Outdoor Warning System on alert for weather events
MURPHY (January 17, 2020) Inclement weather events descending rapidly and unexpectedly in the Murphy area are not rare or uncommon, especially during the late winter to early spring timeframe.
While the area has been spared of a major catastrophic weather calamity in recent memory, the prospect of a devastating climate event is always near the surface. That’s why the City’s emergency management program, under the auspices of Murphy Fire Rescue, remains on 24-hour alert, primed and ready to convey warnings through the Outdoor Warning System, commonly referred to as warning sirens.
“The Outdoor Warning System is designed to send an audible signal to anyone caught outside when a significant weather event that may affect Murphy is detected,” says Fire Marshal Perry Elliott. “Our system, like every other outdoor system, is designed for the specific purpose of signaling to persons who are outdoors that they should seek cover. Once safely indoors, we encourage residents to tune into a weather radio or other broadcasting outlet for further information.”
The City of Murphy is tied into the National Weather Service and abides by guidelines issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and area emergency management professionals.
Activation of the Outdoor Warning System is governed by several specific factors and conditions, including:
- The National Weather Service issues a Tornado Warning.
- The National Weather Service Issues a Severe Thunderstorm Warning and indicates the potential for destructive winds of 70 mph or greater in Murphy.
- Trained storm spotters have reported a tornado in the jurisdiction, or in a neighboring jurisdiction that has the potential to affect Murphy.
- Observed hail of 1.5” in diameter or greater. The size of hail that warrants OWS activation may be adjusted at the discretion of local officials in the event of special situations such as large outdoor public gatherings where the potential for injury is increased.
- Other emergency as directed by Murphy’s public safety officials.
“We adhere to these guidelines very closely, since the best information we can get on weather events is from trained people using the latest equipment,” added Elliott. “Most of our neighboring communities follow these guidelines as well, but because of the unpredictable nature of weather events, neighboring communities may sound their alarms when we do not.”
The National Weather Service uses a system of polygon configurations, essentially weather patterns overlaid onto area maps, to activate warnings. Wherever these overlays sit atop a community’s siren locations, that system will become activated. If a neighboring community is affected by the polygon configurations, but Murphy is not, only the affected community’s sirens will be activated.