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Monday - July 24, 2017 3:25 am

La Crosse "tornado sirens," not just for tornadoes

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La Crosse "tornado sirens," not just for tornadoes Rivercrest Village on South Side La Crosse by Sharon McCabe Schwaegerl

Severe circumstances will lead county to activating sirens. 

They're often referred to as tornado sirens and last week, those in La Crosse heard them go off.

There was, however, no tornado. That's not the only reason why the emergency sirens will be used.

"It's not just tornadoes, it's also those severe wind events," La Crosse Emergency Management director Keith Butler said. "So, as soon as those storms got into La Crosse County, we went ahead and activated those sirens as a precautionary, for people who were maybe caught outside."

Butler says they rely on information from those in the field to help them make a decision

"If the National Weather Service tells us there's a tornado warning, we do it," Butler said of activating the sirens. "If they tell us the winds are at 70 or a first responder says we have a severe circumstance and need to activate the sirens, we do that."

As the waters recede from all the flooding in the area, Butler also mentioned that could be a recurring theme.

"Places that we didn't typically see flooding before, we're staring to see more flooding, especially the La Crosse river basin," Butler said.

Ontario/Kickapoo River after last night's rain
Drew Kelly

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