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Weekly emergency warning siren tests to resume March 4

This was only a test.

The low-frequency sound you may have heard Tuesday was not a tornado warning — not this time.

It was the Winchester-Clark County Emergency Management Agency testing its weather sirens in preparation for a real weather emergency should one occur.

The test was a prelude to regular siren tests that will begin next month.

“They were just testing them and doing maintenance on them,” Clark County Emergency Management Director Gary Epperson said. “They had a couple of technicians come down and go through them” to make sure they were working properly.

Winchester Police Capt. Dennis Briscoe sent an email Tuesday to all the dispatchers and others reminding them that the weekly weather siren tests would resume March 4 at noon and occur every Wednesday at the same time.

Briscoe told the Sun the sirens are taken offline in the fall and winter.

“They only do it during the storm season,” he said.

Severe Storm Preparedness Week March 1-7 is an opportunity to increase awareness of severe weather and practice how to respond, according to the National Weather Service website, www.weather.gov. States conduct tornado drills and tests sirens during that week.

Epperson said Winchester and Clark County will test its sirens at 10:07 a.m. and noon March 4 as part of a statewide tornado drill.

“We used to do it religiously at noon every Wednesday,” Epperson said. “Tornadoes can happen any time of the year.”

But they are most likely to occur during March, April and May.

During the 10:07 drill, he said, the school district will participate in a preparedness exercise, Epperson said, but it is also a good time for businesses and families to practice what they would do in the event of a strong storm or twister. Where would they go? How would they go to shelter? How would they make sure everyone is there? Do they have a NOAA weather radio to provide information?

Winchester and Clark County have 12 outdoor weather sirens that are intended to alert people who are outdoors when there is a tornado or strong storm to get inside. People should shelter in the lowest level of the building they’re in, preferably in the center of the building, away from doors and windows, Epperson said.

More information about storm emergencies is available on the Clark County EMA/CSEPP website at clarkema.com.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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