Residents claim tornado sirens failed

Reported by: Tyler Hill
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Updated: 4/30 11:41 pm
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Following Monday's tornado, there were several reports of tornado sirens not going off in the city of Tupelo.

"All of a sudden the sky opened up and we heard something snap, the wind picked up and the rain was blowing like crazy," said Tupelo resident Sara Franklin.

But what Franklin counted on most, failed her during the scariest moment in her life.

"For some reason, when the tornado came, the siren didn't go off." She's not alone. Dozens of Tupelo residents said the same thing.

Franklin lives on Marquette Street, where many neighbors reiterate her claim.

Several miles away lives another woman that said the siren closest to her didn't sound, which is located in her backyard.

"It never went off," said LaShonda Jamison. "Normally the least slight of wind or rain makes that thing go off, but it didn't on Monday."

Once a month the county tests the siren, so she's no stranger to the noise.

"It's loud," she said. "It's very loud."

Despite countless stories, Lee County Emergency Management Agency said they, in fact, did go off.

"The data system we have lets us go back and see when the sirens were activated," said EMA Director Lee Bowdry. "It shows that the sirens did go off."

Yet from West Tupelo to East, story after story, residents echo the same thing.

"I didn't hear nothing," said one resident living on West Jackson Street. "My neighbors say the same thing. They didn't hear anything."

So how does EMA explain it?

"The wind is sucking up everything, so if the sound got sucked up with the tornado coming through, then you wouldn't have heard it," Bowdry explained.

Lee County EMA showed WTVA's Tyler Hill the data reports, and it does state the sirens activated.

There are also consistent reports that they went off in downtown Tupelo; however, other parts of the city state otherwise.

Tupelo Water and Light Director Johnny Timmons said because of all the complaints, they'll check the sirens across the entire city for possible mechanical problems.




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