Tornado sirens, better known as outdoor warning systems, are designed for one purpose: to alert people who are outdoors of potential tornadoes. They are not intended, nor designed, to alert people in houses, businesses or vehicles of possible tornadoes.
Historically since 1950, Douglas County averages one tornado per year across the County with five documented tornados in Castle Rock in the same time frame with no deaths reported. Lightning strikes pose more risk to individuals in Castle Rock than tornados.
Outdoor warning systems can be expensive. Based on the model that says one siren covers 1 mile, the Town would need at least 34 sirens at a cost of about $30,000 each, or $1.02 million. That amount does not include annual maintenance and fees. And, the sirens only alert people who are outdoors and only for one type of severe weather event. As we are in an area that is very prone to lightning strikes, some areas of the country also report that they regularly have to repair or replace sirens struck by lightning.
To be prepared in the event of tornadic activity, the Town recommends that each homeowner and business purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio. A good radio costs $25 and $50 and can be purchased at local stores. Some are even portable. These radios will alert you to any severe weather, not just tornadoes.
Residents also can register with a number of free services on the Internet to have severe weather alerts sent to their mobile devices and / or email. Residents are also encouraged to monitor local media for information when conditions indicate the potential for any type of severe weather. These steps will ensure that you get notified of severe weather whether you are at home, work or outdoors.
Preparedness begins with the individual, and these are two easy steps to be more prepared.