Montgomery Weather Sirens Malfunction at 3AM

The Montgomery County area has had severe weather frequently over the last few weeks. In the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, many people were startled to be awakened by their neighborhood outdoor tornado siren going off, but there was no threat.

Alabama News Network had a lot of viewers call in this morning, worried, about the alert that woke them up around 3 a.m.

We talked with the Montgomery EMA Director Christina Thornton about what happened and what people can do to stay alerted on severe weather at all times.

She says every first Wednesday of the month is when a tornado warning siren test is conducted throughout the county. However, a system reboot caused the alert to go off at 3 a.m. instead of the usual 3 p.m.

“We would never cause undue alarm without at least warning the community, ‘Hey, we’re going to do an out of sync kind of test,'” Thornton said.

Thornton promises that this was a one-time mistake.

“It will not happen again,” Thornton said. “We have set reminders in place for us to check the system the day before and even the morning of our system checks, so that we can make sure that this is set on p.m. And that we can make sure we have redundant measures in place to make sure this error does not occur again.”

The tornado siren is still an outdoor warning for people to take shelter when they are not inside somewhere safe. The best way to be alerted of a tornado while in your house is to have the right weather apps on your phone to alert you of a weather threat in your county and to have your weather radio ready during severe weather.

“We are all linked in to the national weather service so you should still get a countywide alert to your phone as long as your location services is on,” stated Director Thornton.

Outdoor weather sirens will go off if there is a severe weather threat in your area. However, this does not mean that every outdoor siren will go off in surrounding counties unless the threat will migrate towards them.

“If one of those sirens from any group is involved, the sirens for that group will alert,” stated Thornton. “Having those apps, those redundant measures, to make sure that, especially if you’re a heavy sleeper, you have some way to wake you up if it does happen in the middle of the night, because storms do not just occur during the day.”

Thornton advises residents to have the right weather apps on their phone and to pay attention to the weather that is happening around them. Always stay tuned to our meteorologists on what to do to protect you and your family from severe weather.


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