Why Naperville Residents Didn’t Receive Warning About EF-0 Tornado

July 25, 2022
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On Saturday, June 23, at around 5:40 a.m., an EF-0 tornado touched down at Naperville’s White Eagle Golf Club and moved southeast through Naperville for 4.5 miles, as reported by the National Weather Service. Many Naperville residents shared concerns on social media that they weren’t properly notified about the severe weather.

Social media posts on tornado

Why didn’t sirens go off?

“No tornado warning was issued,” according to Mike Bardou, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service-Chicago (NWS-Chicago). The NWS-Chicago did issue a severe thunderstorm warning at 5:29 a.m. Then, Bardou said, this particular line of thunderstorms rapidly became what is known as a squall line tornado, often quickly developing into a small EF-0 tornado and dissipating just as rapidly as it develops. There was no time to issue a warning specifically for Naperville. However as the storm began moving toward other communities and more data came in, a tornado warning was then issued.

Though the National Weather Service- Chicago issues warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flash flooding, Bardou says, “It is up to the local jurisdiction and counties to activate their systems.”

Naperville’s Siren System

According to a tweet from the City of Naperville, “Naperville’s outdoor warning sirens are automatically activated by notifications from the National Weather Service. Preliminary reports from the National Weather Service indicate that the EF-0 tornado hit Naperville between 5:40 and 5:46 a.m. City staff have determined that the NWS never issued a tornado warning for the Naperville area before or during this time, which is why the sirens did not activate before or during this tornado. “

However, once the NWS activated a tornado warning for Romeoville at 5:47 a.m., sirens for southern Naperville in should have sounded at that time, as the warning included northern Will County, according to the City of Naperville’s Emergency Management Agency. But they did not. “City staff is currently investigating why with extreme urgency, “ said the tweet from the city.

What About Phone Alerts?

Because of the nature of the squall line tornado, some people didn’t get a notification on their mobile phone. Bardou said “the original severe thunderstorm warning was not severe enough for a national alert but with the squall line tornado an alert was launched.”

Bardou mentioned that “phone technology is very geo-centric” and people with different phone models may or may not get all notifications.

Means To Receive Weather Alerts

“The City of Naperville is fully committed to fully investigating the issue and remedying it as well as thoroughly reviewing internal policies and procedures around our outdoor warning systems,“ it said in a tweet. “We also encourage all residents and business owners to investigate additional means to receive weather alerts inside their homes, such as purchasing a weather radio, downloading an app or activating Wireless Emergency Alerts on your smart phones. “

The City of Naperville’s website says it has 19 siren units. However the National Weather Service notes that outdoor sirens are intended to notify those who are outside during an impending threat.

The NWS says the best way to stay notified and get alerts indoors during a storm is through a NOAA Weather Radio. It also recommends monitoring local media for storm updates.

NCTV17 Reports.

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