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Douglas County Government has received numerous inquiries as to why residents in the Kings Highway area of Douglas County did not hear any sirens prior to a tornado briefly touching down in their neighborhood.
At approximately 10:14 a.m. on Monday, May 3, 2021, the Douglas County Emergency Management Agency was contacted by the National Weather Service and told that they were seeing indications that a tornado may have touched down in the Bill Arp-Kings Highway area. At this time, there had been no tornado warning issued. Douglas County’s E-911 dispatchers had been receiving reports of trees down in the same area around the same time.
Shortly thereafter at 10:21 AM the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for a small area in the eastern portion of the county from Sweetwater Creek State Park towards Riverside Drive. Two sirens were automatically activated at this time.
The National Weather Service, who issues the tornado warning based on data they receive from radar, which then triggers sirens to alert the general public, has explained to Douglas County the tornadoes moved so fast, they did not technologically have time to issue a tornado warning which would have triggered sirens prior to 10:14 a.m. The National Weather Service has informed Douglas County the Kings Highway tornado spun up very rapidly and down very rapidly within two minutes before they could alert us. Therefore, they did not issue a tornado watch.
The National Weather Service has provided Douglas County EMA with a screenshot of the thunderstorm warning issued in the read polygon and the tornado warning in the blue polygon:
For more information, please contact Rick Martin, Director of Communications & Community Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.