Dozens of people who live in Longview are wondering why the city didn’t activate their early warning sirens as severe storms rolled through the area.
City officials tell KETK News they didn’t turn on the sirens because the National Weather Service never issued an active tornado warning for Gregg County.
It’s city policy to only use the tornado sirens when a tornado warning has been issued.
Wednesday, Gregg County was under a severe thunderstorm warning, but there was no indication of any tornadic threats.
The only other way the city would turn the sirens on is if a trained weather spotter had a confirmed tornado sighting.
“We don’t want to activate the sirens all the time. If they’re going off all the time, people aren’t going to pay attention to them. And yes, there will be times, like Wednesday, where we have really strong thunderstorms. In this case, we think it was straight-line winds. You can have situations where the sirens don’t go off as it’s all based on the warning we have in advance,” Shawn Hara, the city spokesperson told us.
Two years ago, Longview had similar complaints about the sirens.
An EF-1 tornado hit and people complained they never heard the warnings.
At the time, city officials said some of their sirens had issues rotating.
Those problems were later fixed.
Harra says the best way to get a storm warning is on your smartphone.
You can sign up for Longview’s Code Red Service, which will send you alerts, even during thunderstorms.
Another option is to check your phone’s settings and make sure you have Government Emergency Warnings activated.
A better option, download the East Texas Storm Team App.