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Paola tornado siren may have failed during storm

Posted: 11:20 PM, Sep 29, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-30 04:20:29Z

Paola police are testing one of the nine sirens in the city after a report that it did not sound during the tornado on Sept. 18.

Deputy Chief Don Poore says the department tests the tornado sirens monthly, and weather permitting, they will monitor the one they received a call about following the EF-1 that destroyed six campers and damaged eight more at Hillsdale State Park. Two people were hurt in the storm.

That night, Linda Craighead with Kansas Wildlife Parks and Tourism explained what warning they had at the park. “None. Our park rangers had actually just received a phone call from the sheriff's department saying there was some severe weather in the area,” Craighead said.

But Hillsdale State Park Manager Gary Lucas told 41 Action News there may be an explanation. He said, "I just think there was so much commotion going on in this campground that they just couldn't hear the sirens over the commotion."

Officials are still cleaning up after the tornado. There is still one camper that was destroyed taped off in the Scott Creek campground. Lucas said it should be removed by next week. For now, he wants to issue a warning to everyone before they are in the path of a storm. "Have a plan of where you're going to go because you may need it. At the quickest moment, it might catch you by surprise,” Lucas said.

The National Weather Service says tornado sirens are meant to be for outdoor use only. People should have another way to be notified in the event of severe weather in their area.

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Dia Wall can be reached at dia.wall@kshb.com .

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