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Delays push back tornado sirens, City uses LBK Alert system to warn citizens

Published: May. 18, 2021 at 10:35 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Monday night’s severe weather hit a little too close to home for many viewers.

Jennifer Elder lives in a neighborhood right by the Farmer’s Market in Wolfforth. She and her family were watching another storm in a field west of their house, and then realized what was looming right above them.

“I looked above me, and we noticed that it was starting to really start swirling. We noticed it was getting really dark. And then the wind got a little calmer, and you know, and so you just know something doesn’t quite seem right,” Elder said.

Since Elder lives in Wolfforth, sirens alerted her to the tornado.

But citizens across Lubbock didn’t have the same luxury.

Lacey Nobles, the communications and marketing director for the City of Lubbock, says manufacturing delays have pushed back the 45 sirens the City has paid for.

Nobles says many jurisdictions have ordered sirens and they’re built as orders come in.

“So, we were in line for that but then also, Covid. we’re still having the effects of Covid manufacturing issues, and also weather and world-wide issues, as well,” Nobles said.

She says the City doesn’t have a timeline for when those parts will be finished and shipped.

The City is preparing for that day by getting permits for access to right of way and planning out where the sirens should go.

“The City of Lubbock is working with several engineers on this to make sure they are going to be put in the most effective place to serve our citizens because it’s about trying to keep as many people safe as possible,” Nobles said.

The City also uses the LBK Alert system, that allows citizens to register and receive phone calls, texts and emails for any alert the City sends out.

“The full tornado warning messages sent last night reached over 143,000 people,” Allison Matherly, public information officer at the Lubbock Police Department, said.

For the first time since the system was put in place in 2017, the City sent out a reverse 911 call to all landlines within city limits.

“So, when you’re receiving those alerts, we just want to make sure you understand we don’t send them lightly. That is why yesterday’s was so different because it’s not something we just send at the drop of a hat. A tornado warning is serious,” Matherly said.

You can sign up for the LBK Alert system at www.lbkalert.com. After creating an account, you can customize which alerts you want to receive, ranging from severe weather to traffic alerts and City events.

The City doesn’t have a public storm shelter, so Nobles says she wants everyone to stay aware and plan for where you’ll take shelter, either in your home or with a neighbor.

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