Severe Weather Notification Sirens
Severe Weather and Outdoor Warning System
Are you interested in learning more about severe weather and how you can protect yourself and your family? The Office of Emergency Management has produced a presentation that outlines how you can take the proper steps to prepare for any type of emergency.
The most common hazard that residents of Southlake face is the threat of severe weather. Severe weather comes in many forms from ice storms, high winds and rain to extreme heat, hail and even tornadoes. Please visit Ready.gov to find tips on how to prepare for emergencies.
Severe Weather Notification
The Office of Emergency Management recognizes the danger of severe weather and has taken steps to provide early warning to the residents and visitors of Southlake. One of the methods that we use to provide early warning is the Outdoor Warning System
Outdoor Warning System Information
The city has five Outdoor Warning Sirens that are strategically located within Southlake. The sirens are located at:
- DPS West facility - 2100 West Southlake Blvd
- DPS Headquarters - 600 State Street
- Public Works Operations - 1950 East Continental
- Bob Jones Park - 3901 North White Chapel
- Bicentennial Park - 400 North White Chapel
The City of Southlake tests its Outdoor Warning System on the first Wednesday of each month at 1:00 pm.
Why Don't We Have Sirens in my Neighborhood?
The City’s five sirens, which make up the Outdoor Warning System, are strategically within the city to warn people in our common outdoor areas (our parks and shopping centers). The purpose of the OWS is to warn those who may be outdoors during a sudden storm event and encourage them to take immediate shelter, not to warn people in their homes. To receive warning within your home, the best resource available is a NOAA Weather Radio which can be programmed with a code to activate when there are storm warnings in your area—these radios are for purchase at many local retailers for around $29.
When Will the Outdoor Warning System be Activated?
The Office of Emergency Management has specific criteria for the activation of the Outdoor Warning System, which is based on guidelines set by the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
The OWS Activation Criteria are:
- The National Weather Service issues a Tornado Warning or Severe Thunderstorm Warning with the phrase "Destructive winds in excess of 70 mph (or higher) are likely with this storm" for the immediate area.
- Trained SYWARN Storm Spotters have reported a tornado in neighboring cities, approaching Southlake, and/or has the imminent potential to affect Southlake.
- Trained SYWARN Storm Spotters have reported confirmed winds in excess of 65 mph (or higher) in neighboring cities, approaching Southlake, and/or has the imminent potential to affect Southlake.
- Reported hail of 1.25 inches in diameter or greater in adjacent cities, approaching Southlake, and/or has the imminent potential to affect Southlake.
Do you want to ensure that you will be alerted to severe weather events in the area? Purchase a NOAA weather radio, which provides emergency alerts and information 24 hours a day. You can program a NOAA Weather Radio to broadcast alerts based on the county that you reside in, ensuring that you have ample time to take shelter. Visit the National Weather Service's NOAA Weather Radio page to learn more.
Severe Weather Shelter Information
Sheltering from a Tornado
Follow these guidelines when it comes to sheltering from a tornado:
- Go to the lowest possible level of a building or structure (Ex: First floor, basement, storm cellar)
- Choose an interior room with no windows, such as a closet or bathroom
- Get underneath sturdy piece of furniture and cover neck and head
- Avoid places / rooms with wide-span roofs (cafeterias, gymnasiums, shopping malls)
- Mobile Homes are not safe shelters; you should make plans before the storm arrives to get to a pre-planned shelter
- Do not attempt to outrun a tornado in your automobile, seek shelter inside a nearby building. Be sure not to choose a large box store with a wide-span roof.
- If stranded outside lie down in a ditch or low lying area away from the vehicle, but remain aware of possible flash flooding
- Do not seek shelter underneath a bridge or overpass
Why doesn't Southlake have public storm shelters?
The City does not have public storm shelters because while they may seem like a good idea, they often come with more risks than benefits to residents including:
- Opening public buildings as storm shelters gives a false sense of security and may offer no more protection than a well-built residential structure.
- Traveling to a public storm shelter could put you at greater risk than if you sheltered in place. Traffic is likely to get congested if everyone is heading toward one location. Your vehicle is one of the most dangerous places to be during a tornado.
- Tornadoes can happen at night. If a storm wakes you at 2 a.m. you likely won’t have enough time to gather your family, load them into a car and drive to a storm shelter. Sheltering in place affords you the quickest and best protection for a short notice event.
- The City has not built public storm shelters because it would be impossible to shelter even a small percentage of the population.
Skywarn is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service's (NWS) severe weather spotting program with nearly 290,000 trained volunteers nationwide. Since the late 1960’s, trained Skywarn spotters have helped support the NWS's primary mission of protecting life and property through the issuance of severe weather warnings. These dedicated citizens help keep their local community safe by conveying severe weather reports to their local NWS Forecast Office. Skywarn spotters are integral to the success of our Nation's severe weather warning system.
The Office of Emergency Management utilizes Skywarn trained storm spotters in conjunction with the Northeast Tarrant Amateur Radio Club to monitor the skies in the event of severe weather.
Every year the NWS conducts Skywarn spotter training sessions. There is no charge and a typical class takes about 2 hours to conduct. For information on Skywarn Training please visit the National Weather Service's Skywarn Page or find local training information from the NWS.