Questions Loom After Sirens Fail In Washington County

STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) – Officials in the eastern part of the Twin Cities metro are counting their blessings Monday that there were no major reports of damage in Washington County due to severe weather.

That’s because despite a tornado warning being issued for Washington County at 2:45 p.m. Sunday for northwestern Washington County, sirens didn’t sound. Officials said activated the sirens at 2:48 p.m.

Less than 10 minutes later, first responders were reporting that the sirens were not on in some areas but were in others. Officials said they implemented the county’s backup system at that time, which also failed.

The National Weather Service issued a second tornado warning for Washington County at 3:10 p.m. while officials tried to fix the siren issue. By 3:23 p.m., all sirens were working properly, but the severe weather had already cleared the area.

Officials said Monday the sirens failed due to an equipment failure to the power supply in the county where signals are transmitted to the sirens. Equipment was back online by 6:30 p.m. The same equipment had its monthly test on May 4, and it was working properly at the time.

Washington County officials urged their citizens to not just rely on sirens in the case of severe weather. They stressed it’s also important to listen to local radio and sign up for online services that send text alerts and emails in the case of severe weather.

Two people died as a result of the tornado that struck north Minneapolis Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of homes suffered significant damage, dozens of people were injured and families throughout the city lost everything they had.

  • Michelle

    Strange i live in Oakdale and heard the sirens….

  • Shane G

    So they can send a space shuttle out of this world, yet they can’t figure out how to have seamless fail proof sirens?

    • Ron

      The sirens used to be maintained by the telephone company and they also tested them monthly and sent repair out to the ones that did not work.

      I question whether having the government take control was the proper way to do it, as everyone know how the government works!(or doesn’t)

  • Al Godfrey

    Trust me, I’m from the government and I am here to help you. What a bunch of you know what. The government never can do it better than private enterprise – they just want to save money and point fingers when their are failures.

  • mpls sux

    I thought there was only 1 death in the mpls tornado?

    Families lost everything they had… thats not saying much!

  • crazy fools

    I feel for the landlords….

    I also feel really bad for Joplin, MO. Now that, is losing everything.

  • jusford

    So much for monthly testing.

  • dah-der-dolt

    Weird you people don’t have tv’s to warn you of storms, my sirens went off 2 days str8 in coon rapids, and we got nothing, use the local news and common sense and you’re fine

  • BOB / StPAUL

    I use my laptop On Battery and can get local radar that way . I just do not trust sirens .I always have a laptop on when bad wheather in coming our way . Just in case I need to head for the basement & a I on the sky as you can see dark clouds Comeing at you . Then you can be ready for what comes my way

  • raceing91

    This Shows communities and counties around the state need to learn and do what Olmsted county does to make sure there sirens work all the time. they test more than once a month. Once a month testing is showing not be good because they do not show problems that are there after the first month of tests.

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