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Quad City Severe Weather Sirens

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During severe weather when should the sirens go off? Cities in the Quad Cities Metro, as well as the Arsenal, Scott and Rock Island counties have streamlined their guidelines. But Davenport's policy is a little different and it caused some confusion during Sunday's storms.

The sirens were sounded even though thunderstorms did not meet the requirements. According to Davenport police it was human error. Dispatchers accidentally used the old policy, instead of the new one. They are being re-trained on the updated guidelines. Here's what you need to know about the new, streamlined policy.

"There's some consistency now within the metropolitan area of the Quad Cities," says Andy Ervin a National Weather Service Meteorologist. To achieve that consistency, the guidelines for sounding the sirens are the same. There has to be either a tornado warning, thunderstorms with winds 70 miles per hour or greater or golf ball sized hail. "That's the type of stuff that will dent cars, break glass and of course much larger hail will do worse," adds Ervin.

The sirens can be sounded multiple times, and the consistency will help alert all communities that a threat is near. According to Ervin, "Here we have a policy now that will describe not just when a severe thunderstorm will take place but one that might cause significant destruction in the quad cities."

According to the National Weather Service precautions taken during a storm have not changed. "We want people to take shelter, go inside, go ahead cancel your little league game, bring that inside get away from the open spaces outside," says Ervin.

There's only one thing in the policy that isn't the same as the other Quad Cities. In Davenport, there are 2 types of siren sounds. When there's a severe thunderstorm warning, "It'll sound like a fog horn or a shorter duration blast of a horn." If there's a tornado warning, "It would be more like a longer duration siren, kind of a traditional siren sound."

Bettendorf, Moline, East Moline, Rock Island, the arsenal and the counties have one siren for both thunderstorms and tornado warnings. There is no difference in the type of sound that is made in those cities.