PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) - When severe weather strikes Oakland County, Tricia Smith is on the job.
She’s the one who clicks a computer button, setting off all 252 sirens in the county.
The sirens sound when a tornado warning is issued, or if there’s an alert for a severe thunderstorm warning with 70 mile an hour winds or greater.
Sirens used to be triggered only for tornado warnings, but that changed four years ago.
It is an all or nothing system, meaning the sirens go off countywide.
A handful of municipalities, like Holly and Milford, have the capability to set off sirens on their own. These are cities and townships typically near county borders where severe weather in other counties can affect them.
Sirens go off for three minutes. They go off again if another warning is issued.
Even with 252 sirens in Oakland County, there are areas that are not covered. For example, there are parts of Commerce and White Lake, and several others, where sirens cannot be heard.
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