Barnsdall mayor confirms reason sirens didn't sound during early April tornado

BARSNDALL, Okla. — Mother nature is being blamed for sirens not sounding in Barnsdall before the April 1st tornado, which was rated an EF-1.

“There was no sirens, no sirens at all. It was here on us,” said neighbor Kathleen Catlett, who’s lived in Barnsdall for the last three years.

The mayor of Barnsdall, Johnny Kelley, said they tried to activate the sirens, but the sirens malfunctioned because of a lightning strike.

“In between the 60 seconds or so it takes for the sirens to activate, our siren on the hill took a direct lightning strike and it got the breaker in it. Our other two sirens, it blew up the ACDC converters in both of those,” Kelley said.

Catlett and neighbor Clinton Hill said the night of the storm, they had just enough time to get the dogs inside and take cover.

They said it is a good thing they got weather alerts on their phones.

Catlett said she often hears the sirens being tested during the day, but they didn’t go off when it counted, a responsibility that falls on the City of Barnsdall.

“I hope they stay on top of things a little bit more because we don’t expect these things to happen, but they do,” Catlett said. “And those sirens, I hear them a couple of times a day. And then when a tornado hits, all of a sudden there’s no sirens, no nothing, and it’s on top of us. That’s not cool.”

Kelley said an electrical engineer repaired all three sirens and the chance of lightning striking twice isn’t likely.

“It could happen again. It probably never will, but, I mean, Mother Nature, we can’t control her,” he said. “It was just a bad deal.”

People who live in Barnsdall told FOX23 they want the City to continue testing the sirens so that a malfunction when it matters most doesn’t happen again.

“Hope they work. Yeah, hope they work,” Catlett said.

According to the National Weather Service, even if a siren is nearby, they are intended as an outdoor warning system and you may not be able to hear it inside your house.





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