With few tornado sirens, NewsChannel 3 is the source for severe weather updates

Posted at 6:51 PM, May 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-01 18:51:33-04

Wakefield, Va. - Tornado sirens are expensive.  That's why many communities in Hampton Roads and NE North Carolina don't have them.

"It would be interesting, for example, to look at how many sirens it would take to adequately cover Virginia Beach.  Virginia Beach is a huge area.  You'd probably, literally, have to have 100 or more of those sirens in order to cover that area. And when you look at the other technologies that we have available to us, there are things a lot less expensive and just as reliable and efficient to warn the public," said Bill Sammler, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Wakefield.

On Wednesday, NewsChannel 3 took action and found only one siren in the area, behind the police department in Downtown Elizabeth City.  So with few sirens around to alert you of danger, NewsChannel 3 took action to find out what you should do to stay safe. And one way to do it is by watching us.

"You provide that extra information that people are looking for in terms of what does the radar look like, where exactly might this storm be going. And doing that visually is really critical to getting folks to move," said Sammler.

While tornado sirens are known to alert people of severe weather, some say you cannot hear those sirens everywhere. But with new technology, like our cell phones and apps on our phones, like the NewsChannel 3 app, you can get those alerts anywhere you go. In fact, the NewsChannel 3 app will warn you when you should take action during a storm.  You can also track the storm with the NewsChannel 3 Interactive Radar.

Sammler says purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio is another vital tool for severe weather updates. But above all, he says watching NewsChannel 3 is one of the most important things you can do to stay informed.

"More often than not, people are calling your station, people are on your Facebook page, saying this is going on, that's going on.  And that information is very helpful to confirm the warnings we've issued, and in some cases, may be valuable enough to tell us we need to keep issuing warnings down the road," said Sammler.

You can download the NewsChannel 3 app at