County preparing for possible tornadoes


By Staff Report

The Muskingum County Emergency Management Agency is reporting success with Wednesday morning’s tornado siren tests.

Jeff Jadwin, Director of the EMA, says each of the 47 sirens worked as intended and will be available should a tornado be spotted or detected within the county.

Jadwin explained that during the winter, when tornadoes are uncommon, the devices are not tested due to weather conditions that can damage the sirens.

The state-wide test that occurred at 9:50 a.m. Wednesday was the first planned activation of the system for 2021.

From now through October, the sirens will be tested weekly at noon every Wednesday.

The audible devices are not intended to alert those indoors, but rather those outside giving them time to get indoors or to find shelter.

The National Weather Service, the EMA office, firefighters, law enforcement or any trained weather spotter can activate the county’s sirens, said Jadwin.

When activated, sirens run for 180 seconds.

For those inside the county, there are two separate messaging systems to notify residents to get to a lower level for safety.

First, the county’s citizen alert notification system can notify anyone by phone, email or text message about an impending emergency, but requires having previously signed up for the free service.

Secondly, the National Weather Service as well as the EMA has the ability to send a notification to anyone within Muskingum County using the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, IPAWS.

It is the same messaging system used for Amber Alerts or in the event of an incoming nuclear attack, but the use of the system is tightly regulated and only authorized in extreme situations.

Jadwin cited a four-letter acronym, DUCK, for remembering what to do once alerted about a tornado.

  • D: Go DOWN to the lowest level
  • U: Get UNDER something sturdy
  • C: COVER your head
  • K: KEEP in shelter until the storm has passed

Referencing a recent scurry of news reports of tornadoes down south, Jadwin said it’s time to prepare and plan in case they begin to appear in Ohio.

“Check the weather stations,” Jadwin stressed Wednesday at a press conference. “Keep an eye on the weather.”

Jadwin explained that the county is constantly looking for additional sites to place sirens.

Many of the sites are funded by grants, such as an upcoming siren placed at the Monroe Township Garage.

As for future locations, Jadwin says it depends on available funding but that he’d like to add at least a few more this year.

Tornadoes are formed when warm, humid air collides with cold, dry air. The denser cold air is pushed over the warm air, usually producing thunderstorms. The warm air rises through the colder air, causing an updraft. When it touches the ground, it becomes a tornado.