City Council to receive update on Tornado Siren Task Force - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

City Council to receive update on Tornado Siren Task Force progress

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

The Lubbock City Council is preparing to take up the issue of tornado sirens in the city of Lubbock, during Thursday's city council meeting. 

It's been a hot button issue since the Spring, when several deadly tornadoes hit parts of Oklahoma and Texas. Since those storms, a task force was formed by the city council. They have been studying different ways to warn residents of approaching storms.

The 19-member task force was formed in June and they have a deadline of Oct. 1 to present their findings to the city council. On Thursday evening, council members will get an update on the task force's progress so far. Specifically, the task force is looking at whether installing a tornado siren system in the city is feasible and realistic.

City council member Todd Klein, says he would like to see the lack of sirens addressed.

"Plan for the worst and hope for the best, but you need to be get going on that issue sooner rather than later," Klein said.

Mayor Glen Robertson is on the task force, and says their goal is to find out if sirens are necessary for Lubbock.

"Let's find out what the best options are, what it costs, what it takes to implement it.  What type of overlap and redundancy do we need to build into the system?" Robertson said.

Meteorologist Justin Weaver, with the National Weather Service is a member of the task force. He says the group has a lot of ground to cover.

"It's a much more complicated subject than most people realize," Weaver said.  "We're looking at more than just tornado sirens.  We're looking at active shooters, we're looking at terrorist attacks, we're looking at HAZMAT."

Weaver believes the task force has made good progress. He says the group is working to have as much information as possible, by their deadline, so the council can make an informed decision.

"There's also a lot of folks out there that have special needs as well. There's a deaf community, a blind community and they all have to have special ways to receive that information as well. So, it's a very complicated subject," Weaver said.

There are a few warning systems already in place for Lubbock, like media coverage, weather radios, and cell phone alerts.  However, Weaver admits he is in favor of the addition of sirens.  He says, if for nothing else, to make sure all the bases are covered.

"Systems fail, you can't count on any one system to really be there when you need it. They all have their pros, they all have their cons so the best thing you can do is have as many systems in place as possible," Weaver said.

The deadline for the task force's findings is Oct. 1, so the city council is not expected to make an immediate decision about the tornado sirens. 

KCBD NewsChannel 11 will be at the council meeting, and will have the latest information on this developing story on KCBD.com.

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