Tornado Sirens Weren’t Originally Meant For Tornadoes

The siren was invented in 1799 by a Scottish physicist and it was meant to produce beautiful music. But over the years that iconic sound has gained a much more ominous meaning. 

It wasn’t until World War II that sirens were used to warn of danger. The sound could carry far so churches in England used them to warn of a German invasion. During the cold war in the 1950s, sirens were used to warn of a nuclear attack. This was a part of the Civil Defense Act set into motion by President Harry Truman. It wasn’t until the 1970s that they were used to warn of tornadoes. 

It’s important to clear up some siren confusion. You may hear a siren when there isn’t a tornado. Sometimes a county or town may use the siren to alert of severe and violent storms with strong wind or very large and dangerous hail. It’s all up to the jurisdiction and what they decide to warn for. But they’re all used for tornadoes. You should also know that a tornado siren isn’t meant to be heard indoors. It’s mostly to alert those who are outside. 

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