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Murray

Storm siren update

MURRAY – Some residents on Glendale Road and employees of businesses on the north side of town, near Riviera Courts, confirmed they heard storm sirens during the multiple tornado warnings this morning, but according to Murray Police Chief Sam Bierds those sirens, which failed to sound during quarterly tests in December and March, are still not functional despite the city’s efforts to repair them.

This storm siren near Riviera Courts on the north side of town is one of two sirens that did not sound during a recent test. JESSICA PAINE/The Murray Sentinel

At the Murray City Council meeting on May 9, which came on the heels of the county’s most recent severe weather threat, Mayor Bob Rogers discussed the issues with the sirens.

“I want to complement our emergency response team who spent hours preparing for this just in case it hit,” he said. “We tried to make plans as best we could to identify anything that might happen as to how we would deal with it. We were thrilled that we didn’t have to implement that plan. … Hopefully, we’ll get those installed before another storm threatens (to come) our way.”

“The Riviera (Courts) siren radio was repaired, but the circuit board was also found to be blown. Another is on order and should be here in a few weeks,” Bierds said via text on Sunday . “The Glendale (Road) siren replacement is still on and is on schedule to be here in around 5-6 more weeks.”

This siren on Glendale Road, just west of 12th Street, also did not sound during the recent test. JESSICA PAINE/The Murray Sentinel

Residents and employees who spoke to the Sentinel earlier today all noted hearing verbal instructions in conjunction with the sirens sounding. Calloway County Emergenc Management Deputy Director Bill Call confirmed that the sirens located on the Murray State University campus are the only ones within the city limits that have that feature.

Local weather expert Justin Holland warned followers of the Murray/Calloway County Weather Facebook page to “not be in a mobile home or camper today at all!” More severe weather is expected this evening and into the early morning hours.

For those needing a safe place to weather the storms, the storm shelter at Cutchin Fieldhouse (formerly known as Racer Arena) is open today and will remain open until the severe weather threat passes tonight. Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers manning the shelter (pictured below) said that 55 people sought refuge at the shelter this morning.

In previous interviews with the Sentinel, Holland has consistently advised residents to have multiple ways to receive alerts and not rely solely on storm sirens to be warned of severe weather threats.

“Your cable may go out,” Holland said in a 2023 interview. “Your NOAA radio may not sound out for whatever reason. The one weather app that you have may not work; but if you have four or five ways, you are bound for one of those ways to work.” 

Calloway County residents and businesses with landlines automatically receive alerts of severe weather (as well as environmental hazards, criminal activity, and missing persons) via the county’s reverse 911 system.

The county also provides a free service called Hyper-Reach that allows residents (and those who work in Calloway) to receive alerts by email, on VoIP phones or cellphones, but they must sign-up for the service, which can be done by calling or texting “Alert” to 270-767-6464 or by following this link. More information is available on the county’s website (callowaycountyky.gov).

Notably, Rogers advised during the May council meeting that officials hoped to mitigate issues potentially resulting from the storm sirens not working properly by using the county’s reverse 911 system to alert residents of severe weather threats.

Other options for receiving severe weather alerts include having a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio or signing up for a texting service, such as the subscription service Holland offers for $1 per month.

Read all of the Sentinel’s coverage of the storm siren failures on our website:

Sentinel Staff

Jessica Paine
I’m Jessica Paine, founder of The Murray Sentinel. You may know me from my time as a citizen journalist, running the Calloway Covid-19 Count page on Facebook, or you may be familiar with my more recent work for another local news outlet. Being that I’m “from here,” you may have known me since I was “knee-high to a grasshopper,” although you knew me as Jessica Jones. But whether you know me or not, I’m glad you found your way here.

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