A tornado warning issued in North Carolina this afternoon included the Chapel Hill and Durham areas surprised many residents.

Reaction to the scary experience that was new to many people:



The warning has been lifted for some areas.

Be safe, everyone. And be smart.

  • Unknown User

    I’m pretty sure that there are tornado sirens in most of the USA.

    • Conservative First

      We have them in Southern California… I remember they used to test them when I was a kid. Probably most are holdovers from the Cold War nuke fears.

      • Robert Capps

        I remember the air raid sirens in L.A. being tested on alternating Friday mornings at 10 AM. I had a sound effects record with the air raid siren that I played full blast one Sunday night… freaked my mother out to the max.

    • H50 ✓RAT

      Ours are all purpose disaster sirens. They will activate for Tsunamis, hurricanes, water spouts that come ashore or air raids.
      They get tested once a month and if they dont work, the county catches heck from the folks.
      Hard to believe these folks are that unaware.

      • Markward

        Lets hope they never sound for an air raid again. 12/7/1941 was enough.

        • H50 ✓RAT

          Amen. We still grieve and carry the scars from that day.

          • Conservative First

            We all do.

          • H50 ✓RAT

            The horror of that day knows no boundaries for sure.
            As for all, no, there is someone on this MB that spent the whole day telling us to get over it and belittling folks grief.
            As the generation that lived thru that horrific day dies out, I fear that the lessons of that day are getting lost.

          • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            Of course, there’s the Big Island tsunami from 1960 that brought in the siren system as it exists today. But what really kills me was how, a few years back, there was a tsunami warning for (I believe) Oahu, and all the news cameras were there, and they showed everyone who had retreated to high ground, parked and milling around, clogging up all the roads to the beach– how were the emergency vehicles supposed to respond when the water receded?

            Gotta work on that emergency preparedness system there, Oahu.

          • H50 ✓RAT

            The old siren system was manually operated. Didnt even start getting electricity on the outer islands until the late 60s or early 70s depending on the island. All the hotels ran off generators. Hard to have a modern state wide system without it. We still have the old WWII search lights on many of the beaches here from when they did sub-watches. They have been converted to electricity as well.
            When the tsunami hit Hilo, it was a novelty, there hadnt been a major tsunami in a generation. We got hit on the eastside of Maui by a tsunami and lost an entire generation of kids whose teacher took them down to the beach to collect the fish that were left on the beach when the water receded. They all drowned and were swept out to sea when the first wave hit. People do stupid things during tsunamis.
            Islanders are kinda funny about it, we’ve got evacs to high ground down to a fine art, but with all the “extreme weather” hype and hysteria, folks are getting pretty lax about it. The last couple of tsunami warnings were really over hyped.
            The other problem is the tourists who look at as a ride at Disneyland, and think if they are above the waterline on a bluff they can watch. Its stupid for a lot of reasons, but the main reason is that its not necessarily the waves that get ya, its the rising swell that they ride in on that does.

          • CatHerder ✓fire! ✓fire!

            Ever stand next to one of those suckers when they go off? I did. Our Troop was taking a first aid course from a doctor whose office was next to a volunteer fire station. We were taking a break outside when the siren went off and the ground shook!

          • H50 ✓RAT

            Yep, there is one right above my house in the cow pasture. I just hate it. Between the siren tests and the geckos, I have to practically glue my artwork and pictures to the wall.

          • Conservative First

            I had to deal with Geckos when I was stationed for a couple years in Okinawa, not quite as fun as Geico makes them out to be! *chirp*chirp*

          • H50 ✓RAT

            They can really be a major pain in the butt and their poop is like an industrial glue or something.
            I do enjoy it in twilight tho when were having cocktails on the lanai and they are barking back an forth to each other. They are good for eating the bugs too.

            Its give and take. As long as they dont poop in my food while Im eating, we can all live together in harmony.

          • Clete Torres

            I loved playing with the geckos when I lived on Hickam. Cool little guys, and no bugs to be found.

          • John Thomas “Jack” Ward III

            We have geckos and Chamellions (sic) here in Florida, too (especially along the coastal regions)…Sometimes, they’ll jump on your arm, then realize where they are, and jump off again… And the phrase ‘Leapin’ Lizards!’ is prevalent during the Spring and summer… Jawamax 8<{D}

          • Clete Torres

            We had one on the roof of our high school. God help you if you were in the library the first Tuesday of the month at 1000, you’d be deaf inside 30 seconds.

