City of Dallas residents encouraged to stay weather aware and be prepared
In Texas, severe weather can happen at any time, and severe thunderstorms may form in a matter of minutes, often bringing large hail, damaging winds, dangerous tornadoes, and lightning. These storms also produce heavy rain, dropping several inches in an hour, that can cause hazardous flash flooding.
The City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management (OEM) maintains numerous outdoor emergency warning sirens strategically placed throughout the city. Sirens are tested on the first Wednesday of each month at noon unless severe weather is in the area. The Outdoor Warning Siren (OWS) System warns residents who may be outdoors of an imminent severe weather event in the community and encourages them to immediately seek shelter indoors. Sirens are not intended to warn residents who may be indoors during the event, although in some cases, residents may hear the sirens inside their homes or business. When sirens sound, residents who are outdoors should quickly move indoors and seek shelter in an innermost room, away from glass windows, and tune to a local news or radio station, the local news broadcasting, the National Weather Service, OEM and City of Dallas social medias, until safe conditions have been restored. OEM’s Twitter account will also provide information on why sirens are sounding. Remember, 9-1-1 should only be utilized for emergencies requiring police or fire response.
OEM utilizes a criterion for sounding the OWS that are based upon regional framework. That criterion is as follows:
- The National Weather Service issues a Tornado Warning for areas in and around the City of Dallas.
- The National Weather Service issues a Severe Thunderstorm Warning with sustained winds in excess of 70 mph for areas in and around the City of Dallas.
- Trained storm spotters have reported a tornado in the City of Dallas, or in a neighboring jurisdiction with the potential to affect the City of Dallas.
- Reported hail of 1.5″ in diameter or greater (size may be adjusted for areas or events where large numbers of people are outdoors).
- Other emergency situations as deemed by the Office of Emergency Management.
When the National Weather Service issues a warning that meets any of the above criteria, OEM will activate the sirens in the impacted areas based on the warning polygon.
Residents are encouraged to have multiple ways of receiving crucial safety-related information, such as weather warnings. One such method is by purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio for use in your home and office. If you have disabled emergency notifications on your mobile device, you are encouraged to turn these notifications back on. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) may be sent by local and state public safety agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the National Weather Service (NWS). For more information about WEA messages, you may visit http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/wea.html.