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Kenton County officials investigating why weather sirens didn't sound during Tornado Warning

Posted at 4:30 PM, Mar 03, 2017

INDEPENDENCE, Ky. -- Sirens in Kenton County remained silent Wednesday even as the area was under a Tornado Warning.

Now officials are working to figure out what happened and how they can make sure it doesn't happen again.

Kenton County Director of Homeland Security Steve Hensley said they got the warning message, but it was not in the format it was supposed to be to get noticed.

"In this case, the message did not come in with the priority tone and the colored font," he said.

The noise and colors are designed to get the attention of the dispatchers, who were answering nearly 400 calls in Kenton County in about two hours during the storm.

"If it would have came up in the proper fashion, we would have seen it and we would have acted upon it," Tommy Thompson with the Kenton County Communication Center said.

So why didn't the message have the right format? The National Weather Service told the communications center they sent the message the same way they normally do. The message goes electronically to Frankfurt, and then out to the counties. It all happens in an instant.

But in this case, Hensley said something went wrong.

While the investigation takes place, the Kenton County Communications Center has taken steps, like getting more weather radios, to make sure the sirens don't stay silent next time.

"We're making every attempt to determine what the problem was so we don't have a repeat of this event," he said.

In a news release, county officials also said they wished to remind the public that the storm warning sirens are designed to warn people outdoors. They recommended buying a weather alert radio or downloading an app like WCPO's that sends push alerts about severe weather alerts.

Here are some helpful links to prepare for severe weather:

Sign up for severe weather email and mobile alerts

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Download the WCPO Storm Shield app (storm-based alerts for life-threatening weather events)

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