New weather warning sirens installed in county

Published 12:39 am Monday, December 9, 2013

NATCHEZ — If weather conditions are clear on the first Wednesday of next month, residents in five new areas of Adams County are going to receive a tornado warning.

The Adams County Emergency Management Office had five new tornado warning sirens installed last week in areas of the county not previously covered.

The new sirens — in the areas of Pineview at Zion Flower Church; Sibley at Lake Montrose Fire Department; Stanton at the water tower and Fenwick on Passman Road — bring the county total to 18 sirens. They will be first tested the first Wednesday of January as part of the county’s routine monthly testing of the sirens.

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Emergency Management Director Stan Owens said the sirens aren’t meant to be heard inside a house, but are meant to alert those who are outside hazardous weather is in the area and they need to seek shelter.

On a clear day the sirens have a sound radius of one mile, and the installation of the newest five means the county’s most populated areas are covered.

Since 2008 — when the county had only eight sirens that covered the Natchez city limits — the board of supervisors has budgeted to purchase a new siren every year.

Last year, the county received a hazardous mitigation grant to purchase four additional sirens.

“I went ahead and purchased the siren for this year and purchased the other four with the hazardous mitigation funds, and scheduled the installation of all of them at the same time to save a little money,” Owens said.

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said he has been a major proponent of expanding siren coverage since the county started doing so.

“I personally feel any time you can give people warnings ahead of time — I am not going to say you won’t have fatalities — but I think you could reduce fatalities significantly as a result of the expansion of that program,” he said.

Grennell called to attention the Great Natchez Tornado of 1840, which killed 317 people and is ranked as the second deadliest tornado ever in the United States.

“History has a tendency to repeat itself, especially when you talk about weather phenomena,” Grennell said.

“Who is to say we could not be faced with another tornado like that? We need to do what we can to help.”

The four grant-funded sirens cost a total of $105,000, for which the county was responsible for a 25-percent match. The money budgeted into the county’s annual siren program for the year was used to meet the match.

Though the sirens are not intended to alert those already inside of weather conditions, the county participates in the Code Red program, which alerts residents by phone of severe weather in the area based on their address.

“If we can warn people from many facets, from the sirens, from Code Red and from the local news, I think it improves our chance to prevent the loss of life,” Grennell said.

Code Red signup can be completed online at