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'Quickly moving' storm impacts siren timing in Johnson County

Posted at 5:12 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 18:12:19-04

OLATHE, Kan. — The KSHB 41 I-Team is finding out whether the tornado sirens worked when the storm moved through the Kansas City area during the early morning hours on Wednesday.

RELATED | EF-1-rated storm causes damage in Johnson County, Kansas, Jackson County, Missouri

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning at 1:21 a.m. for Overland Park, Leawood, and Lee's Summit. Most of those areas are in Johnson County, Kansas.

The Johnson County Emergency Management division said they activated the outdoor warning sirens at 1:25 a.m.

RELATED | Overnight storms timeline

The director of the division, Trent Pittman, told KSHB 41 News the reason behind the delay was because the emergency operations center had not previously been activated.

Pittman said they try to be up and running when severe weather is a possibility, but they were not because of the time of the storm.

RELATED | Interactive map of storm damage

The assistant director of community preparedness, Claire Canaan, said how fast the tornado developed also played a factor.

"The storm was just very quickly moving. It just seemed a very rapidly evolving situation," Canaan said. "The sirens themselves were activated countywide, again, because of the short to no notice storm system."

The National Weather Service said the sirens are meant to warn people outside especially during the day. One of their meteorologists, Julie Adolphson, said they're useful at night too even when most people are inside.

"A lot has changed since the 60s when these were designed and so, again, there could be folks who are traveling," Adolphson said. "Some people get off second shift, if you will, and those types of things so, yes, they could be useful if you're outside."

Many places like Johnson County send out alerts if you sign up for them. Your phone also has that option.