be/_M3o2ZXR6dk