    • southroncross .

      But, tornados occur very rarely in that area of NC. I am not surprised at the tweets. They were pretty funny.

      • Unknown User

        Tornado soccer about every 50 years where I live, we still have them

  • nc ✓s & balances

    Glad the danger appears to be over.

    On a related topic: Last night, passing thru channels on my antenna TV, I happened upon a 1976 episode of Hawaii Five-O. A college professor was mentioning that the “oceans were SHRINKING (my emphasis) at a rate of about one inch a year.”

    Wait, aren’t they supposed to be rising? Eggheads, make up your minds on your settled science!

  • Maxx

    I’m just shocked people furiously thumb tapping their cell phones into battery-draining submission lifted up their heads long enough to even hear it.

  • WhoDat

    If my parish (county for those unaware) even gets a tornado warning, the sirens in the city will sound. On several occasions, the sun was shining.

    • John Thomas “Jack” Ward III

      If so, then…That was a test. It was only a Test. #EmergencyBroadcastSystem Jawamax 8<{D}

  • $84598387

    The sirens were part of the Obama Stimulus spending. They knew that AGW would cause new weather phenomena including tornadoes in the east.

  • http://www.thepiratescove.us/ William_Teach

    Yeah, the possible tornado shown by Doppler was about a mile west of where I’m working. Couldn’t see it through the monsoon like downpour.

    Which was probably caused by “climate change”. 😀

  • JeffWRidge

    If these people didn’t know that those are tornado sirens, then how would they know what the sirens were for? Here in Indiana they test the sirens once a month, and I’m fairly sure that most people know the purpose of the sirens. The state government regularly instructs the people what to do if the sirens sound for a real tornado. Sounds like they might need to do a few PSAs in NC to clue in some people, before they get hurt because they don’t understand the sirens.

    • TN05

      Yes, but those are hurricane sirens and few people actually live there.

      • JeffWRidge

        All I know is that in their tweets several people stated that those were tornado sirens and acted surprised that they even existed.

    • John Thomas “Jack” Ward III

      What to do in case of a Tornado:
      1) SEEK SAFE SHELTER! move your family into the basement (or, if you don’t have one, an interior room with no windows and strong walls); use a mattress to cover yourself from falling debris.
      2) If you are outdoors (or driving in a car), take cover in a culvert or ditch, deep enough so you’re not sticking up when the twister passes.
      3) After the storm passes, , if you leave your place of shelter, be wary of debris that may still be flying around; also be wary of downed tree branches and/or Power lines.If there’s anything I forgot, please feel free to add to this post. Jawamax 8<{D}

      • TheAnthillGoddess

        Only thing I could add is to the first sentence is to remind people that the interior room needs to be on the lowest possible floor…
        That pretty much covers it (Iowa girl, here) though I know most in that area don’t have basements. THAT terrifies ME! LOL

      • Michael Anderson (WB)

        I’ve always wondered what I’m supposed to do when I get the Tornado + Flash Flood warning. One says go to the basement and the other to the highest room in the house.

  • EndangeredNJRepub

    I’m more worried that folks hear tornado sirens, and their immediate reaction is “Ooohs I gotta tweet about THIS!” Also as disconcerting, the “Can I take a nap” guy.

  • David Johnson

    Don’t Hurricane’s cause Tornado’s?

    • http://twitter.com/thetugboatphil TugboatPhil ✓Mate

      Kind of. It’s Dick Cheney, piloting the Haliburton Hurricane Machine&copy that create hurricanes AND tornadoes.

      • Clete Torres

        Don’t forget: Haliburton bought the design of the original Haliburton Hurricane Machine© from the Koch brothers.

    • mdtljt

      Hurricanes are more apt to spawn waterspouts… We’ve had some pretty spectacular ones in times past here in the Cape Fear region…

    • John Thomas “Jack” Ward III

      In many/most instances (and this I know from experience), the embedded bands of rain and wind from Hurricanes can spawn Tornadoes. They can even be spawned by a Tropical storm, if the wind is strong enough. And even though I’ve lived through numerous Hurricanes/Tropical Storms, I’ve never seen a tornado. Jawamax 8<{D}


    We get tests once a month here in Illinois. I thought they did that everywhere. Whoops.

    • Underestimated

      We moved from IL to GA. They have sirens everywhere here as tornadoes are really common. Our house was nearly hit three times in the last four years or so. However, they haven’t gotten the testing down like IL. They set a monthly schedule but seem to break it at random just setting them off whenever they feel like testing. Guess they never heard of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.


        Sheesh. That is like the one good thing about Illinois. They take storms and tornadoes very seriously.

    • Clete Torres

      So did I, thought it was a federal thing.

  • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Anyone who has lived in a small-enough town knows that sound as the method of summoning of the volunteer fire fighters. The “Sigh-Reen” (as some older folks referred to it) went off promptly at noon every day as a test. So I once asked my Mom, “What would happen if there were a fire at noon? Wouldn’t they just ignore the siren?”, to which she replied– “There’s always someone in the firehouse, Guy–if there was a real fire, they’d turn off the timer, and just keep the thing running continuously.” (Mom wasn’t big on rhetorical questions, I’d-a thought at the time, if I’d-a known the word for it…but then, when you have a little snot-nosed kid, sometimes you don’t know which Q’s are serious and which aren’t, so you err on the side of “serious,” I figured out much later.)

    • CatHerder ✓fire! ✓fire!

      It’s been about twenty years since they stopped sounding the sirens at noon Friday in Houston. It was really strange for a while, not hearing them.

    • John Thomas “Jack” Ward III

      That reminds me of a similar siren used by the old Cape Canaveral Volunteer F.D…Every day at noon, as if to say, “LUCHTIME!” And when it was an emergency, those who lived in close proximity would hear the siren, followed in short order by the trucks pulling out from Jackson Avenue. Jawamax 8<{D}

    • TheAnthillGoddess

      My little town still has a “noon whistle”…it’s much shorter than either the fire whistle (on and off until someone shows up at the station to turn it off) or the tornado whistle (constant until 15 minutes or clear of harm’s way)
      *Edit* Hubby just informed me there’s also the “1 o’clock” whistle to let ya know the lunch hour is done!

  • Frank Drebin

    High noon on the first Saturday of every month around here – unless the weather is already bad enough to make one wonder.

    And every dog who knows the words sings along.

  • TN05

    I live in NC, never seen or heard of sirens anywhere. We do have sirens in Lake Norman to alert us if the nuclear plant explodes or something, though.

    • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Not even on the Banks to warn of hurricane evacuations, in case somebody isn’t tuned into a radio or TV?

    • luigi

      If you’re around Lake Norman, then you should be used to being right in the middle of the thunderstorm valley. Parts of Charlotte sound the sirens religiously.

    • John Thomas “Jack” Ward III

      Those sirens can be used for a Tornado warning as much as for a Nuclear Emergency….Or any other emergency, for that matter… Jawamax 8<{D}

  • Rebekah Kloeppel

    They test our town’s sirens ever Tuesday at 10 a.m. They did so on 9/11/01, scaring the bejeebers out of my mother and me. I still hate hearing them, and not because I’m afraid of the tornadoes which frequent the Midwest.

  • southernlights

    I live in South Carolina….actually don’t think I’ve ever heard a tornado warning. I do live in the semi-country though. When it was at its worse yesterday I swear I looked out the door and the wind was blowing…….it was raining UP!

  • JR48

    Ayup, when I heeer a ‘nado sireen, my first thought is to….tweet something stupid.

    You want strange? Hear one in the SF Bay Area. Not exactly the midwest, nor a hotbed of tornadoes. However, they have them also for ’emergencies’.

    So my personal advice to the tools who took to Twitter is that if you are anywhere and you hear a siren, take some sort of shelter. It wouldn’t be for an earthquake, as you’d be feeling the ground move under your feet. Figure out what the danger is later. Or you could merely tweet your dismay from the basement. At least you won’t be airborne like the cow in Twister.

  • John Thomas “Jack” Ward III

    I’ve never seen a Tornado (been close to a few, though…)One almost killed my Big Brother in 1979, in Cocoa Beach..And they don’t have sirens there! Fortunately, we have Local (and National) cable channels, that can warn us 15-20 minutes in advance… Praying for any victims, hope everyone survived w/o death or injuries… Jawamax 8<{D}