Tornado siren malfunctions in Amarillo: What caused the false alert?

Tornado siren malfunctions in Amarillo: What caused the false alert?

AMARILLO, TX - Sleep was cut short Monday morning for residents living in Amarillo's northeast side of town following a tornado siren malfunction.

Just before 1:30 a.m., the siren located at the intersection of N.E. 15th and Mirror St. began ringing.

"Water or moisture got into the control board and shorted the board out which caused the malfunction," Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Starbuck said.

In Woodward last month, lightening had struck the tower which activates the sirens.

Residents there had no warning a tornado was on its way.

"Weather is certainly a factor with how sirens work," Jose Garcia with the National Weather Service said. "Don't just depend on one warning method."

However, many residents rely on the tornado sirens as the first warning sign that danger is near.

With two incidents involving malfunctioning or false alarms within the last 30 days, the question of reliability is at the center of debate.

Garcia says despite these glitches, residents should still hold trust in the sirens.

"You really have to pay attention to them," he said. "You can't discount a warning siren because you never know when that tornado may strike."

Everyone in the Texas Panhandle is encouraged to have a battery operated NOAA radio in their household.

They can be purchased at most United Supermarket locations for around $30 or click on the link.