Cape Girardeau residents question tornado siren system after Monday night’s storms

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO – Last night’s severe storms that swept through Cape Girardeau County have left many residents with questions about the tornado siren system.  

Reports have surfaced of some people hearing the siren, while others did not. 

“We have a multi-level siren system in Cape Girardeau County. It’s made up of 19 sirens that are out in the county,” said Mark Winkler, director of Cape Girardeau County Office of Emergency Management. 

Eleven of those sirens are in Cape Girardeau and Southeast Missouri State University controls its own. Winkler says that Monday night, the tornado warning was issued for the very edge of Cape Girardeau County. 

“We got the tornado warning information from the National Weather Service that it was in the very southern edge of Cape Girardeau County. Not knowing exactly how this weather system was going to respond, we were watching it on radar,” Winkler said. 

Winkler says the warning sirens are usually activated after they receive a tornado warning message from the National Weather Service. 

Based on the location, the county can then either activate the entire area or activate any combination of three different zones. This means that some people may or may not hear the siren. 

“The south zone of our county, which pretty much went from down around Delta and Whitewater straight line up towards the city of Cape Girardeau, most of the city of Cape Girardeau was in that activation zone, so that’s why people in the city of Cape Girardeau heard the sirens last night,” Winkler explained. 

Winkler wants to emphasize that the sirens are working as they should and recently underwent a tune-up.  

Despite some residents not hearing the sirens, the system is still effective and should be relied upon during severe weather situations. 

As always, residents are encouraged to stay alert during severe weather and seek shelter immediately when a tornado warning is issued. 

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