After National Weather Service officials verified Monday’s tornado in Warsaw, many people took to social media to ask why a tornado warning wasn’t issued or sirens activated.
The weather service confirmed a small tornado touched down Monday night in an area northeast of the downtown, damaging trees and homes.
No injuries were reported.
“There was no tornado warning issued for Kosciusko County, and without that or a visual from trained a spotter or law enforcement, fire department, somebody like that, saying there’s a tornado in the area, then the sirens are not going to go off,” according to Ed Rock, Kosciusko County Emergency Management Director.
“It’s one of those things where if the National Weather Service doesn’t pick it up to begin with, then obviously we have no clue. That’s what the weather service is for; to make those determinations.
“There shouldn’t have been sirens going off because there was no indication of it. It’s Mother Nature, and she’s going to make her own decisions.”
Rick Shepherd, director of the Kosciusko County 911 dispatch center, said that there were no reports “that I know of” of a tornado from either law enforcement officers or the public. He said that in his experience, more often than not intense rain prevents law enforcement officers from getting a good look at the storm.
Shepherd said the only criteria for setting off sirens was either a tornado warning issued by the weather service or a law enforcement officer reporting a sighting. When somebody calls in with such a report, an officer will seek to verify it before a warning is issued.
After a tornado warning is issued, the weather service contacts central dispatch, which activates the sirens.
He added that sirens are not activated for severe thunderstorm warnings, even if high wind speeds are anticipated with the storm.
NWS Northern Indiana Meteorologist In Charge Mark Frazier said
“As far as sirens, that’s up to the local government, whether that be county or city. We do not have direct control of the sirens. Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service and, upon receipt by the local government, it is their decision on how and when they will sound sirens, if they have those in place.
NWS Northern Indiana Meteorologist In Charge Mark Frazier said “as far as sirens, that’s up to the local government, whether that be county or city. We do not have direct control of the sirens. Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service and, upon receipt by the local government, it is their decision on how and when they will sound sirens, if they have those in place within their jurisdiction.”
Fraizer added that meteorologists on duty decided not to issue a tornado warning based on the information they had at the time.
“As far as the event in the Warsaw area, the warning meteorologists were tracking the storms and trying to make the determination, based on environmental conditions as well as radar data, whether or not a tornado warning was warranted at that time,” Frazier said.
“We’re still doing a review as far as the data that was being viewed. We do an in-house review, and that is one of the things we’re working on this week into next week. So we’re going to look at that and learn from that, but in that case they made a decision not to do a warning because the conditions and the criteria hadn’t been met.”
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer, who was attending a city council meeting when the storm hit, said he walked through three neighborhoods affected by the storm and talked to numerous residents.
“The common theme was that it came up very quickly,” Thallemer said in a message this morning. “No complaints that I heard.”