ST. LOUIS – Powerful storms didn’t just leave damage across the metro area, but frustration and worry across parts of the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County as well, as some residents complained the outdoor warning siren never went off.
Chad Storie, who lives in south St. Louis City, said he never heard the tornado siren. He hasn’t heard the siren in some time; something he’s complained about.
“It’s an unfortunate, toxic norm to know that we’re not going to hear this,” Storie said.
Thomas Wokurka and his wife also live in south city.
“Why do we have these new, improved sirens and they’re not working? The old ones worked really, really good,” he said.
FOX 2 has found a growing number of complaints filed with the Citizens’ Service Bureau about not hearing the tornado siren.
- 2019: 34 complaints filed
- 2020: 20 complaints filed
- 2021: 106 complaints filed
- 2022: 92 complaints filed
- As of 4/10/23: 31 complaints filed
Wokura said he wants the mayor and public safety officials to know the sirens are not working, and thinks it’s a danger.
“Spending all this good taxpayer money and nothing,” Wokura said.
FOX 2 called the city and county to push for answers. A spokeswoman for the St. Louis Department of Public Safety wrote the system activated twice Saturday for two different tornado warnings.
“The siren is just one tool. It is a 22-year-old system, but the siren is just one option for notifying those in the area of the City of St. Louis of a weather event,” the spokeswoman said. “We had two tornado warnings for the City of St. Louis issued at 6:19 p.m. and at 6:39 p.m. on Saturday. The outdoor warning system was activated for both.”
Storie wants more from the city.
“I wish the city would get involved to a point to make sure these devices work,” he said.
The city said it plans to conduct an analysis of the city to ensure siren placement is adequate in providing coverage to areas where development has happened, since the current system was installed.
“We have these brand new, wonderful, improved sirens available. They should be working regardless,” Wokura said.
Meanwhile, St. Louis County officials said some residents have reported not hearing the sirens.
Officials say it’s common that a storm’s heavy wind, rain, or hail to affect the distribution of sound from individual sirens.