(Monday morning 8:17 a.m. ) A strange, sustained, high-pitched sound has continued for the past 5 minutes. It’s unlike anything I’ve heard in my 54 years. It’s like when my ears ring, only much louder. And, it comes from outside.
What is it?
I stand at the back door and watch the horizon to the West grow dark. Light rain begins to fall.
And, then, as suddenly as it began…it stops.
I slip into my computer chair and click on weather.gov radar for my area. A line of storms is approaching.
In the northern portion of the county in which I reside, an area of the line is outlined with red (indicating a tornado warning), a “bow echo” boldly evident within the center of that outlined area.
My area is outlined with yellow (severe thunderstorm warning).
Perhaps, what I heard were tornado sirens? If so, it’s unlike anything I’ve heard before and certainly would not call me to take shelter. I’m accustomed to “air raid” type sirens that raise the hair on the back of my neck and prompt a surge in adrenaline. But, I’m also new to this area, so what I’m accustomed to may not be norm here.
This siren would not wake me from sleep.
And, it sounds again. Not loud. Certainly not loud enough for me to hear if my doors were closed and my blinds drawn.
I rise once again and walk to my back door. The high, piercing sound is easily blown away by the gusts of wind. Surely, this is not a tornado warning siren.
I turn again to the radar, then click over to our local news page. A tornado warning is in effect for my county.
The sound ceases again.
Surely, that was not a warning siren. The storms have not yet entered my county.
I research tornado warning sirens for my area and find that my county has recently updated – going from a tone to the old “air raid” warning siren, that I am familiar with – both from my childhood and from living in different locations.
Then, if what I heard was not the county wide warning siren…what was it?
I research further and find that Vandy University has recently begun using a siren specific to their campus to warn their area of imminent danger.
It’s possible the Vandy siren was what I heard.
I’m signing off now. Our little tornado warning siren is sounding. She’s a 9 year old doxie and when severe weather is near, she begins a strange little noise that increases as her agitation grows.
Thunder rumbles. It’s time to unplug and seek shelter.
Do you know the signs and sounds that announce severe/imminent danger to your work/home/school areas?