FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

UPDATE: Fond du Lac Co. makes change to outdoor tornado warning siren protocol after sirens fail to alert residents

Local News
FRIDAY 7/30/2021 1:49 p.m.

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WFRV) – After Fond du Lac County’s tornado sirens failed to sound during the severe storm on July 28, which resulted in at least four tornados touching down in Wisconsin, county officials are issuing a change to its alarm system for the protection of all residents.

On Friday afternoon, the Fond du Lac County Emergency Management announced sirens activated by Fond du Lac County, including those in the City of Fond du Lac, will be activated manually for tornado warnings issued anywhere in Fond du Lac County.

Authorities explain further that this means the outdoor warning sirens will sound in all areas of the county, even if the tornado warning is issued for only a small section of the county. Officials say that the system will operate in this way until county officials are ‘confident’ the county’s sirens work properly.

Fond du Lac County officials say that residents should not solely rely on getting severe weather alerts from county sirens, but should instead have alternative modes of communication in which they can be alerted.

A release sent by the Fond du Lac County Emergency Management stated, “Everyone is strongly encouraged to have multiple ways to receive weather alerts and should not rely on one notification process. NOAA weather radios, phone apps, television and radio media are just some of the ways to receive weather notifications. Outdoor warning sirens are not intended to be heard inside homes and buildings and do not cover all areas of the county. For these reasons, they should not be relied upon as a primary source of information.”

Original Story: Fond du Lac Co. tornado siren fails to sound, calls into question safety of residents

THURSDAY 7/29/2021 5:09 p.m.

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WFRV) – As severe thunderstorms and strong winds ravaged several Wisconsin counties on Wednesday night, one Northeastern Wisconsin county made an alarming discovery that could have jeopardized the lives of thousands of Wisconsinites.

According to Fond du Lac County, during the storm, the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings which reportedly failed to activate the outdoor warning sirens causing deep concern for the safety of residents.

“The safety of all Fond du Lac County residents is vitally important especially during severe weather.  Communications and Emergency Management Director Bobbi Hicken is aware of the failure of the sirens to activate and is actively working with the vendor to resolve the issue,” wrote Fond du Lac County’s Director of Administration, Erin Gerred.

The storm, which hit hard in Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago, Green Lake, and Fond du Lac counties, left tens of thousands of residents without power across Wisconsin. According to Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), at 5: 33 a.m., 21,781 customers were affected due to the power outages with the biggest outage occurring in Wausau with 6,638 customers being affected.

Since then, crews report having made substantial progress in restoring power to customers across Wisconsin. As of 4: 44 p.m., 12,317 total Wisconsin residents were still experiencing power outages.

“Our crews continue to come across extensive damage, including multiple broken utility poles, numerous downed trees and downed power lines as they have worked as safely and as quickly as possible. We have also brought in more outside utility crews to help us repair the outages,” wrote WPS.

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