CREATED Apr. 14, 2013
Sarpy Co., NE -- The blare from a tornado siren normally means it's time to take cover. When five sirens in Sarpy County sounded early Sunday morning, some residents thought the worst, especially because there had been thunderstorms just an hour earlier. Mary Ney has a siren in her backyard.
"We started to check the news stations to see if there were any storms," said Ney. "We checked our internet." Ney found nothing. It turns out five alarms malfunctioned, sounding in some cases for 30-minutes. "I don't know if I would use the word annoying so much as disconcerting," said Ney. "With everything going on when there's not a storm and the political atmosphere in the world, your mind begins racing, what could possibly be causing this?"
It's still not clear what caused the sirens to go off. Sarpy County officials say it's odd that out of 64 sirens in the county, only five sounded. They say it's possible that a random radio frequency triggered the device or maybe lightening. Joni Bragg lives across the street from one.
"It's a little disturbing because you want to know is it really going to work when we need it to work?" said Bragg. The county is investigating. "The public was safe and we're on top of it," said Fred Uhe with Sarpy County. "Our goal, as far as Sarpy County is to kind of make sure it doesn't happen again."
Neighbors are relieved it was just a malfunction and nothing to be alarmed by. "You'd much rather see that the sirens are working when we don't need them than to have our house decimated and never heard a siren to begin with," said Ney.
The five sirens have been disconnected for now, since severe weather isn't in the forecast. They're owned by private contractors. They've been contacted to quickly resolve the problem.