Northland Prepares for Severe Weather Season

By KBJR Manager

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 11:47 AM CDT

We're into the Northland's severe weather season...and to make sure all systems are "go" for alerting the public, the government held a mock drill today across the Midwest as LeAnn Wallace reports.

''You never know when disasters going to strike.''

And that's why Saint Louis County and the city of Duluth are using severe weather awareness week to prepare for weather emergencies.

The city of Duluth hasn't always been prepared, in 2006 seven of the city's tornado sirens were out of order.

But it will soon be out with the old sirens and in with the new, as Duluth makes preparations for new state–of–the–art tornado sirens.

Duluth Fire Chief John Strongitharm says this new equipment will be a huge upgrade from the city's outdated system.

With the new technology we'll actually be able to know if the sirens are working from a computer instead of having to go and listen to them at all the sites. If we start having problems with the sirens it tells us before it stops functioning.''

''Populated areas and schools are sure to hear emergency sirens but not everyone in St. Louis County are as lucky.''

''There's many areas that are developed that were undeveloped when the siren system was put in that can't hear it very well.''

And that's why Saint Louis County Emergency Coordinator Paul Lee says every one should have a back up alert method.

''Your own personal television and radio, or the Nowell weather radio, or it can be monitor radios like we use in the county, there needs to be a number of different means so the message can be heard.''

Duluth has a sound survey underway and has asked for bids for a new system.

The city hopes the new sirens will be in place by this summer.
In Duluth, LeAnn Wallace, the Northlands News Center.

These new sirens will actually have a voice capability near the waterfront so that people out on the lake can also be alerted to various emergencies.