This past weekend the country's midsection once again saw what devastation can occur when a tornado blows in. As of Monday morning six people had died from the storms in Oklahoma and others were injured.
Those of us in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois have also experienced severe weather in recent months, not to mention the deadly tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., last May. These storms are a reminder to take severe weather warnings seriously, including the sounding of local tornado warning sirens.
Earlier this month at the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce's First Friday Coffee, Cape Girardeau fire chief Rick Ennis spoke about the city's sirens and the need for more in the community. A study by the city determined 12 sirens would be needed to cover the entire city. At this time there are four: in Arena Park, Kiwanis Park, Shawnee Sports Complex and Cape County Park North. Each siren has been funded through the city's Adopt a Siren program.
The cost of a new siren is estimated at $25,000. Though the city and county have requested grant funding for more sirens, Ennis said the odds of receiving such funding are low. So it's important that individuals and businesses consider participating in the Adopt a Siren program to help ensure ample outdoor warning systems are in place.
Thank you to to the following organizations for sponsoring Cape Girardeau's four sirens: SEMO District Fair Board (Arena Park), Kiwanis (Kiwanis Park), Bo Shantz/State Farm Insurance and Cape Area Youth Soccer Association (Shawnee Sports Complex), and the Missouri Department of Conservation, Cape Girardeau County Commissioners and city of Cape Girardeau (Cape County Park North).
We hope everyone takes severe weather warnings seriously. To receive automated text alerts with storm warnings from the National Weather Service, go to semissourian.com.