St. Charles residents wondering why sirens went off when storm w - KMOV.com

St. Charles residents wondering why sirens went off when storm warnings were not issued

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July 26, 2016 funnel cloud in St. Charles County. (Credit: KMOV). July 26, 2016 funnel cloud in St. Charles County. (Credit: KMOV).
July 26, 2016 funnel cloud in St. Charles County. (Credit: KMOV). July 26, 2016 funnel cloud in St. Charles County. (Credit: KMOV).
July 26, 2016 funnel cloud in St. Charles County. (Credit: KMOV). July 26, 2016 funnel cloud in St. Charles County. (Credit: KMOV).

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Tuesday, News 4 received dozens of comments from viewers in St. Charles County wondering why the tornado sirens were sounding when no warnings had been issued by the National Weather Service.

The simple explanation is that a decision regarding the severity of storms and whether or not to issue a warning has to be made quickly. Tuesday's funnel cloud was a rare occurrence because it formed from the ground up rather than forming in the cloud and touching down on the ground. As a result, the funnel cloud was not visible on radar and made the decision whether to issue or not issue a warning more complicated.

Funnel clouds can have wind speeds that reach between 70 to 80 miles an hour which is enough to cause damage, but not cause concern for a major threat. Officials in St. Charles County were quickly flooded with calls reporting a funnel cloud and decided to err on the side of caution and sound the emergency alarms.

The National Weather Service and emergency management officials both agreed they walk a fine line when deciding when to air the sirens because they do not want to be accused of crying wolf.

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