Update on June 21:
The City of Longview’s emergency warning siren system worked properly during a test on June 21. One siren located near the Spring Hill water tower failed to sound due to a signal communication issue, but maintenance will take place to address that issue very soon.
The June 21 siren test was the fourth consecutive week of siren testing following a May 28 storm that caused damage to much of Longview, including the siren system. During a May 31 test, all sirens sounded, but three did not properly rotate. On a subsequent test on June 7, only eight of the twenty sirens were confirmed to work properly. The electronic equipment that relays the signal to the sirens was initially damaged during the storm on Sunday, May 28. While the electronic equipment continued to work and all sirens sounded on May 31, the damaged electronic equipment did not properly work on June 7. On Friday, June 9, technicians worked to make repairs to issues associated with the damaged electronic equipment as well as the siren rotation. During a test on June 14, all 20 of the City of Longview’s emergency warning sirens sounded and rotated; however, a timing issues was identified and subsequently fixed. During the June 14 test, the sirens sounded for five minutes as scheduled, but only rotated for three minutes. The timing issues was caused by a setting within the electronic equipment, and the setting has been subsequently corrected.
The next test of the siren system will occur on Wednesday, July 5. However, a test of just the Spring Hill water tower siren location may be tested as repairs are conducted.
Residents are encouraged to sign up for the free CodeRed service at LongviewTexas.gov/CodeRed so that emergency messages can be delivered directly to your phone.
Original post on May 31, 2017:
The emergency warning sirens in Longview were successfully tested today following concerns from this past Sunday’s storm. We are pleased to report that during the test, all twenty of the city’s strategically located sirens sounded.
In the test it was also noted that three of the twenty sirens did not rotate fully. In the most recent monthly test on March 1, there were no malfunctions noted. These three sirens will be scheduled for maintenance as soon as possible. It is possible that these three were damaged in Sunday’s storm preventing them from full rotation. Those sirens are located at 1600 Blueridge Parkway, 610 E. Loop 281, and 1602 W. Cotton St.
According to Fire Chief J.P. Steelman, “Some residents indicated that they did not hear the sirens this past Sunday, so it was very important that we do a siren test early this week. Based on this test, we can assure the residents of Longview that the system is working properly, and it will be available if and when the next activation occurs.”
Steelman added, “During the May 28 siren activation, the City’s Emergency Communication Center was hit by a series of large electrical surges that caused damage to the network computer, lights, auxiliary computer, and radio associated with the siren system. However, Public Safety Communications were able to audibly verify that the siren nearest the communication center was activated during the storm. We cannot conclusively determine whether the power surge did or did not disrupt the siren activation, but we are taking steps to mitigate the threat of power surges in the future.”
The City of Longview relies upon the National Weather Service to issue warnings to trigger the siren activation. In this instance the National Weather Service did not issue a tornado warning for Longview. Upon review of storm data the day AFTER the storm, the National Weather Service estimated that an EF-1 tornado started at 4:53 p.m. 6 miles northwest of Longview, concluding at 5:03 p.m. 4 miles south-southeast of Longview. By the time the Gregg County tornado warning had been issued by the National Weather Service, the tornado had already passed through Longview.
The southeastern portion of Gregg County was placed in a tornado warning at 5:11 p.m., but that warning did not specifically include Longview. The Longview sirens were activated for approximately twelve minutes from 5:15 – 5:27 based on the warning issued by the National Weather Service for Gregg County. The sirens were deactivated at 5:27 p.m. when the City of Longview Public Safety Communications staff were informed by our local SkyWarn representative monitoring the conditions that the storm and related warning did not appear to be a threat to Longview.
A full timeline of the storm and some frequently asked questions related to the siren and CodeRed activation is available at LongviewTexas.gov/Sirens.
Chief Steelman said, “One of the questions we have heard has been about the volume of the sirens. The siren volume is set to the maximum level available, which is 130 decibel output at 100 feet. The effective range is 70 decibel at 6200 feet.”
Fire Chief Steelman again encouraged people to sign up for CodeRed. “Our siren system is designed to be heard while outdoors. So, we encourage people to have another way to be notified of severe weather by signing up for CodeRed.”
Residents are encouraged to sign up for the Code Red Weather Warning and Emergency Notification System, which is a free service that sends National Weather Service and other emergency notifications for the Longview area by phone or text. Sign up online at LongviewTexas.gov/CodeRed or by calling 903-237-1170.