Issues persist with Davidson Co. tornado sirens

tornado sirens
Posted at 3:05 PM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 23:30:46-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Strong storms pushed through the mid-state Friday afternoon, prompting a Tornado Warning for parts of Davidson County. Metro's tornado sirens sounded, but continued to go off well past the warning's timeframe, and also went off in some areas that were not warned.

The Tornado Warning was issued for a northwest area of the county near Joelton and Bordeaux at 12:47 until 1:07 p.m.

However, even after the National Weather Service expired the warning, sirens continued to sound. At 2:45 p.m. the Nashville Office of Emergency Management tweeted the following:

"We are aware of the issue involving our Outdoor Tornado Alert System. OEM personnel are currently investigating the situation. We will provide more information as it becomes available."

The issue is not new to Nashvillians, the sirens have been a problem in the past. In May, the OEM office installed additional tornado sirens and a new activation system.

Officials said 20 new sirens were installed in parts of town where many people outside couldn't hear them.

When we talked with OEM Director William Swann back in May, he said the new system would only activate sirens if they’re in a smaller polygon of a tornado warning — not activating all of the sirens in the county. He explained that they should automatically activate seconds after a tornado warning is issued.

After looking into the problem, the Office of Emergency Management said the software malfunctioned during Friday's storms.

The department said in a press release, "A radio connection to three to four sirens in the warning area failed to shut off the sirens."

Thus, the sirens continued to sound. Once dispatchers were made aware of the problem, they made a manual override, deactivating the sirens, which allowed dispatchers to shut them off.

"OEM is working with the NWS as well as the contractor that installed the upgraded system to address this issue to keep this type of malfunction from happening in the future," the press release stated.