The Village of Winthrop Harbor maintains three outdoor warning sirens for use in providing audible warnings of severe weather events.

The Police Department, Fire Department and Emergency Management Agency work cooperatively in the maintenance and operations of the outdoor warning siren system.

Where are the outdoor sirens located?

The three outdoor sirens used to alert people in Winthrop Harbor are at these locations:

  • 3rd Street Siren: Located on the South side of 3rd Street, between Cavin and Garnett Avenues
  • 8th Street Siren: Located on the South side of 8th Street, at the intersection of Whitney Avenue.
  • 9th Street Siren: Located on the South side of 9th Street, at the intersection of East Broadway Avenue.

Remember that while you may hear the outdoor sirens while inside your home or business, they sirens are designed to warn persons who are outside. The village recommends that NOAA weather alert radios be used inside homes and businesses.

What should you do when you hear the warning sirens?

When you hear the sirens sound during severe weather, you should seek safe shelter and seek information. The sirens will sound for a period of three to five minutes when activated for an actual emergency. (Sirens will sound for only one minute during the monthly test)

If you are outside, go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Do not open windows.

Once you are inside and safe, turn on a TV, radio or NOAA weather alert radio to be informed of the storm location, path and the duration of the warning. There is no all-clear signal, once the warning has expired it is safe to leave your shelter location. Be aware, however, that the situation can change so be prepared in case another warning is issued for Winthrop Harbor.

We strongly recommend that every residence, business and school use a NOAA weather alert radio with battery back-up. Weather alert radios automatically activate to warn and inform you whenever a warning is issued for Winthrop Harbor or the surrounding areas.

What if I am in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home?

It is a good practice to check the weather forecast before leaving for work, school or simply running errands. if severe weather is in the forecast, make sure you continue to keep a radio tuned to a local station to keep informed of the weather situation as it develops.

If you are in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.

If you are outside with no building available, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location. Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter. Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

Whenever severe weather is possible, you may see one or more of the following signs:

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, dark, low lying cloud (Particularly if rotating)

Take Shelter immediately, do not wait to hear the outdoor warning system when signs indicate a tornado or severe thunderstorm with damaging winds is present.

When are the outdoor sirens tested?

The Winthrop Harbor outdoor warning sirens are tested at 10:00 a.m. on the first Tuesday of every month. During the tests the sirens are sounded for one minute. (In an actual weather emergency, the sirens are sounded for three to five minutes).

When are the outdoor sirens activated for a real emergency?

The outdoor warning sirens are activated under the following circumstances;

  • Receipt of a confirmed sighting of a tornado or funnel cloud within a five mile area surrounding the boundaries of Winthrop Harbor
  • Receipt of a confirmed sighting of severe winds causing damage to structures within a five mile area surrounding the boundaries of Winthrop Harbor
  • Receipt of a tornado warning issued by the National Weather Service indicating that the community is in the direct path of an oncoming tornado or thunderstorm producing severe and damaging winds.

The outdoor warning sirens will be activated for a steady tone of between three and five minutes during an actual weather emergency. The sirens are activated for only one three to five minute period, and will only be reactivated upon receipt of another confirmed sighting or warning issued by the National Weather Service.

There is no "all-clear" signal given by the outdoor siren system. Monitor TV, radio or weather alert radios for information as it develops.

The content of this page is for information only, and is not provided as all-inclusive information on how to prepare for or seek shelter from severe weather. For additional information please visit the National Weather Service Web site at www.weather.gov.

Click here for a Storm Preparedness Guide and information on the NOAA Weather Radios.


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