Saturday, April 17, 2021

Power Up Ceremony At New CMS

Due to this evenings storms the City of Southlake Office of Emergency Management had cause to activate the Outdoor Warning System for the first time this year.

“It became quickly apparent that this storm was producing large hail and the possibility for tornado’s throughout Northern Tarrant County,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Colleen Crocker.  “We felt it was in the best interest of Southlake visitors, residents, and businesses to set our sirens off once the hail criteria was met in adjacent cities.”

The City’s Emergency Operations Center was activated earlier this evening in anticipation of the storms and provided continued monitoring of the storm as it entered the area from the west.  Amateur Radio Operators from the North East Tarrant Amateur Radio Club (NETARC) assisted City staff in monitoring the system and the changing situation.

“At 8:00 P.M. the Outdoor Warning System was set off and anyone still outdoors should have taken immediate shelter, ” says Crocker.  “We then immediately sent out a Connect-CTY message to all residents to notify them of our activation, the remaining threat, and recommend they tune into local news and make sure their NOAA Weather Radio is on to receive the latest information from the National Weather Service.”

The Emergency Operations Center will remain active through the storms this evening and continue to make sure anyone located within Southlake over the next few hours is provided with any additional warnings, should they be needed.

In order for the Outdoor Warning System (OWS) to be activated there are very specific criteria, set by the Southlake Office of Emergency Management based on guidelines set by the North Central Texas Council of Governments, that must be met.  The OWS Activation Criteria are:

  • NWS issues a Tornado Warning or Severe Thunderstorm Warning with “Destructive winds in excess of 70 mph (or higher) are likely with this storm” for the immediate area.
  • Trained storm spotters have reported a tornado
  • Hail measuring 1.25 inches in diameter or greater
  • Hazardous Condition such as a “gas cloud” or “toxic plume” from a fire, technological hazard, or terrorist event.