Outdoor Warning system to improve

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Some changes could be coming to the guidelines to activate the City’s outdoor warning system.

During a work session of the Ottumwa City Council late Monday afternoon, Josh Stevens Wapello County Emergency Management Coordinator told the council the guidelines that govern the activation of the outdoor storm warning system has changed over the past several years.

Steven told the City Council he has attended several meetings with the National Weather Service and other officials in the state and they all says the trend has changed when it comes to setting off the outdoor warning stem.

Stevens says more and more communities are activating the warning system when there’s hail of at least one inch or more and a sustained wind of at least 70 mph.

Stevens told the council the change means the sirens will be sounded more often and said people could start to ignore them. Josh also told the council there needs to be a PR session to educate the public if the changes are approved by the city council. Stevens estimates the city’s outdoor warning system has been sounded 8 times over the past 3 years.

Stevens says the city’s sirens were quite old and were replaced without the voice messages which he says has become the standard in the state.