Mahoning County weather alert system could fail, EMA director says

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – County officials are warning residents that their weather alert system may not function properly if severe weather hits the area.

Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency Director Andy Frost said the system failed during a tornado warning in October and repairs were made, but Frost is concerned about another failure.

Mahoning County EMA runs tests every week to make sure sirens are functioning properly at noon on Saturdays and a silent tests on Monday mornings. This past week, they noticed some issues.

“And during both of those tests, we had failures of both software and equipment,” Frost said.

Frost said none of the sirens were working on Saturday but said the people they had look at it said everything was working.

“But we don’t have any faith in it at this particular time because of the failures we’ve had,” Frost said.

The equipment sits at the EMA building in Austintown. Frost wants to move it to a dispatch center in Austintown — by transferring it there, he believes it will help with the connection issues.

“So they have redundancy built into everything, whether it be power, cable, networking. There’s all this redundancy built in,” Frost said.

That would serve as a fail-safe in case something doesn’t work, but some of the area’s sirens are experiencing equipment issues. Each site has four amplifiers and some only have three working.

“That siren is still going to activate but it may not activate quite as loud as having the four amps,” Frost said.

Coitsville is getting hit the worst — their siren isn’t working at all. The company who the county is contracted through is out of their stock supplies of amps.

“So we are trying to take some existing ones and maybe use some parts and pieces from them to get them up and running,” Frost said.

With severe weather possible in the region Friday and Saturday, Frost is asking residents to keep an eye on the weather and stay informed.

“So what we’re asking is when they’re seeing this bad weather coming in, stay tuned to the local media just to make sure there is no issues going on,” Frost said.

Storm Team 27 meteorologists are tracking possible severe weather and their forecasting is independent of any alert that is sent out by the county. Our team is calling for the possibility of a thunderstorm into Saturday morning. These storms have the potential to produce wind gusts up to 40 mph.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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