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Outdoor warning sirens are one method used to alert citizens of a current or potential emergency. To provide a "tornado warning" is a typical use, but outdoor warning sirens may be used for other emergencies as well. When the sirens sound, go indoors, seek shelter, and monitor local media and your all hazards NOAA Weather Radio if you have one. Regarding Tornadoes The Outdoor Warning Sirens will be sounded when: - A confirmed funnel has been spotted within a 10 mile approach of the community, OR - A confirmed tornado has been spotted within a 10 mile approach of the community, OR - The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Warning for eastern Morton and southwest Burleigh Counties to include the Cities of Mandan and Bismarck and/or Lincoln. Confirmation of a funnel cloud or tornado may occur through the National Weather Service, trained Law Enforcement Officers, or trained Weather Spotters. Remember, a Tornado Warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. A Tornado Watch means that conditions are favorable for the formation of a tornado. The Outdoor Warning Sirens will not be sounded for a Watch. There is NO "All-Clear" sounded by the outdoor warning sirens. The all-clear will be made over NOAA Weather Radio, local radio stations, and cable TV. Note: The outdoor warning sirens are tested on the last Friday of the month at 9:30 AM weather permitting.
Tornado shelters are not offered in our community. Citizens are highly encouraged to plan ahead for severe weather. For information regarding what to do when the sirens sound, please review our Alert and Warning Systems Brochure. The best place is in the center of the basement under a sturdy workbench or under the stairway. If you do not have a basement, go to the lowest level of a sturdy building and put as many walls between you and the outside as possible and avoid areas with exterior windows and doors. In a school or other large building, go to the lowest level and into a bathroom or a hallway near the center of the building. Stay away from large wide open rooms like an auditorium or gymnasium! All citizens need to plan ahead to identify where they will shelter during a tornado watch and warning. The city of Bismarck does not own or operate emergency tornado shelters. Those who live in mobile homes or other vulnerable structures should discuss sheltering possibilities with nearby friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. The best time to relocate to the shelter area is during a tornado watch. Do not purposely wait until a tornado warning is issued. Consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio to get your tornado watches and warnings as soon as possible. Even if you should happen to be sleeping, you can get the alert.