The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 12, 2014

Ottumwa considering warning siren expansion

OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa City Council held a special meeting Monday, and included in the agenda was a work session item that could greatly impact the safety of Ottumwans during strong storms.

Although there were very high wind speeds during the April 27 storms, the sirens did not sound. Under the current warning system policy, the sirens will go off only if the Ottumwa area is placed under a tornado warning by the National Weather Service or if a certified NWS spotter confirms seeing a tornado.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Wapello County Emergency Management Coordinator Josh Stevens was on hand to explain the warning system and provide ways to expand its effectiveness.

He said communities are starting to include hail 1.75 inches or larger and wind that is estimated at 70 mph into the emergency system protocol. Since 2011—not including the storms that caused the sirens to go off three times on Sunday — the sirens in Ottumwa would have been triggered eight more times if the policy would have included the hail and high wind factors.

Although updating the warning system could help make Ottumwans aware of dangerous weather in the area, Ottumwa Police Chief Tom McAndrew said it is still up to the citizens to keep themselves safe. Also, he said residents should not mistake a second siren as an “all clear” signal.

“If there is a siren, take cover,” he said. “There is no ‘all clear’ siren. If the siren sounds a second time, it’s because there is another warning.”

Stevens will work with other public safety officials to write a formal proposal for the expansion of the warning system that will be brought back to the City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 20.

In other items of business, the council discussed the possibility of changing the color of the Market Street Bridge.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0730 OTT Better Buildings -T -M Wildwood could be your home OTTUMWA — There was always one child per class who just adored school. If they went to Wildwood, they may soon be able to move in permanently. The Ottumwa board of education met Monday, where staff told them where the district stood as far as "facili

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • A changing roster -- for school board OTTUMWA — If the last time you saw your board of education was before Christmastime, the current school board might surprise you. Two members retired from the board: longtime educator Ron Oswalt stepped down, as did board president Carol Mitchell. Bo

    July 29, 2014

  • Lottery sales top $3 million mark

    OTTUMWA — Mother Nature may have thrown Iowans a brutal winter, but it didn’t stop them from venturing out to buy lottery tickets. On Tuesday, the Iowa Lottery confirmed that it had topped the $3 million mark in sales for the third consecutive year.

    July 29, 2014

  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Slideshow: Truck overturns on roundabout

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729 OTT Picture veteran -T -M Veteran finally receives his medals OTTUMWA — A World War II injury may have saved the life of a U.S. Coast Guardsman from Iowa, but he lost friends and a box of military awards. Francis Hardy Harbour was born on Dec.16, 1919, in Drakesville. He joined the Coast Guard in 1941 as a mach

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seasonal forecast Cool summer leading to cool fall? OTTUMWA — By late July, the average daytime high temperature starts to drop. What is normally the hottest part of the year is over. Averages are still in the mid-80s, and it certainly wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see days in even the upper 90s.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • IHCC buildings.jpg Grant helps Hills keep students on track

    OTTUMWA — Thanks to a grant designed to improve graduation rates, Indian Hills Community College now has even more tools in its campuswide effort to help students with needs and give them the resources they need to stay in class. Indian Hills is one

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0728 OTT ribs in eldon BBQ dinner with a hundred friends

    ELDON --- This year's Eldon Rib Cook-off was won by three BBQ chefs --- and about 150 hungry visitors. "I was down here last year, too," said Dwayne Yates from Floris, who was biting into his third smoked rib. "I never had a bad one yet." That's what

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mediacom: Rural cable consumers and companies mistreated OTTUMWA --- You may want to add just a racing channel, a court channel or a nature channel to your cable line up. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to buy a "bundle," which, ironically, is what it will cost you here in Wapello County. That's accord

    July 26, 2014

Photo reprints