SOKY wakens to tornado sirens two weeks before deadly December tornado anniversary

"What happened last night?" Warren County Emergency Management answers

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – At approximately midnight Wednesday, SOKY awoke to the sound of all 33 Warren County COWS blaring for several minutes.

Warren County Emergency Management Deputy Director Travis Puckett said, “This was such a strange occurrence…. There was no severe weather anywhere in the area, not even in the state of Kentucky…. We were all at our homes, myself and my director were both at our individual homes. And once we heard that the sirens were activated and our phone started ringing, that’s when our investigation started.”

Puckett said hours of investigation confirmed an unprecedented equipment malfunction activated the sirens.

“It’s just a freak incident that occurred,” Puckett continued. “No big red button was pushed by anyone. The federal civil engineers are actually looking into what happened and we’re still investigating it.”

The coincidence of this malfunction happening just two weeks out from the anniversary of the deadly December tornadoes stirred painful memories for some.

“Everybody’s still on edge,” sympathized Puckett. “The fears and anxieties that it’s created, but when they hear a three-minute siren test go off… We don’t want to stir up any anxiety and we want to keep everybody calm.”

We saw some of you express your concern on social media about not being able to hear the sirens go off from your houses. But rest assured: The County Outdoor Warning Sirens aren’t necessarily intended for people indoors.

News 40 Chief Meteorologist Scott Burchett explained, “We have outdoor sirens in the community. Those are intended for basically people that are outdoors, whether they’re in a park on a golf course a lot of sirens are located near recreational areas. And then also, [it’s for] people that live near the area that might be walking dogs or working outside or something.”

If you’re ever unsure about severe weather, check your phone’s weather radar. Most smartphones have a severe weather notification function programmed.

Scott also says it’s always a good idea to keep a weather radio with fresh batteries.

“And if it is a case of severe weather, we’re going to be telling you what’s coming any current watches or warnings.” Scott reassured.

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