Tornado Sirens Malfunction In Papillion, La Vista

By: Brittany Gunter Email
By: Brittany Gunter Email

It was a scary wake-up call early Sunday morning in Sarpy County when tornado sirens went off twice.

It's a sound no one wants to hear, the warning of an outdoor siren, but that's what many residents of Papillion and La Vista woke up to. “It sounded like a tornado was coming." Addison Miller and her family went to the basement just in case.

So did Jeff Lehman and his family. They couldn't help but think the worst. “I think my wife said something like maybe North Korea is sending a missile over or something." It turns out the sirens had just malfunctioned, first just before 2 a.m. and again about an hour later.

Emergency Management received a lot of calls during that time and were left trying to figure out what went wrong. “Our first thought was an electric surge,” said Sarpy County Emergency Management Director Larry Lavelle. “A good thunderstorm was rolling through the area at this time."

It only affected some sirens, not the whole system. Usually, in order for all the sirens to go off someone must manually click a button on the computer. “Very strange, not unheard of, they are mechanical devices that are operated by radio frequency so occasionally things happen,” said Lavelle.

With no severe weather threat, those sirens affected were shut down to let people sleep. Contractors will now come in to try and fix the problem.

Emergency Management said if you do hear the outdoor warning, the right thing to do is take cover. Turn on Channel 6 or go to to check the weather online. Do not to call 911.

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