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Boone County officials say new warning system is working

A new severe weather warning system was put in place in Boone County last year, and officials say it’s working as it should.

In the past, warning sirens in Boone County would activate, regardless of where in the county the threat was located. That led to complaints by county residents, some of whom asked for a more location-customized warning system.

In 2015, officials rolled out a severe weather zone warning system, which divides the county into three zones: north, central, and south. That means, for example, if a tornado threatened Centralia, only the sirens in the north zone would activate.

County leaders say they believe the new system helps against “siren fatigue,” when people ignore warning sirens because of hearing them so often when they aren’t in the threatened area. They admit they’re still working out some concerns in the system, and ask people to be patient with them.

“We just ask thateveryone be patient with us,” said Terry Cassil, Emergency Management Director for Boone County. “We want to err on the side of safety. We would rather alert too many folks and not need it than not to alert enough folks.”

The cost of starting the new system was minimal, since the infrastructure was already in place, and only a software upgrade was needed.

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