Linn County has more storm sirens than Maui. And it's due to a decommissioned nuclear power plant.
That's just a couple of interesting facts I found in this Cedar Rapids Gazette article about outdoor warning sirens. Let's face it: Iowans are fascinated by storms - especially tornadoes. That's why we run to the windows when the storm sirens go off. Which is exactly the OPPOSITE of what you are supposed to do!
Linn County has approximately 150 sirens, compared to Maui's 80. And why all the sirens?
Many of Linn County’s sirens were donated by NextEra Energy Resources, owner of the decommissioned Duane Arnold nuclear power plant in 2022. The sirens were previously placed throughout a 10-mile emergency planning zone around the nuclear power plant in Palo. In addition to the sirens, Linn County EMA received the plant’s maintenance shop and a bucket truck to help maintain the donated sirens.
Since the donation, the sirens have been strategically placed across the county, and more sirens have been added.
One thing that has changed since I was a kid is that the sirens can blow for conditions OTHER than a tornado - which is why we don't call them tornado sirens anymore. They are storm sirens and they go off when there is:
Confirmed winds of 70 mph or greater
Hail 3/4 inch in diameter
Tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service
Release of a chemical
So...I am betting Iowans are disappointed if the sirens go off and there IS no tornado. But in all seriousness, that kind of coverage saves lives.
Listen to a podcast of today's "Need To Know" show here: