(KWQC)- The siren policy in the Quad Cities can be confusing, sirens go off for both tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings. But, the warnings must meet certain requirements.
Sirens go off in Rock Island and Scott Counties for a tornado warning or when a trained spotter reports a funnel cloud. They also go off for severe thunderstorm warnings where winds are higher than 70 miles per hour, or if hail is the size of golf balls or larger.
According to the National Weather Service, the siren is designed to tell people that there is a life threatening event and they need to go inside to safety to find out what is going on.
The siren will continue to sound every 15 minutes if a severe storm is lasting a long time. There is also not an "all clear" siren.
The siren policy in our area changed in 2009. That's when the NWS and Emergency Management decided to sound sirens for severe thunderstorms with winds of 70 miles per hour or higher.
Different communities do have different storm siren policies, these are the general policies instituted by the National Weather Service of the Quad Cities.