No Warning Siren During 105 Mph Winds In Durant - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

No Warning Siren During 105 Mph Winds In Durant

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What caused all the damage in Duran, Iowa early Tuesday morning was not a tornado, it was from what's called a downburst. The national weather service says there were up to 105 mile an hour winds with a localized area of damage about a half mile wide and a mile long.

The sirens in Durant would normally have been set off for weather conditions like that but that did not happen. That left residents in recovery mode wondering why not. Officials say it had to do with how quickly it came down on the small community.

"It just went bang, crash, the train sound everybody talks about," said Marilyn Dengler. The long-time Durant resident woke up at 3:30 a.m. to a tree branch coming through her open bedroom window. She and her neighbors were dealing with damage and debris all day Tuesday.

"The sirens didn't go off. Usually we get a phone call, I didn't get one from Cedar County last night," said Dengler.

The town has three sirens which are either remotely set off by the sheriff's office or the fire department in town. Policy is to sound the alarms when either a tornado warning is issued or there are winds above 70 miles per hour. The National Weather Service did issue a severe thunderstorm warning but it was almost exactly the time the downburst hit.

"In this case, by the time we would have gotten the warning system it would have been over and done with anyway," said Mayor Dawn Smith.

So the sirens didn't sound. Mayor Smith reminds residents they are mainly meant to alert anyone who is outdoors to seek shelter. In this case, other alerts were made but they were still cutting it close.

"Just as everyone was starting to take shelter our National Weather Service had weather programs went off, apps on cell phones or weather radios went off," added Mayor Smith.

NWS meteorologists say downbursts can be very difficult to predict and issue warnings for, especially when the line of storms was moving at about 60 miles per hour.

"It's not like a regular tornado where it's big, you can see a lot of rotation and have more time. These are just little downbursts, spin-ups in the squall line," said Steve Kuhl, Meteorologist in charge at the NWS in Mt. Joy.

Officials say, at home, residents can't rely on sirens so it is a good reminder to have a NOAA weather radio and sign up for severe weather alerts on mobile apps.

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