TWINSBURG, Ohio -- After powerful storms rolled through Northeast Ohio and caused widespread destruction Sunday, the FOX 8 I-Team investigated why many of you didn't hear tornado warning sirens.
In Twinsburg, Michelle Bennett and her family ended up with a tree into their home. And the family felt taken by surprise. Bennett said, "We had no clue. We thought it was a regular thunderstorm. Shocking how fast it hit. Shocking. It was like a freight train was coming through the house. It was shaking."
We went to Twinsburg Assistant Fire Chief Steve Bosso. We asked why the sirens didn't sound there. He said the town has a policy to set off the sirens only when there's a tornado warning for that specific area from the National Weather Service. Bosso said, "I know it wasn't a tornado. And we don't want to keep putting them off for every time we get a thunderstorm. That's not the way to operate."
Meantime, Erie County did get tornado warnings, and Sheriff Paul Sigsworth says sirens there went off twice.
In fact, Brunswick did not have a tornado warning, but Brunswick set off sirens simply because neighboring towns were experiencing damaging winds.
However, in Geauga County, sirens there stayed silent. They did not sound off, in part, because no specific tornado warning had been issued for that area by the National Weather Service. Also, one siren is not functioning right now due to mechanical issues.
Even predictions are not always clear-cut. The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for parts of Northeast Ohio. Severe thunderstorm warnings for others. And, severe thunderstorm warnings that included a mention of "tornado possible."
During the storm, the FOX 8 weather team kept viewers updated on the winds and rain and warnings. And local safety forces point out, people should stay on top of the forecast especially in fast-changing situations. In short, sirens help send alerts about potential danger, but people shouldn't rely on them entirely.